Pocket Kingdom: Own the World Impressions
Build up a floating castle full of ninjas and take on players around the world in Sega's upcoming N-Gage strategy game.
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One of the disappointment's of Nokia's N-Gage so far is that very few of the games have taken real advantage of the system's unique features. As a cell phone, complete with a GPRS connection for exchanging data over a worldwide network, the system really has a lot of potential for network gaming, but most of the experiences to be found on the system so far center around leaderboards and challenges that don't take place in real time. Pocket Kingdom: Own the World, from Sega, has the potential to fill in this gap with some interesting, strategic gameplay.
In Pocket Kingdom, you're the ruler of a floating castle. You'll immediately have to build and equip a fighting force so that you can take on other kingdoms. New character classes are found through research, so while you'll eventually be able to crank out a ninja fighting force, you'll have to experiment in your lab to perfect the ninja formula. You'll also equip your fighters with different items, like swords, claws, and so on. The game will have around 50,000 items to find. Lastly, you'll have to set up some rules and tactics for your fighters. Do you want your toughest character to go after the highest-ranked character on the opposing side? Or maybe the weakest? A series of menus will let you set up your battle tactics. From there, you can go to a menu and find another castle, which is essentially another player that is currently playing the game. You can spy on opposing kingdoms to see if they have a beatable fighting force, or you can just rush into battle and hope for the best. Battles are noninteractive--you have camera control, but the battle itself plays out according to the math of your statistics and the battle tactics you've selected. Beating another kingdom is one way to gain loot, which can be spent on new items, research, and so on. You can also be challenged by other players, obviously, and this essentially drops you right into the thick of battle.
Graphically, Pocket Kingdom has a small, anime-like look to it. The battle sequences play out from a 2D side view that looks reasonably sharp.
Overall, Pocket Kingdom looks and sounds like it could offer a pretty unique portable gaming experience. We're looking forward to seeing more of it as it approaches its September release date.