There’s simply no tale like a tale of revenge and one-upmanship, and the sequel to the compelling original is the ultimate seminar in what it means to take revenge, by allowing you to be the avenger that takes down the revenge-bent Joker in a series of real-time battle scenarios of escalating difficulty. Nano Kingdoms 2: Joker’s Revenge brings us the classic battlefield-based skirmishes but now with added storyline to tie things together. What do you when this titular joker essentially abducts the monarchy and plunges the land into uncertainty? Is he literally having as much of a laugh as his name suggests he is? Or are we dealing with an ironic title that is in stark contrast to the sinister being that possesses it? I’m leaning towards the latter, and it is you, the unassuming flash-game player that is hungry for some real-time strategy action that must bring this personification of evil to justice and make the land safe once again. By destroying little castles. With tiny soldiers. They’re small.
Clash of the Slight Ones
The game is all about producing your own army of miniscule men to fight against the opposing army that is also comprised of tiny troops; your two castles sit on opposite ends of the screen and there’s nothing for either of you to do but destroy the opponent’s one before they destroy yours. As the force of good in all this, you’d better damn well ensure that you are the victor by producing troops, upgrading your buildings, and making sure to erect a sufficient number of resource production structures to provide you with the food, wood, and metal, all of which are used in the production of more soldiers for your efforts. It’s a true real-time strategist’s dream, only with some gritty, ground-level battling as the main event.
Get Paid, Upgrade
After you secure a steady supply of resources, you will find yourself amassing enough to be able to upgrade both your castle and your resource production centres. Upgrading your castle involves making additions such as towers that act as sentries, firing on enemies when they get too close. You can also produce different kinds of troops such as warriors and archers, and eventually ones that are capable of using magic, produced by building a magic academy once it is unlocked in the buildings menu.
As you march through the game leaving the charred, bloody and dismembered remains of your enemies behind you as trophies of your victory, you can also pick up spoils that are more useful in the form of different ‘heroes’ that are available. Each of these characters is unlocked when you complete a level and get them to join your side; they possess two magic spells each that can be used in your battle against the enemy at the cost of mana. The spells generally tend to span the extent of the battlefield, smashing up pretty much any enemy in its way. Olaf Ironhammer, for example, has the ‘Odin Shout’ spell that doubles the strength of your units but halves their defense; her other spell is ‘Lokis Deception’ which destroys enemies on the battlefield and resurrects them as an ally.
Though you’re not likely to become immersed into gameplay of great depth or get pulled in by the riveting storyline, Nano Kingdoms 2: Joker’s Revenge is actually a very well-executed piece of real-time strategy by Trutruka with hints of tower defense thrown in for funsies. It most definitely isn’t picking up any over-the-top praise for its aesthetics as they are pretty basic with just a hint of polish and some noticeably smooth edges; Kingdom Rush is a game that would put the graphics of this title to absolute shame. That said, the gameplay is substantial enough to overlook the visual shortcomings, making this one an addictive time-waster that you won’t regret committing to.