App Army Assemble: Kingdom Eighties - "Is this standalone expansion in the popular series a must-play?"

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Kingdom Eighties - "Is this standalone expansion in the popular series a must-play?"

Kingdom Eighties is a standalone expansion in the popular micro-management series that leaves behind its usual roots in favour of 80s nostalgia. That means you can expect plenty of synth-wave tracks, neon and riding bikes around town. We handed the game over to the App Army to see what they made of it.

Here's what they said:

Brian Wigington

Let me start by saying that if you haven't played the other Kingdom games then you may want to try one as they are on sale quite often. The overall concept is base building/rebuilding your kingdom over time, recruiting helpers/fighters, improving defences, and exploring the areas. While the earlier couple of games were in medieval settings with some fantasy elements, this newest edition is set in the 1980s.

While this may sound odd it is really well done and a joy to see especially if you grew up in the 80's like me. Your transport is no longer a trusty steed as it is now a cool bicycle. The fortress you are upgrading and protecting is your summer camp as you have been trapped there and unable to get home.

You gather coins from other workers and defenders you recruit to build up your camp and defend it from the beings that come to attack at night. When you go exploring you must always be ready to turn and run if you stumble upon the enemy creatures. It adds a bit of fear to your travels. The soundtrack is very fitting and the sound effects are great.

The *pop* of your soda when you tag a swig to the sounds your bike makes as you pedal are all great. Kingdom The Eighties also in my opinion has a bit more detailed tutorial and help along the way compared to the other games which made you learn more by trying things.

There is a lot to explore and I hope the game gets updated the way that the PC version has with more content. I am not a huge tower defense or strategy gamer but this one hits the high spots of those genres while being very accessible. I am loving it so far and will keep it installed to keep growing my camp. It's definitely worth the asking price for a high-quality game with a great atmosphere.

Mark Abukoff

I haven’t spent a lot of time on any Kingdom games but I’m always a fan of castle defence games, particularly when they bring something different. Kingdom Eighties does that nicely with the heavy Eighties/Stranger Things vibe. I like the kid on his bike with his wheelies and occasional stop for a drink. I like the creepy summer camp vibe.

I like being able to start it on a pretty easy level (most times I’m here more for the story than the challenge, at least initially), occasionally bringing in help with little cutscenes. I like the simple controls that work well. I was hoping for more obvious 80s musical callbacks, but what they went with is fine. Really, in short, this is a fun callback and a pretty simple castle defence game with an appealing setting and lots of love behind it. Good addition to the series and genre. Happily recommend.

Torbjörn Kämblad

I have played a lot of slightly weird games in my day. Not knowing what to do, or where to go has been frequent in those games. Combined with a cool setting, and a sense of progression some of those games have still gained my interest. Kingdom Eighties is one of those games. A king on a bicycle riding from left to right, and then back again as dusk slowly settles for the day is weird.

Collecting coins, and upgrading structures adding defence or more light seems like the most natural thing for this peddling royal. Ride too far during the evening, and the king will lose his crown. Survive the night, and a new dawn rises. Basically, it plays like the Kingdom with an eighties Stranger Things vibe. If you enjoy Kingdom and do not need a lot of guidance from tutorials this is a highly enjoyable weird game.

Tom Chan

In Kingdom Eighties, players defend the town against the mysterious Greed. As soon as you hire a kid, they automatically pick up an available job. A lot of time is spent waiting for the kids to arrive. Sometimes, when you are facing attacks from the left side and you cannot control the kids on the right to help. So, I would love to have more control.

The size of the map is very long, so a lot of time is spent going from one side to the other just to check on it. It would be helpful to have a mini-map with indicators telling what is happening.
Kingdom Eighties is a visually stunning and immersive strategy game that offers a unique blend of resource management and defence gameplay. If you enjoy pixel art aesthetics and strategic challenges, it's definitely worth giving it a try.

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Sangeet Shukla

Kingdom Eighties is a pixel-based side-scrolling game that combines tower defence, resource management, and city building. The game also starts off a little slowly, but once you get into it and figure out how everything works, it is a lot of fun. The later speed is even better; I adore how quickly coins are acquired in later chapters as opposed to earlier ones.

Additionally, the game is simple to pick up and play, whether you've played it before or not. You can switch your gaming from casual to intense by choosing one of three difficulties. Fantastic visual style, transition from day to night, building up your camp, and beautiful background changes making it worth your time & money. (Also I have not played the Kingdom series from the same developer, so I can't say how similar it is to them.)

Chad Jones

As a huge fan of this series, I love what they've accomplished in this game inspired by the 80s. I cannot put my finger on what kind of game genre this series would be considered. It's not quite a tower defence or a deep strategy game. Rather it's a mashup of different genres that just works really well.

Normally, it is set in a medieval-type world, but this time around it is set in the 80s and instead of a king you are a teen who is defending your summer camp, school, and so on from the main bad guy(s) Greed. You need to manage your kingdom and the people inside of it, giving them jobs whether they're defending and hunting or they're constructing different things. Your main job is to run this "kingdom".

And every night the greed tries to penetrate your kingdom, by breaking down your barriers and overthrowing you. There are about five different play settings from peaceful to cursed. Once you really get going it's hard to put down. I usually start out with easy and if it's your first time I would suggest peaceful, to get the lay of the land, see how things work and then beat it on harder settings later.

Raw Fury did a superb job on this sequel giving it a new spin. And if you never played a kingdom series game, you would have no problems starting with this one. The graphics are superb, the sound and soundtrack are top notch and the controls on the touch side of things are phenomenal. A Definite must-buy!

Eduard Pandele

Kingdom" meets Stranger Things? Yes, indeed. Kingdom Eighties is, just like the title says, the latest iteration in the Kingdom series, this time set up in the 1980s instead of medieval times. Basically, it's Kingdom for Dummies - a perfect place to start if you never played any game in the series. That's because it's simpler, easier and (way) shorter.

Mechanically, it's almost identical to the others - you control a "king" (here, a teenager on a bicycle) that moves left and right, exploring his "kingdom" (here, a summer camp in the middle of a dark forest), looking for coins and summoning his subjects (here, kindergarten kids, err, scouts) to automatically do various tasks according to the tools they find (here, they shoot critters, build structures, and chop down trees.) and ultimately get more coins to build more walls and turrets. and grow your army.

By night, monsters called Greed come out of their portals to attack your "castle" (here, the camp). Beat them, grow up your castle, err, camp, reach the Greed portals and destroy them, survive the retaliatory wave of Greed monsters, rinse and repeat.

However, this time there's a story - not very original, but nicely told via the pretty enough and catchy enough animated cutscenes. All in all, a solo play entry in the Kingdom series that's aimed squarely at new players and that succeeds in that respect - it's easy to play (touch controls work well), funny (not just the concept - build an army of children and have them fight horrors with sticks and stones - but there are myriad funny animations and visual gags aplenty) and, most of all, addictive (which is obvious, it's the fourth iteration of the same concept). Well worth playing if you've got a tablet (or Eagle Eyes if you want to play on a phone).

Massimo Saraconi

I liked the previous Kingdom games, mostly Two Crowns, so I gladly played this one. My first impression is that it seems easier than its predecessors, and also that those 80s vibes are a bit forced, let's be clear, nothing wrong, but after a while seems like we didn't need a Stranger Things/Kingdom crossover, i mean, mechanics are almost the same, but the old medieval background fit better. Anyway, it’s really a good game, for fans or not of the saga, I highly recommend it.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.