Kingdom Eighties Preview – Kids on bikes vs. the Greed

Kingdom Eighties Header Art

Kingdom Eighties is a pretty large tonal shift away from the historical medieval and feudal themes that were found through earlier games in the series. From having kings and queens riding around on horseback, marshalling the peasantry to build up defences around your home camp, Kingdom Eighties leaps centuries ahead to the 1980s, featuring kids on bikes, getting younger kids to do the work and evoking all of the same kinds of eighties nostalgia that has infused modern pop culture.

It would be easy to suggest that Fury Studios is riding the wave of Stranger Things’ popularity, but Game Director Gordon Van Dyke told us that really it’s his own childhood that has fed into this game, drawing inspiration from the same wells that Netflix’s TV series has tapped into. The Goonies is a big influence, Tron, the D&D cartoon, Transformers the Movie, and on and on. More than that, as the game takes you through different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s scenery from his childhood that features in the backdrops, from the Marin County Fair to a 2D pixel art recreation of his childhood home.

It’s this (almost) modern world that is being invaded by the Greed once more, adding another revolution to the cyclical nature of the Kingdom story. From the defeat of the Ancients by the Greed around 22,000 BC, to the rise of human civilisation that fought back and defeated the Greed in 700 CE, as depicted in Kingdom Two Crowns, the Greed has now returned to try and tear down what mankind has built, bringing nature back to the world.

Kingdom Eighties Camp

Naturally, it’s the kids on bikes that are going to save the day, and you’ll play as a Summer Camp Councillor forced to defend their home city, banding together with friends like the Tinkerer along the way. The fundamental gameplay remains largely the same, as you ride back and forth on your BMX and toss coins at world items and other kids to recruit them to your cause.

It’s largely hands off outside of that, a strategic waiting game as you patrol back and forth and oversee your workers completing building tasks, hunt and scavenge to make more money for you, which you can then reinvest in grander defences and more equipment. With the 80s theme, your home base might be a school, a rubbish dump can be the source of the trashcan lids to turn people into knights, and the barricades feel more like the kinds of ramshackle home defences you see in films with all manner of large items thrown together to make a hasty impediment to the oncoming Greed.

You have the daytime to prepare your defences and try to expand, but come the night, the Greed will emerge from their realm to try and rip away anything of value in the world. If they attack one of your recruits, they’ll turn them back into just a regular kid, extracting the coinage and scamper back to their portal, and they’ll butt up against and start to teardown your structures.

Kingdom Eighties Greed attack

Kingdom Eighties remains a compelling take on the defence genre, balancing the despair as everything crumbles around you with the joys of successfully repelling an attack and surviving the night. On the one hand, it’s sure to be familiar to fans of Kingdom: Two Crowns, but on the other, the thematic changes and the real heart that’s being put into the game’s setting are sure to help mix things up a bit.

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