You have to admire the 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach that Rule the Kingdom takes towards its freemium gameplay.
We're struggling to think of another title that's managed to combine RPG combat with The Settlers-style city construction and the need to micro-manage bakers who can't decide whether to make cookies or doughnuts without asking for your written consent.
The problem is that - thanks to an Zynga-esque emphasis on in-app purchases that would generously be described as 'heavy', or less generously as 'massively intrusive' - only those with Alan Sugar's expenses account will be able to experience a fraction of it.Sim city
With so many different elements to manage, the lengthy tutorial to Rule the Kingdom is welcome even though it won't let go of your hand for a second.
Your first 30 minutes or so will be spent being told exactly what icon to tap on to construct a new farm, travel to a neighbouring city, trade with a merchant, and beat up a pack of wolves.
While requiring precious little brainpower, the rather sumptuous visuals, intuitive one-tap controls (only combat requires you to press additional icons to use potions and power buffs), and gently pastoral soundtrack make you feel like you're achieving a great deal even when you're just harvesting carrots.
Worringly, however, a lot of these tutorial activities involve spending diamonds (the game's freemium currency) to speed up processes.
This means that once you're off the training leash it's a lot harder to complete even the simplest of quests.
For example, you might be able to beat up the orc minions tormenting a township, but when their super-sized boss appears, wipes out your fighting companions, and skewers you with his sword, you'll have to choose whether to wait an agonising 60 minutes to revive and try again or spend another diamond to get back in the action.Diamonds aren't forever
It seems that every task apart from baking and carrot harvesting requires you to either wait for an hour (or three, in the case of fillling in some orc caves) to finish a quest or fork out for some very pricey diamonds from ye olde Google Play store.
Suddenly, Rule the Kingdom's bright and breezy presentation and the wealth of customisation options (both to your avatar and the city you're rebuilding) seem like a tantalising glimpse of hybrid game that promises the world but only gives you a weekend in Southend-on-Sea.