Pocket Kingdom Hands-On Impressions

We take a peek at Sega's upcoming massively multiplayer N-Gage strategy romp.

Pocket Kingdom, an N-Gage adventure/strategy title that is currently under development by Sega, made its playable debut at Nokia’s N-Gage E3 booth. It features an unlimited, autogenerating world in its single-player mode, as well as persistent multiplayer over N-Gage Arena. All together, the Pocket Kingdom we saw should be good for dozens of hours of entertainment, once it reaches its final incarnation.

The world of Pocket Kingdom is filled with interesting treasures to collect, ambulatory castles to upgrade, and plenty of baddies (both CPU-controlled and human) to fight. The object of the game is to explore the literally boundless environment to come up with as much loot as you possibly can. You are in charge of a movable fortress filled with recruited mercenaries, and every time you reach a new area, you can send them out to scout for treasure, which may or may not already be under the ownership of another band or kingdom.

Throw-downs ensue automatically once you equip your party of creatures and dispatch them to the problem area, with no opportunity for user control. The combat scenes are 2D and take place in a heavily trash-talk-laden environment. As the two sides battle, they will tell "your mama" jokes and will generally dis one another to beat the band. The secret lies in buying your minions the correct equipment and judiciously setting their strategies before they go to battle, in addition to recruiting the right types of creatures from the right areas (just as in the old PC classic Heroes of Might and Magic). It’s also possible to trick out your castle with a ton of new features and customizable add-ons, so you can be the envy of N-Gage Arena. Exactly what Arena functionality Pocket Kingdom will have is still unclear, but it will definitely feature a massively multiplayer gameplay environment that won’t necessitate the player’s constant attention.

Pocket Kingdom will hit the US market in Q4 2004.

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