Kingdom Tales 2 HD is a fanciful building sim foray into the world of the Norse, with areas such as the Dark Woods, Odin's Cliffs and Yggdrasil Plains. Each level is filled with intricate greenery, sparkling waters, or snowy surroundings. Hidden within every level is a secret treasure, so be sure to keep your eyes pealed for the sparkles that indicate the treasure's location.
Within your level, you'll easily be able to recognize obstacles such as broken bridges, fallen logs in the road, dragons, bewitched trees, etc. and you'll also be able to tell the difference between your workers, although you won't really need to worry about it much, as the game sends the appropriate worker depending on what needs to be done, whether it is collecting taxes, dispensing magic, building or fighting.
The background music has a magical quality to it, but also a very heroic feel, which makes sense as Finn is a hero and future king in the making. The music will also amp up dramatically as you progress in the level, indicating that you are nearing a time limit, so pay attention to those audio clues.
Kingdom Tales 2 HD is a delightful building simulation based around a story of true love. Beautiful Princess Dahla and a young blacksmith named Finn are madly in love, and although her father is a fair man, he can't simply allow his precious daughter to marry just anyone. He proclaims that the man who can expand his kingdom shall win her hand, and so, young Finn sets off to do just this.
You are tasked with working your way through 40 levels, clearing the land of obstructions both environmental and supernatural, building homes for the kingdom's residents and taking care of whatever odd mishaps arise along the way. To complicate matters, Count Ohli also wants to win Dahla's hand and will stop at nothing to prevent you from accomplishing your task.
Initially, you'll be able to build Huts and upgrade them to receive more money via taxes, but as you progress, you'll be able to build Cottages, Houses and finally Residences for maximum taxes. You'll need to build a Farm to supply your homes with food, a Workshop to supply your builders with materials, a Blacksmith to supply hammers, and a Temple or a Druid's Hut to generate magic, in case your villagers get sick or you run into wildlings, dragons or other magic-enabled creatures blocking your progress. You can also build a Market to obtain luxuries which are used to buy off certain henchman who will interfere with your progress. In some levels, you will need to build a Well for water or a Garden to increase your villagers' happiness. Everything costs either money, materials, luxuries or magic, so you'll need to juggle a number of factors.
The good thing is that you have unlimited workers at your disposal, so if your fingers can tap quickly enough and you have the resources, you can have a number of things going at once.
In certain levels, you will also have access to the Wheel of Fortune which costs 1000 gold to spin, but could win you some really cool prizes like materials or experience for your workers, but sometimes the prizes aren't quite worth the money. Then, sometimes there are caves to explore. These will also cost you 1000 gold to explore, but could get you a pile of money... or nothing at all. The choice is yours.
Kingdom Tales 2 HD has three levels of difficulty and you can switch between them at any time between levels. Casual is exactly what it sounds like; you can play the game at a leisurely pace with no time limits in place. While this is a nice, relaxing experience, it took the drive out of it for me, personally. Plus, you won't have access to certain Achievements if you play on this setting.
On the Normal setting, you will have a timer bar off to the left side that is constantly draining. If you complete the level within the top portion, you will earn three stars. There are also lower benchmarks to earn two and one stars, and finally no stars, while still completing the level. I played through the entire game on this setting, going back to earn three stars on the levels where I hadn't quite earned all three stars. The map allows you to scroll back and forth throughout the land to see which levels have been done and how many stars were earned and whether the hidden treasure was obtained.
At this point, I am going back to complete each level on the Extreme difficulty, which allows you to earn a platinum star for completing the level. Instead of the benchmarks for gold stars, you have the same draining time bar, but it drains much more quickly. Aside from that stress, the game plays the same. While the early levels are really easy to complete on Extreme, even with earning the platinum stars, I imagine the later ones will be quite challenging, especially since I barely pulled off my three gold star rating on some of them while playing on Normal.
In Kingdom Tales 2 HD, you'll have four different types of workers at your disposal: Tax Collectors, Builders, Fighters and Druids. As you perform tasks with these workers through the course of progressing in the game, they will earn experience. Once they have reached 100%, you can promote them and each worker has several levels of promotion, each giving them increased attributes like speed, for one. Finn will also increase in rank during the game by earning stars on each level. The more stars you earn per level, the faster his rank increases, taking him from a lowly blacksmith to future king!
Kingdom Tales 2 HD also has Achievements and these can range from completing the game, to upgrading all of your workers, to earning platinum stars.
Overall, I loved Kingdom Tales 2 HD, but I probably won't come back to replay it over and over again, once I have earned the platinum stars for every level. That being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game and will continue to do so until I have bested each level on Extreme. It reminds me a great deal of a game called Roads of Rome HD from several years back, so if you enjoyed that game or you like building games in general, this is an excellent one. Personally, I enjoy building games if they don't have excessive micromanagement, and Kingdom Tales 2 HD had just the right amount.