King knows it’s stuffed you with far too much candy. So it’s going to see how you like burning off those calories as you stop Ragnarok.
Today, the game studio launched Legend of Solgard, its first role-playing game (and first midcore mobile offering). Like Candy Crush Saga and King’s other offerings, Solgard is a free-to-play game with in-app transactions on iOS and Android (you can download it now). It’s developer is Snowprint Studios, which former King director of product Alexander Ekvall cofounded in 2015 to make a midcore RPG. And that game is Legend of Solgard.
This is King’s first launch since Royal Charm Slots in late 2017. Candy Crush Saga remains in the top 10 in games, according to App Annie, and in its last earning reporting period early this month, parent company Activision Blizzard said the 6-year-old puzzler helped King hit a quarterly revenue record. The studio is doing, err, forgive me, crushing it, but it can always use another hit in the bloody mobile market — which research firm Newzoo forecasts could $70.3 billion this year — and Solgard shores up a weakness in its portfolio: a lack of role-playing games. Midcore games also cater to an audience that likes features such as leveling up characters, developing gear and abilities, and other forms of progression than you get from something like Bubble Witch, and this enables King to push into a new category and find new players who may not be interested in Candy Crush any longer.
“Legend of Solgard is King’s first midcore title so this is a new genre for the company,” a company spokesperson said over email. “King has seen the midcore space gain a huge amount of traction over the last few years, and [it] is looking to expand their portfolio of games into this popular mobile gaming genre with the launch of Legend of Solgard. The game brings new and compelling content to both Kings existing global player base and newcomers alike.
In Solgard, you’re not running through a dungeon-crawl and hack-‘n’-slashing your way through enemies, as you might in games such as Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter Champions. Instead, you fight on a puzzle grid and match units, asking to a game such as Puzzle Quest or Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, two outstanding hits from the late 2000s.
Solgard follow the story of Embla as she fights to stop Ragnarok (the end of all worlds, essentially). The studio says it’s turned to Norse folklore for this story (hence Ragnarok instead of some other world-ending apocalypse), and players will find themselves learning make the most of their units and creatures, adapting their tactics as they dive into the puzzle-RPG mechanics. You collect beasts and undead, critters (no, not fans of the D&D live-play Critical Role show) and wyrms, and Valkyries and small folk like dwarves.
“The game combines the thrill of puzzle combat with the collection of original characters from a world rich with Norse Mythology. Your characters strengths and abilities level up as you do as you combat enemies and bosses in the different modes of play,” a King spokesperson said over email.
I spent dozens of hours with Clash of Heroes on the Nintendo DS and my PC, and I’m interested in seeing if Legend of Solgard hits that same sort of tactical puzzle gameplay.