A few new ones. Haven’t seen a whole lot of these lately.
-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-
Game: Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
Time Played: 2.3 hours + Many More Years Ago
Fifteen years ago, back in 2000, Majesty was first released for the PC. I bought the game and loved it instantly, putting many hours into it, always thinking that it really deserved more attention than it got. So, of course, I had to pick up the Gold HD Edition on Steam many years later (release in 2012), and have just gotten around to sitting down and playing it again. It’s as much fun as I remembered!
The music is great, too! Here’s a song to get you through this post. 🙂
I think it’s a little grand to call itself a “Fantasy Kingdom Sim,” but then, given its time frame, and games like The Sims, it has a similar flavor to it with a strategy slant. You play as the king of a kingdom, and start with a handful of buildings (castle, blacksmith, etc.) and a royal treasury. Everything you do revolves around earning and spending money in your kingdom.
You can purchase new buildings, such as specific guilds (warrior, rouge, ranger, healer, monk, etc), then hire heroes from those guilds to protect your kingdom and take on the evils of the lands. As the heroes win battles, they gain experience and level up. You don’t ever directly control the heroes, but you can influence what they do indirectly by spending money.
For example, if a troll is terrorizing your peasants, you can place a bounty on its head. This makes it a prime target for heroes, and the heroes will be inspired to attack that one enemy more than anything else. You can also place bounties on locations, such as monster dens, or areas of the map you haven’t uncovered yet to encourage exploration.
You can also upgrade buildings to provide heroes with options to spend their earned gold on. Upgrading the blacksmith provides better weapons and armor. Upgrading the marketplace provides healing potions, rings and other neat support items.
Though you can’t control your heroes directly, sometimes you can intervene on their behalf. For example, if you have an awesome level 12 warrior with a fire shield and teleportation ring… who is just epically battling everything the game throws his way, and he suddenly dies… well it’s usually permadeath for the hero (you just hire a new one). But, if you have a high enough level healer’s guild, this provides you with healing and resurrection skills you can use, for a cost of gold. It’s totally worth it to rez the epic level 12 warrior for 1,500 gold when a newly minted level 1 warrior costs 500.
Though you don’t directly control any of your little heroes, you do start to recognize them by name and pull for them as they face bigger challenges. It’s lots of fun to watch your kingdom grow and your heroes become more powerful as the game continues.
The game has a campaign mode of sorts, with each little map having its own story and basic objectives. These are often quite humorous, and are sorted by skill level – beginner, advanced, expert. There’s not really a tutorial, but beginner level campaigns do walk you through things like upgrading buildings and putting out bounties. Still, it’s easy enough to pick up and play.
Certain campaigns are hidden until you finish others, which will unlock those pieces of the story. There’s also a freestyle level, where you choose your skill level and get a randomly generated map to play until you clear. So there’s a lot of replay value. At one time, there was multiplayer, but I’m not sure if the Steam version still supports that or not.
Though the game boasts a HD graphically upgraded version of the game for Steam, it all feels and plays very much like the game did 15 years ago. Graphics do look somewhat dated and the UI is definitely something from 2000. However, the game is still charming and runs very well, so if you can overlook these things, I totally recommend it.
I was thinking to myself before I sat down to write this that it would be awesome to see this game updated with new graphics and UI. It’s such an underrated game, but really so simple and fun. Then I discovered that it has been ported to iOS and Android! And yes, graphics have been improved and a neat mobile UI included.
I haven’t tried this yet (there’s a free version of both), but I’d totally drop $1.99 for a tablet version of this game. I think it would work very well on mobile, just as long as the UI did what it needed to do.
So, I’m happy to recommend the free mobile version to folks interested in a fun little semi-strategy game for your mobile device. Again, I’m sad this doesn’t get more attention than it has, cuz it’s really a solid little gem hiding in the shadows of bigger name games and apps.
Interested? Get it here: