The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

Game Reviews 42 RPGs 55 Arcade 34 Puzzle 18 Platform 10 Strategy
Sections QB News Site Archives Game Guides Our Projects Entertainment Awards QB Links
Interact QB Chatroom Mailing List Submissions Link to Us Job Openings

(Piptol Productions)

"For Death or Glory!"
2002 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Strategy Game

After watching fourteen centuries of war, the grim reaper has had enough of the battles between the four races who stand within the realm of the Nanonians. Together, the grim reaper and the Nanonian King form a compromise that must be agreed by the four powers.

The terms: either choose to live peacefully from this day forth, or battle each other to the death. Should war be the path chosen, the last ruler standing will not only be the master of all the Nanonian Isles, but shall be crowned as heir to the Nanonian throne. You play the role of one of four great rulers... which path will you take?

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Kingdoms is essentially not a graphical game. The graphics were more of an afterthought, added to give Piptol's text-based strategy game an extra dimension. Thankfully, he's done it very well, and the graphics do indeed work in the way they're supposed to. The characters are drawn particularly well. The buildings look okay too. 

If I had to criticize something, it would be how the game looks. Fine, this view allows you to see all your stats in one screen, and from that point of view is very useful - but it would have been cool if he had done a more isometric view of the buildings or something. I'm no graphic artist, so I can't say what would have worked best, but at the minute, it does look a little plain. I'm not criticizing the graphics for what Piptol has done, but rather what he hasn't. No corners are cut, and the graphics look pretty good, but just because the graphics are not the focus of the game, that's no reason to underachieve.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Good)
Piptol doesn't credit anybody in the game or help file for the music, but I recognized a few of the sound samples from Civilization 2. Having ripped the sound effects, it's probably safe to assume that he also ripped the music. Had Piptol wrote this music himself and made the sound effects, he would have definitely scored 5 out of 5.

As it turns out though, whether it's ripped or not doesn't really make much of a difference. I've never seen ripped music suit a game so well. There are only four pieces, and they sound superb. Particularly nice is the song he used for the main game screen - tranquil, thoughtful, and very likeable. The battle music is another piece you'll get to love, and the title screen music is perfect. The other piece, for when you die or win the game isn't bad either. The best part is that the music in unintrusive, so it simply serves to create atmosphere rather than become the focus of the action.

The sound effects are even better than in Ghini Run, Piptol Production's flagship title. The battle sounds are fantastic, with each race having their own death sounds. Also cool is the atmospheric tweeting of the birds on the main game screen. Best of all, however, is the very first sound effect when you open the game - a booming voice (presumably death) saying "Welcome"...

Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
The high point. The best thing about this game is just how much fun it is to play. Although a little simplistic, Kingdoms gives you a great amount of control over your race, allowing you to do many of the standard strategy game moves like recruiting soldiers, modifying taxes and spying on enemy races, as well as more unusual features like gambling with a gold mine and borrowing money from the other races. 

Another cool feature (which I've never seen in a strategy game of this type before) is npcs. There are five, as far as I can establish, some help and some hinder. Four of them come and ask to join your city to perform a function - for a price. The other visits all the cities in turn, and is part of the alternate ending in the game.

Kingdoms, in my opinion, is the first quality QB strategy game. It's the first game that really compels you to play. It may come across as a little primitive, but it's very entertaining.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Good)
Although the story doesn't really break any original ground, it's very well told. The story simply goes into the history of why these four kingdoms are battling it out. The four races are perhaps a little over familiar, there is a unique twist in here - the story is in fact narrated by Death. 

Death becomes the "dungeon master" in this game, in that he decides when to "claim the souls" of opposing races (when they are hopelessly beaten). Because of this, the story is told in a quite refreshing and exciting way, and alongside the atmospheric music that really gives Kingdoms something that's lacking in a lot of QB games of any genre.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Unfortunately, this is one area that is lacking in Kingdoms. Although there are four difficulty levels and two endings, the strategy is too basic to give the game any long term appeal. Once you've worked out how to finish the game, its no problem to do it again, even on a more difficult setting. It's essentially the same balancing act of keeping your people happy, keeping a good supply of money in case of emergency, and attacking before you're attacked the whole way through.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
Related to the Replay Value in this case, Kingdoms is just too easy, even on the Warlord setting. What the game is lacking is some decent battle strategy - at the minute, it's still just a text based numbers game. Perhaps in the much awaited sequel, we will see some life pumped into the battles.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Usually, when I write a review, I always look for something to criticize as well as something to praise. I think, what made this game harder for me to review than others is that there actually is very little to criticize. The game reaches a certain standard, and stays there. Other games I've played aim for a much higher standard, and come crashing down to a lower grade when all the small glitches and eye sores are taken into account. Kingdoms has no glitches. No eye sores. Nothing in this game detracts in anyway from what it's meant to be. The problem is that the game is just a mini-project, and isn't meant to be the best QB strategy game ever. There's little else Piptol could have added to change that. He aimed for a resultant, and hit it spot on.

I can't wait for the sequel. If the end product of the sequel ends up looking half as professional as this little game, we could be looking at the Command and Conquer of QB. 

Kingdoms Reviewed by Terry Cavanagh

Players 1 player Genre: Strategy Game
Rating To solve: 4-5 hours Final Rating: 23/35

To download Kingdoms (1.17MB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wMake sure you run "SETUP.EXE" to set the game's operating system and sound settings.
wAfter changing the settings, to play Kingdoms, unzip the file and run "KINGDOMS.EXE".

Back to Strategy Games Page

Game Summary
Coding Group
Piptol Productions
Homepage URL
Final Rating
23 out of 35 points

The Highs: An atmospheric strategy game that is debatably QB's best strategy game to date.
The Lows: A lack of battle strategy is caused by the game's auto-battle system.

V Planet! Archive
This is an archive of V Planet, circa November 2004, when the site was last active. This is read-only, and preserved here as part of the QB Zines Archive at Pete's QB Site.

Site Highlights
2004 QB Gaming Gold Awards Almost Set To Begin!
Get ready for this year's Gaming Golds! After a long hiatus, this year promises to be one of the biggest galas in the history of the QB world. Who will take home the gold this year?

Site Watch
Pete's QBasic Site
The original king of QB reviews is back with a vengeance! Check out the new and improved version of his website and don't forget to upload your latest QB projects to Pete's new download section!

Antz Entertainment
GBGames QBasic
HyperRealistic Games
Jocke the Beast
Pete's QBasic Site
Pickers Games Website
Piptol Productions
Programmer's Heaven
QB Colony
QB Chronicles
QB: Cult Magazine
QBasic/QuickBasic News
QBasic Contest
Statto Software


QBasicNews.comGBGames QB Game Review SiteStattoNet (Links/Site Reviews)Antz EntertainmentQB Top 50QBRPG Top 50The Hulla-Balloo NetworkQB45 (Future Software)