Game: Windmill Kings
Genre: Strategy Defense
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam Q1 2020)
Price: US $9.99| AU $15.00|Ca $ 12.59|£8.99|€ 9,99
Age Rating: US E 10+| EU 16+
Release Date: 1st November 2019
Review code use, with thanks to Bigosaur
Strategy games are always a teaser for the brain. They encourage you to think about what to do next in as slow or fast a pace as they set. And Windmill Kings sets the bar faster than the churning of a windmill, for better or worse.
The core gameplay of Windmill Kings is that you and your opponent (either computer AI or another player) are set at two ends of the road, each with a castle to guard. You are each given resources to summon units to try and reach the other’s castle and destroy it.
You have the knights, who simply rush up with high HP and attack what’s in front of them. There are also archers that are weak up close but make up for it with ranged attacks. Then there are the clerics, who CAN attack but are ideally there to heal your units to survive a little longer.
Finally, there are the thieves, that follow an entirely different lane to directly bomb the castle away from the other three units. However, they can be blocked by other thieves the opponent summons too.
Rounding up the summon table are buildings that give you enhanced versions of each unit, and four different spells to use. You are given gold periodically to buy units but can earn more as you kill the opponent’s units. There are also star tokens that are used towards the buildings or spells, and those seem to be earned through time and killing too.
All and all, the matches in Windmill Kings play very quickly depending on your strategy of how to properly apply your units and resources. It feels like an inverse version of tug-o-war where the strength is pushing towards the enemy instead of pulling away.
This land was your land, but now it’s MY land!
The story campaign is that a king wants to resolve a logistics problem of better transporting his windmill wheat. But because of a mishap, a wizard duplicates the king in red clothes to a king in blue clothes. Then he’s chased out of his kingdom as a fake. Now he must earn the right back to his kingdom one square inch at a time.
Each spot on the story map has a challenge you have to complete, which will unlock a new reward. Fighting a team of archers, for example, will unlock them to use in the next battle.
The story was fun, but kind of short and uninspired. There was a surprise at the end of a supposed final battle, which was the most challenging of the campaign. Clearing it made me indeed feel a bit like “the king”. But immediately after that the story campaign restarts ALL OVER AGAIN without any sort of credits roll or enticing reward of beating the game.
When all you have is the summon button…
Sadly, Windmill Kings doesn’t quite hold up in longevity. The novelty wore off when it became clear the strategy of “bum rushing” with every unit possible was how I won my battles. I only lost a few times against the computer and that was due to not having everything unlocked.
I didn’t know or care about the stat values of each unit; just what they can do. Knights to attack close, archers to attack far, and healers to heal. Spam a lot of them with more gold then you know what to do with. Then you win, usually.
Spells offered some variety, but I only really used the ice spell to stop enemies because the fire spell attacked my own buildings too, which meant wasting more stars on rebuilding them. It’s kind of fitting that the most annoying spell (summoning a big strong Giant) wasn’t unlocked until near the end of the campaign. The computer had a lot of fun with that advantage.
The Spoils of War
Windmill Kings is most fun playing with a friend. You can play against the computer, but their strategy is limited. The game is one of the shortest I’ve ever played, which was kind of a bummer. I liked it nonetheless and may come back to it once in a while for the satisfaction of overwhelming my enemies with my tactical spending.
And speaking of spending, if you have someone to play with, this game would be well worth the $10 price. Otherwise, wait for a sale.
Final Verdict: I Like It