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Apple Arcade: ‘King’s League II’ Review – Fantastic Story Mode with a Tacked On, Disappointing Classic Mode

I must preface this by saying that I’ve played every version of King’s League there’s been thus far. I am a long time fan of the series and of the developer, Kurechii. I loved each and every one of them and all the many improvements that came over time. King’s League II, however, has not renewed that love fully.

Don’t get me wrong here. King’s League II is a good game. In it, you’ll find two different modes. “Story” entails a fulfilling, though a little obvious, tale in which a prince must earn his countrymen’s and father’s respect. You’ll meet new companions throughout, many of which will be a part of your troops to make the game vastly easier.

The main crux of the story mode will revolve around an overworld, the same as the previous installments. You can take on missions to earn you gold (the main currency), gems (the also main currency), and reputation. Each one will buy you something different, whether it be new upgrades for your facilities and earn widespread buffs, level-up troops or units, or will simply earn you better perks such as more items unlocked in the shop.

As Maxwell, you’ll also man the front lines with your companions in an attempt to become number 1 in a long series of around 30 battles all the way up into the King’s League. There’s also a small rivalry going on in the background as well as an evil plot or two, but they always just feel like a little extra flavor that comes to a climax right at the end.

Combat in King’s League II is rather idle where your only option is to set up your team and watch as they either walk from left to right and collide with the opposing troops or shoot their arrows, spells, or heals. It’s not at all a bad system and, in fact, I like it quite a bit. It’s got a very decent difficulty as well as a good variety of different skills and classes to give you some customization. The fact that you can also train units differently and level up your troops in one of two different areas furthers that enjoyment into a really fun time!

Another part of the overworld you can take part in is becoming Warden of settlements. Simply battle a place and if you win, you’re Warden! This entails you earning a certain amount of both gems and gold. You can even do dungeons, small tournaments, and you may end up fighting a golem or two in the process. Some of these various competitions and dungeons will earn you anything from companions to items and of course more of those sweet, sweet gold coins and gems.

So, are there any negatives in Story mode? Yes. For starters, there are around 10 Epic characters you can earn throughout the game but the last 4 or 5 won’t be unlocked until at least midway through the game, with most being unlocked near the end. This means that you won’t ever really be able to use them as their stats simply won’t match up well with your already well-trained and well-leveled up companions. Rather than giving us a lot of different options, it instead feels like we’re stuck with only a few variations of a team rather than the intended dozens.

The second mode you’ll be able to play is Classic Mode, but I strongly insist you play Story Mode first, as Classic is… well, it’s a let down, especially for strong supporters of the series.

Classic mode takes away all of the story of the game and breaks it down into the same exact challenges, dungeons, equipment, and battles. To make matters worse, it takes away all of the Story characters as well. No Maxwell. No Epics. It’s just faceless soldiers either Rare or Common. I played through the entire mode and was sorely disappointed with this fact.

Classic Mode also takes away a few of the popular features in the previous generations. There are no more “random events”. These used to be great for earning you special characters, reputation, gold, or gems. It was a fun way to give you a little luck and a good, strong character. Instead, you’re on the same playing field as everyone else and let me just tell you that it’s not all that entertaining. In fact, if you’re unlucky or unfamiliar with the series and its mechanics, you’ll likely be losing a few arenas and far too many battles. In short, Classic Mode is just Story Mode turned into a grindfest for anyone that already played Story Mode.

Not to end this review on a bad note though, the game is really interesting. The story kept me entertained and invested, the characters feel good and have their own stories as well, the combat is fluid and complex, there’s great customization in individual troops, and it’s paced well enough that I never felt like I wanted it over sooner. Classic Mode may just be tacked on to give it that replayability factor, but the real reason you’ll be playing this is for Story and that makes the game an overall solid experience.

Oh, and one last note — Be wary of your rogues. They’ll dodge everything from swords and arrows to your own healer’s heals…


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NOTE: King’s League II is available exclusively as part of Apple Arcade, a premium gaming subscription service from Apple. Without being a subscriber to Apple Arcade you cannot download and play this game. Apple Arcade is $4.99 per month and does come with a free one month trial, you can learn more about it on Apple’s official website or by visiting our dedicated Apple Arcade forum.