RPGs have always appealed to me by providing the ability to roam freely or hide in the shadows while immersing myself in a new character. Maybe it's the actor in me who gets to express himself through swords and sorcery. Or maybe I've just always had a secret desire to go into random houses and loot treasure chests—highly illegal and not recommended, by the way. But whatever the exact reasons, I love RPGs, and thankfully there’s no shortage of this genre on mobile devices.
From Quest Hunter to Ni no Kuni: Crossworlds, I've written about several quality games in this genre. There are enough games all about leveling up and journeying through epic stories that players can afford to be selective when choosing the RPG they want to sink hours into. So when it comes to Exiled Kingdoms, is it worth the huge time investment in a genre already saturated with quality content?
Originally released in 2015 by 4 Dimension Games, Exiled Kingdoms is an isometric action RPG that tells the story of an empire destroyed by a magical cataclysm. A century later, the ancestors of the survivors of this world-changing event have split up into several exiled kingdoms, each one struggling to survive in a brutal wasteland. You role-play as a character who's received a letter from the city New Garand stating that you have a mysterious inheritance, and from there Exiled Kingdoms thrusts you right into the action. I was able to choose between a male or female explorer, set their portrait, come up with a name, and pick a character class. This is where I noticed the game's first and only instance of monetization: Players using the free version of Exiled Kingdoms have the option of two selectable classes, warrior or rogue. But for a single charge of $4.99, players can play as all four classes, including the cleric, and the mage as well as access all of the game’s content.
The free version is nothing to sneeze at, with thirty areas available to explore. Still, if you're going to go ahead and invest your time in Exiled Kingdoms, the full version boasts 135 playable areas and over 200 additional quests. A pretty good deal!
Exiled Kingdoms wastes no time jumping into the gameplay, with much of the tutorials explained through the course of real-time exploration and combat. The customization system is pretty standard for your typical RPG. Your character has the traditional STR, END, and AGI stats to build up, among others. There are also character traits like personality that you can build up to gain new conversation options with NPCs in your travels. I'm a rogue for life, so I specialized in light weapons and focused on agility and personality when it came to character growth.
Skill points can be spent to learn class-based moves. For my rogue, I chose sneak attack and stealth, which allowed me to blend in with my environment and avoid enemy detection. As for the fights themselves, this is where I think many will be split when it comes to Exiled Kingdoms. The first thing that I noticed was its old-school style and design. It’s a gameplay style that’s very reminiscent of old-school PC-based RPGs.
Admittedly, it took me a while to get into the art style. Exiled Kingdom’s combat felt laggy and slow initially, but it grew on me after a while. Given some time with the game, I even found myself enjoying the old-fashioned visuals. With that said, there may be a generational divide regarding this game’s aesthetic. I imagine younger players who are used to the amazing visual design of games like Ni no Kuni, games that have managed to push the boundaries for mobile devices, will look at Exiled Kingdoms and think it's a bit archaic. Nevertheless, if the graphics grew on me, perhaps Generation Z can appreciate them also.
Exiled Kingdoms doesn’t offer a particularly thrilling narrative either. Without giving away too many spoilers, the game threw me into a scenario where I was ripped off by some dude...and then went on to accept random quests without much happening to progress the main plot. Even if the pacing didn’t exactly drive me forward, it does provide that good single-player RPG feel. It was fun wandering around towns and recruiting NPCs into my party. I was even able to pay gold to ask an NPC to join me when I wanted to explore a more difficult area.
The enemies themselves are varied, which is good since grinding is a big part of Exiled Kingdoms. I was too low level to accept many of the quests I stumbled across, so I had to spend time hacking away in the forests until I was of appropriate strength to take the mission. I also died several times in my journey, although this might be related to me playing as a rogue with lower HP. I'd recommend getting to know that quick save function and using it frequently to save your progress, as enemies can be quite aggressive.
I had fun with Exiled Kingdoms, but for me the biggest selling point for an RPG is its plot. This game doesn’t deliver much in that department, but fans who love old-fashioned hacking and slashing, grinding for gear, and questing, are going to get a kick out of it nonetheless. Exiled Kingdoms offers a lot of content in a single-player RPG that's entirely offline, full of free content, and very reasonable in its monetization. Unsheathe your swords, give it a whirl, and enjoy heading back in time.
SCORE: 3 STARS OUT OF 5
PLAY IF YOU LIKE:
• Retro RPGs. RPGs are all over the place, but if you're hungry for something that looks and feels old school and offers a quality gaming experience for free, then look no further!
• Open world games. Enjoy wandering through different locations, finding hidden treasures, and exploring freely? Exiled Kingdoms won't disappoint.
💬 If you’ve played Exiled Kingdoms, let us know what you think of it! And if you haven't played it, what's your favorite old-school RPG to sink dozens of hours into? Let me know in the comments below!
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