10 February 2014

Kings Can Fly - Android Game Review

Take your airships around the world in this lighthearted and enjoyable puzzle game

We first saw the Kings Can Fly promo video a few months back and since then we’ve been waiting for the Firedroid developers to release their game…. the wait is now over!  Check out its good points below…


You’re a king who has finished conquering the kingdom and the state of peace is sending you to sleep.  So what do bored rulers do?  Obviously they listen to their young and beautiful assistants who tell them they should go on one last trip and see the world from high in the sky!
Being the almighty ruler of your domain, you set out with a convoy of airships and you need to travel the world going through all the checkpoints.  But of course you can’t just sit and wait for the wind direction to suit you before you set off… oh no… you’re the king… so you will create your own wind eddies!  That’s right you set out in your airship and then you strategically put down directional fans, lift fans and whirlwinds (yes that’s not a typo!) in order to guide your balloons to the docks.  After you have all your equipment in place then you open the gates and see if the wind currents are correct to fly you to your goal.

At this point the game probably still sounds weird because you’d think that a civilisation which is amazing enough to make airships (which can survive whirlwinds!) would also be clever enough to make them fly in any direction… but nope.  For some reason they were in such a rush to make these machines that they can only travel in straight lines. This explains why they need to throw contraptions around the map in order to redirect the balloons.  Luckily for us, this creates a very unique little puzzle game which is enjoyable and yet challenging at the same time.

Intuitive Controls 

I love developers who put time and care into controls because it can make or break a game.  In this case the Firedroid developers have gone to town with the camera controls and they’ve given their players all the bells and whistles: there’s basic single touch and drag for camera panning; then there’s pinch to zoom; they’ve got multi-touch twist to pivot the camera; and finally there’s multi-touch for camera elevation.  Of course this is just a nice to have which makes the game easier to play, but the attention to detail has also gone into the fan placement.  It’s very clear how to put a fan down and the choice of which direction it’ll be blowing is obvious too.  I’m particularly happy that the directional fan buttons will auto-rotate as you spin your view around.

Sweet Graphics & Sounds 

This is a great little pathing puzzle game which is put in a beautiful fully rendered 3D environment (yet another Unity engine success!).  Personally I find the model graphics to be just right… not too detailed… but still delicate enough to be pretty.  They’re also subtly animated to bring the whole game to life.  Though I must say, what really impresses me is how the 2D graphics and the in game 3D meld together easily.  The themed stylisation has really worked some magic and the quality music really sets the scene for a relaxing fantasy game.

Puzzle Problems

Personally I’ve found that some of the puzzle concepts within Kings can Fly and the core methods to solve them are very much like a Sokoban puzzle.  The difference is that you tend not to go back on your old routes and instead you’ll keep heading forwards.  Using Sokoban elimination methods will let you figure out where to place the guidance fans.  My only negative about the puzzles are that they seem either really easy or really hard… there’s not much inbetween.
As with all puzzle games there’s the concern that one would get stuck on a level and not be able to progress.  But the developers have tackled this in multiple ways i) there are multiple routes on the level map (which means you don’t need to complete all the levels), ii) there’s a tips button.  If you activate the game tip within the game then flags will appear, thus telling you where you should put your wind devices.  This way you’ll never get stuck, and you’ll always have something to play.

Full / Free:  The Free version of the game has adverts and 13 levels. [Ed: Adverts were removed from the free version!]  The Full game has 60 levels and we think its worth it if you like puzzle games.  To be honest, we’re not sure if the first 13 levels are a good reflection of how difficult the puzzles are or of how good the game is.

Rating: 4/5 Kings Can Fly is a superb and unique puzzle game which lets you feel the love and care of the developers.  This brain taxing game will definitely keep you occupied for a good while!

Kings Can Fly Tips and Tricks:

  • If you get stuck with planning the route from beginning to end, then try backwards planning and set the route from end to beginning instead.
  • There are often times when puzzles seem impossible.  In those cases then look carefully at where you can position your fans.  Have you definitely followed through on all your logic correctly?  You’ll often find that there may be some more alternatives at the beginning of your route.
  • Whenever a puzzle has you stumped and you think there’s no redirections possible, then take a step back and look at the overall map.  The maps have little islands of land or arbitrarily placed tornados.  So if you’re not utilising them then you may be doing something wrong.
  • In addition to trying to use the objects you’ve been given, then also tend towards planning out long and convoluted routes.  Try and think the following: “I’m the king and I’ve got tons of cash, so I want a scenic route around the map before going to the docks…” and that might help you solve the puzzles better.
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