The eastward path of the Royal Frontier is filled with dangers that defend its prosperous lands from would-be royalty like yourself.
There’s no kingdom in history that hasn’t sought to expand its borders. Whether against nature and its creatures or bandits and barbarians alike, it’s both brave and foolish to travel across troubled lands in search of fortune and glory.
Royal Frontier is a turn-based rouge-lite rpg by Woblyware games where players face a distant journey as a caravan of settlers with a crew of loyal guards. Tales of riches to the east have enticed your entourage to embark on a treacherous journey to settle a far off land in search of wealth. The party of defenders, which initially consists of a warrior, a sorcerer and a priest, are charged with defending the caravan from the pillaging attacks of thieves, goblins, undead and waves of other assailants. The game stretches across a map full of encounters with three paths leading east that occasionally intersect each other and change randomly with each playthrough. For each day of the journey the party will fight, rest, shop, or take other actions based on the encounters presented on the map.
Fighting on the frontier is straightforward roleplaying combat. Heroes will have different abilities based on their combat style and will improve with experience along the way. With each character’s turn there are opportunities to attack or defend more effectively by pressing a button with the correct timing. Landing these hits will grant either bonus damage or less damage received to your party members. Each command has unique animations and rhythm making each action rather suspenseful. Party members can equip specific weapons and armor, and any of the relics they might come across that grant unique bonuses. Items like potions and magic scrolls can be very helpful and are purchased in shops with gold or looted after a fight.
Heroes’ abilities grow along the journey, but the path east is unrelenting. Even when successfully landing the timing, the challenge bases the gameplay completely on survival. Unlike other rouge-lites there isn’t much that rolls over to the next game after falling short on the journey and each day hard fought from the beginning. Items, equipment or experience are all lost when the caravan is plundered. Gameplay only rewards failure by unlocking new blessings, which are three bonuses that players will also have to choose before the caravan departs. While blessings increase in strength and utility, it takes hours to scale the ramping challenge of the enemies you face along the way. Survival depends on landing timed hits while focusing on your best combat strategy and the randomized effects of looting useful items like potions, scrolls, and character equipment.
Presentation and mood are playful but feel like a clever mask for the tense nature of the turn-based combat. The charming pixel art and medieval soundtrack keeps appearances and emotions juvenile and aesthetically shallow. After familiarizing with the survival theme and adorable but deadly enemies the mood and atmosphere of Royal Frontier could even be described as satirical. With the direct focus on surviving in combat and only a simple intro cutscene to set up the story, the gameplay takes a time before feeling rewarding and may be best enjoyed in short but brave bursts. The complete package surfers from a sort of identity crisis. Without many cutscenes or a powerful story line it’s difficult to build a strong drive or passion for the level of challenge presented by combat. Having all your stats and items reset is a fairly hardcore mechanic that’s been painted with the appearance of a casual game. With the odds stacked against you and miniscule rewards for the struggle, the pacing feels like a slow grind.
Knowing you’ll often lose your caravan with little reward casts a lingering shadow, but Kingdom Frontier shows its appeal for RPG fans who enjoy a challenge and love diving right into the action. Without much in the way of filler, the gameplay is focused on giving players a tough as nails fight for survival in an adorable package.
-Fierce and precise turn based combat
-Paths randomize with each playthrough
-Hardcore survival mechanics
-Progress and unlockables require many failed attempts
-difficult encounters offer miniscule rewards
-casual atmosphere doesn’t match the brutal challenge
2 out of 5
Review code provided by PR. Royal Frontier is available now!