THE HUNDRED YEAR KINGDOM REVIEW (SWITCH)
The Hundred Year Kingdom is a simple city-building and resource management sim but on the smallest scale I have ever seen. With the help of a handful of anime Goddesses (inspired by real mythology) you play as The Creator, a kind of god that has 100 years to turn a wasteland into a thriving kingdom. By renovating the empty land into farms, mines or settlements you accumulate resources that let you upgrade your agriculture, industry and accommodations to earn more and more resources. Once the century is up the Goddess aiding you will score your kingdom, freeing you up to have another attempt with a new environment with a different Goddess.
Your resources are Food, Production and Culture, and without much strategy or difficulty you have to spend these resources in order to further improve your floating island. Levelling up your structures will increase their efficiency, and combining them with your chosen Goddesses perks will award you with a higher ranking once the century is up. The Goddess will sporadically gift you resources throughout the 100 year cycle, which is extremely helpful of her but does get annoying as it can break your flow or concentration.
From the menu you can view all of the islands you have created and all of the buildings you have discovered.
My biggest gripe with The Hundred Year Kingdom is how much real estate has been dedicated to the Goddesses. The anime girls fill up half the display but their size compared to the playable space dwarfs it into the corner. The world you’re building should take centre stage and it’s absolutely criminal how much of an oversight this is. It’s almost as if The Hundred Year Kingdom wanted to be a waifu dating sim, which wouldn’t have been a problem if you could actually interact with the Goddesses on a meaningful level. Instead, they’re nothing but an eye-sore to be ignored.
Another problem is how unrewarding creating the worlds are. Very little detail has been put into the tiled board you build on. With no animations or sense of scale it’s impossible to feel an overwhelming sensation of accomplishment when there’s only a basic visual presentation of your kingdom growing and flourishing.
It’s mobile-friendly approach doesn’t lend itself very well to the Switch, and even though I’ve been playing it in handheld mode it still doesn’t have the fluidity that clicky mobile games typically have to offer. Your only requirement is to continuously click a button so it is extremely easy to play and would feel much more at home on mobile. It would be perfect for playing on a commute (which is entirely possible with a Switch) if all of the incessant daily summary pop-ups were taken out of it.
So many things about The Hundred Year Kingdom didn’t make sense to me because their inclusion is never explained or elaborated on. For example, it’s not clear how you’re being judged during the grading system. There’s no advice from the Goddess how to improve your score. Goddesses earn XP and level up, and it’s never explained what the purpose of this is. It’s likely that it boosts their perks in some way but this is never communicated to the player. At one point one of my buildings (a pyramid) started flashing and I don’t know why. They must flash for a reason otherwise it wouldn’t have been included so what does it mean? Let me know in the comments.
One of the unique selling points is how there are no complicated elements like diplomacy, wars and calamities but a little bit of drama, conflict and environmental threat would have made it much more enjoyable. As there is no story, quests or any guidance from the AI it’s difficult to find a reason to play The Hundred Year Kingdom more than once. Once you’ve completed a single 100 year cycle you’ve already achieved what the title implores you to do.
Should you play it? No
Why… It doesn’t have much longevity and doesn’t meet the expectations of the brief. If you bought this game based on the description alone you would feel short changed for sure.
But… All my criticisms have left me yearning for more because there’s a great game buried somewhere amongst the rubble. It feels like the developers lost their way and focused on the wrong elements though.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Developer: Kaeru-san Games
Publisher: Waku Waku Games
Playable on: Switch/PC
Released: 3rd February, 2022