Score: 6/10        |      CASUAL ADVENTURE      |         POINT & CLICK       |         FANTASY

“The simple story yet engaging gameplay of Hero of the Kingdom III had me glued to the screen for hours, as was the case with the previous two games in the series.”

Hero of the Kingdom III is a casual point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Lonely Troops and was released via Steam on August 30, 2018. This is the third game in the series with the first released in December 2012 and the second released in February 2015. I originally came across the first game in the series as part of a 10-game bundle pack. I hadn’t heard of it before and it looked ok so thought I’d give it a go. I was hooked on the simple yet engaging gameplay and it was relaxing to play.

The stories in each game are very simple and progress logically and predictably. In HOTK1, you were living on a farm with your father when one day you discover your farm has been burned to the ground and your father is missing. Darkness and monsters take over the land and you must fight your way to finding your father. In HOTK2, you and your sister have settled into a quiet life however pirates invade the land, kidnapping your sister. In this latest iteration of the series, your uncle has raised you as a hunter. However, monsters are invading the land and strange earthquakes have started occurring. You must fight back to reclaim the lands and investigate these earthquakes.

Whenever an earthquake occurs, you will see a vision play out of a princess and her journey to the Forbidden Valley. Without giving spoilers away, the events in the visions start to make sense as they guide you ahead in the story.

The game starts out by teaching you the core gameplay mechanics. The ‘fog-of-war’ clears as you progress through each map area. Sometimes it can be a simple as completing a conversation, or other times you may have to fight monsters that are blocking the path. There are also caves to explore, underground dungeons and graveyard crypts. In this case, we had to hunt some rabbits for meat and fur.

As you can see, shooting rabbits requires the archery skill, a bow, arrows and strength points. I didn’t have enough strength so was required to camp, so I could make food to eat and restore my strength. In the previous two games, you had to locate camps and remember their locations within map areas, however this third game has evolved that mechanic for the camp to be usable anywhere. I then killed the rabbit and revealed the rest of the map area.

There’s a reason the camp is usable at any time – this is where you cook food, make potions and craft weapons/shields. Whilst this camp and crafting system has been made more accessible and crafting is necessary for the game, some of the game’s achievements were set at a huge level compared to the first two games, so at times it felt like a grind, especially towards the end of the game. I spent way too much time staring at this screen which shows every craftable item unlocked through progressing each crafting skill. It also didn’t help that your tools and weapons break a lot, so you’ll need to remember which vendors stock the various tools of the trades.

The world map unlocks a little way into the story and again is covered in a fog-of-war until you progress through the story and map areas. In the first two games, you could click each location to travel to that map area. The main reason for fast travelling like this was mainly to access the various types of vendors. In this latest game, the map shows icons for the main vendors of that area, so you can buy items from anywhere which comes in handy. You can still use the map to fast travel but only to the centre of each story area. You’ll need to be switching between the main game screen, camp and map screen to make sure you keep on top of your tools and supplies, to be ready for the battles ahead. The game does make you think and prepare enough equipment for future fights.

Another aspect of the game, and one that is part of the reason I get hooked on this series, is finding objects in each map area such as eggs, different types of mushrooms, shells and crates/barrels. There are of course achievements tied to these, and as mentioned already, these achievements are set way higher than the first two games. For example, in HOTK2 there is an achievement to find 200 mushrooms, whereas in HOTK3 you need to find 800. The image below contains six of these collectible items if you know what you’re looking for (birds eggs, mushrooms and a crate). Clicking each one brings up a window where you need to click again to accept collecting the items. This is an unnecessary step in the process which slows it down.

Throughout the game you’ll be using archery, melee combat, herbalism, alchemy, mining, cooking, blacksmithing, fishing, netting and lockpicking. The last hour of my 10 hours to complete the game, was spent trying to find the last 3 chests to respawn so I could lockpick them and earn that last achievement to perfect-score the game. It was a little frustrating towards the end but I’m glad I persevered. My wife Heather played the game at the same time and didn’t have as hard a time earning the achievements, finishing her game in 9 hours, so I’m on dinner duties tonight! Here’s the overall gameplay trailer which shows many of the game’s systems at play.

Overall, I gave the game a 6/10. The simple story yet engaging gameplay of Hero of the Kingdom III had me glued to the screen for hours, as was the case with the previous two games in the series. The developers have built on those previous successes and added some welcome quality of life improvements, however at the cost of adding too much of a resource grind. If they dialled it back a bit, it wouldn’t be so noticeable, and the grind would coincide with the ending of the story like the first two games. Otherwise it was another enjoyable relaxing game in the Hero of the Kingdom series.

This review utilised the Steam version of the game with 10 hours of gameplay. Hero of the Kingdom III can be bought through Steam for US$9.99 or can be bought as a triple-pack which is currently on sale for US$8.49. I’d recommending getting all three in the series as they are all great games.

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