Pocket Kingdom: Own The World – NG – Review

Imagine an
RPG where you don’t get involved with the battles. You don’t swing a sword,
cast a spell, or even shift through menus or gray-colored windows. Sounds
pretty boring, right? On a home console it probably would be. On the PC it
would be laughed at for not giving the player a significant amount of

But on the
N-Gage this unusual RPG is turning naysayers into addicts. If marketed
properly, it could easily turn N-Gage critics into people who can’t leave
their home without one.

Kingdom: Own the World isn’t really a game where you aspire to take over the
world and become all-powerful. You may become all-powerful, but your
over-the-world-taking is scaled down to a pint-sized planet with very little
depth. (Visually, as in dungeons and forests and other areas you’d typically
see in a role-playing game). This world is flat, cartoony, and location
selection is limited to a 2D map of cookie-cutter castles. This doesn’t sound
like the game I make it out to be, does it?


I knew very
little about Pocket Kingdom: Own the World prior to reviewing it. That was
good because I didn’t have to listen to someone telling me how great it is,
only to roll my eyes when I hear the game’s description. But it really is
addictive. Those who are doubtful will be extremely surprised; those with
higher expectations will still be amazed at what the game can do. Within
minutes of selecting units (which are limited to two types when the game
begins), weapons and other gear, you’ll find yourself committed to a game that
isn’t far beyond the 8-bit era.

shots reveal that the battles are viewed from the side, something that’s not
typical of an RPG. As fists are thrown, swords are swung, and spells are cast,
Pocket Kingdom begins to look an awful lot like a role-playing version of
Street Fighter. That would be a great idea actually, and might be just what
we’d get if the sequel had battles that were a bit more interactive. In this
version all you can do is move the camera left and right to keep track of each
of the characters. All battle decisions are made before the battles begin.
Besides selecting the most appropriate units and weapons, party formation is
another important element.

Contrary to
what you might think, Pocket Kingdom doesn’t become an entertainment-less bore
during the uncontrollable battle sequence. Instead the game is quite the
opposite as you watch your men duke it out with a number of powerful monsters
and sorcerers. Beasts, with their damaging close-combat attacks, and spell
casters, who can attack your party from a great distance, immobilizing them
before they have the chance to do anything.

It’s the
horse-racing phenomenon that turns spectating into something that’s
entertaining. You think it’s boring; sitting and watching while the horse
(your fighters) gets out there and runs to the finish line. It becomes
exciting when the horse gains money and experience (increase statistics) from
his success. Your choices before the race affect how things turn out later.
How much money you make will be determined by the amount of time you’re
willing spend training (leveling up) your horse. In turn, the level/experience
of your house determines how many races you’ll win (enemies you’ll defeat) and
how many championships you’ll reach (the number of places you’ll explore).
It’s very much a gambler’s game. Lose all your dough and it’s game over.

Play the
single-player mode for a while and you’ll obtain the Online Crest, which opens
the locked N-Gage Arena mode. Most N-Gage Arena-enabled games don’t offer true
multiplayer gaming. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater had a ghost-race mode where you
could try and beat other player’s best time limit. It didn’t take long for it
to lose its appeal.

Kingdom: Own the World does what no other has and allows you to battle with
real gamers in real-time. Not just the friend sitting next to you, or the
gamer who lives next door, but everyone who’s logged into the N-Gage Arena

Like Pokemon,
multiplayer is not as exciting as the single-player aspect. It’s more fun to
build your army offline than it is to demonstrate its power online. However,
both go hand-in-hand in creating entertainment.

Scoring Details

for Pocket Kingdom: Own the World

Gameplay: 8.5
Not so much
playing as guiding. You don’t interact with the characters; you influence
them. It’s hard to believe that a game like that would be fun when we’ve had
interactive, real-time RPGs for well over a decade. But like the Pokemon
phenomenon, not everything can be explained. Pocket Kingdom: Own the World is
fun because it’s fun. There’s no logic behind it other than that the
developers found a way to make an RPG as simple as possible and with as little
gameplay as possible and still keep us hooked to our N-Gage’s.

They also
found a way to make it challenging. Now that’s an achievement.

Graphics: 6.0
Same old 2D
graphics. Nothing new to see except for the battles, which look like they came
from a NeoGeo Pocket fighting game.

Sound: 7.0
impressive music, slightly impressive sound effects. I kept the sound off most
of the time.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 7.9
Not a new kind of
game, but a variation of what we’ve experienced before. The final product is
better than the concept, which wouldn’t have been my idea of a good RPG had
you told me about it when it first began development.

The idea of
going online and battling thousands of people across the globe is great. But
since the battles are view-only, it doesn’t feel like you’re battling a real
person. It doesn’t feel like you’re battling anyone.

Multiplayer: 7.5
Fun and
innovative (technology), but lacking in real gameplay, Pocket Kingdom’s
multiplayer battles won’t hold your interest for nearly as long as EverQuest.
The multiplayer experience would be much more engrossing if you had control
over your party during battle. That would make it feel more like a multiplayer
game, instead for a simplistic video that was pre-taped.

Overall: 8.2
Own an N-Gage?
Then you gotta Own the World – Pocket Kingdom’s world. I’m not sure what you
expected to get out of your N-Gage, but you can be certain that Pocket Kingdom
wasn’t it. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not graphically advanced, nor does it
offer a new type of gameplay. What it gives you is a different take on a genre
that hasn’t been promoted as much as it was in the late 90s. Being different
can make an RPG go either way, but with Pocket Kingdom Sega hit the bull’s