DEVELOPER: McCann London, Lionhead Studios, Grapple Mobile and Unit 9
PUBLISHER: Microsoft Game Studios
AVAILABLE ON: Android, Symbian, iOS, Windows Phone 7 via www.fable3kingmaker.com (Reviewed on iPhone 4)
If you cast your minds back to before the arrival of Fable II , Mr. Molyneux and the team at Lionhead Studios released an XBLA title called “Fable II Pub Games” which was a series of gambling mini games, which allowed you to win gold advance and credit it to your character upon the release of the game. This time, with Fable III coming out in a matter of weeks, they have produced a similar game to carry the gold over again, but this time it’s not so mini…it’s intercontinental! With most people owning a smartphone these days, they have created an application for a geo-location mobile game spanning the whole of northern Europe.
Have the developers made an innovative and fresh new app or are they completely lost? Read on to find out!
The premise of Kingmaker is to control territories all over Europe. Each country is divided into regions and then into sub-regions. Using your smartphone’s GPS capability, you can drop flags in any region and the most flags dropped by whatever team you are on (Royals or Rebels) will control that territory. Also, when a flag is dropped you gain 50 pieces of gold which can be carried over to Fable III, when the game is eventually released.
First however, you need to register at the website. After filling in some details and you will be a member of either the Royals or Rebels. Once you have logged in you can explore the map of whatever country you reside in and see which team controls what region. By zooming in on the map you can see the sub-regions and see who is controlling them, as well as treasure locations (more on that in a moment). Later on, once you are playing, you will be able to see the locations of your dropped flags too. The website also allows you to download the app for your smartphone, which is free!
The app itself is a basic version of the website. Once you log-in you are taken to the home screen, where you have your flag count (you get 10 flags to planet per day) accompanied by a “Quick Plant Flag” button, a general score between the two sides, and a “Show on Territories Map” button, which will show your local area and who controls what territory (Blue for Royals, Red for Rebels). This map however cannot be zoomed in or out, which is a little annoying as it would’ve been a good feature to be able to plan where you can drop your flags and collect treasure on the go.
All over Europe, Lionhead have used high street game retailers (in the case of the UK, GAME and Gamestation), as well as regional sights/attractions and have tagged digital treasure chests to them, each containing 2000 or 5000 pieces of gold. These are shown in detail on the website, (for example the name of the retailer or local attraction), so you can plan your route of attack. To obtain these treasures, you go to the “Plant a Flag” tab on the smartphone app, which will show you a zoomed in street map of where you are at that time, a “Plant Flag” button and also a refresh button so you can constantly pinpoint your position. When you are within 50 meters of the treasure, a “Claim Treasure” button will pop up and upon pressing the button, you take the gold.
Also on the app, you have the “Treasure” tab, which shows you the location and distance to all of your local treasure points. However, you can only claim each treasure location once and only the first 100 people to claim the treasure will be rewarded. This has been done to stop you starting your Fable III game with millions of gold pieces in the bank. Lionhead and Microsoft don’t want you to have access to all the good items immediately!
The app is quite addictive and potentially obsessive. You can just dump your 10 flags a day at home and collect the gold ready for the main title to come out, but it is more fun and rewarding to go out and plant flag in actual places. Upon the release of the app, I was fortunate enough to be on holiday and ended up planning where the treasure was whilst whizzing around the south of England and incorporating it into my day, which became just about collecting treasure and dropping flags in different territories to help my team out. There are lots of treasure points all over the UK, but to really benefit from this you have to be in London as there is an INSANE amount situated there.
You will find yourself getting annoyed if your home territory switches to the other teams control, making it your personal mission throughout the day to drop almost all your flags in your own territory. The app has recently been updated to get rid of most of the bugs, but what is annoying (for the iPhone at least) is the fact that if you leave the app on too long and then try to plant a flag, it says you need to log-in when you already are. This then means you have to log-out to log back in again! It would’ve been better to not have it time out on you, so you remain logged-in unless you actively log-out yourself.
It could be fun to just play Kingmaker even if you are not buying Fable III However, ultimately, it would be pointless to do so as there are plenty of geo-tagging sites on the web for you to play. But if you are already planning on playing Fable III, you will benefit from using this app and joining in, even if you are just dropping 10 flags at home. The Kingmaker app is a must for hardcore Fable fans and it’s even worth a look if you are a casual fan that is planning on playing Fable III on release. Go download it, it’s FREE!
If you are interested in joining the revolution, head on over to www.fable3kingmaker.com