by: Sam "Samoza" Tyler
I’m not one to usually pay attention to iPhone Apps, as when it comes to handheld devices I am more of a podcast/music man myself. However, when watching Peter Molyneux’s keynote speech at the Eurogamer Expo he announced a new Fable III themed App called Kingmaker, which allows you to earn Fable III gold before the game is even out. My pathological greed meant that Kingmaker was sure to peak my interest.
After some initial stumbling over the release date, Kingmaker finally made it to the App Store for the grand sum of nothing; zip, zero, nada. Free things are always nice, but unfortunately the ‘game’ reflects the price. Once you finish downloading Kingmaker you are asked to link it to both an email address and an Xbox Live Account. You are then automatically given the role as a Royalist or a Rebel. Each day you can plant ten flags in ten locations that offer wireless connectivity. If the area has more Royal flags it falls under Royal control and the opposite if the Rebels dominate. Essentially, the game plays out as a real life game of Risk; actual people can tip the balance. For a better idea you can check out this video.
In theory this should work well, but there are a number of issues that detract from the App. On pure aesthetics, it does not look that pretty; a lot more could have been done to spruce up the imagery or cater for fans of the Fable III series with some unlockable artwork or sound effects. There are only four screens on offer that range from the bland Place a Flag icon to the sleep inducing options page. There is some initial excitement on offer when you discover the map page which explains which faction owns where. However, you are unable to move the map around or zoom in for better accuracy; it feels incredibly limited.
To add to these issues, I also found that the App crashed on me a couple of times and would take a day or two to restart. Finally, the game allows you to plant 10 flags in the same spot, this meant I ended up just planting all 10 in the same place as this equates to 500 Gold Pieces that will be imported into my game. To really encourage gamers Lionhead should have forced people to plant flags in different areas.
By my age, I should be wary of the paradox: ‘what Molyneux says ain’t what he delivers’, but I can’t help being a fool. I imagined that Kingmaker would be an immersive App that drew gamers into a huge Meta role playing game; it turned out to be a poorly coded gold making app that people could play sitting on their couch. This being said, it’s nice to have something for free and I will be able to spend the gold I earn in game. For that alone it’s worth picking up in the regions it is available.