Android App Review: The immersive world of Parallel Kingdom
Over the past 13 months I have grown to love and enjoy the Android platform. At the beginning, development for apps and games started off pretty slow. When I first got my T-Mobile G1 it was really hard to find good games which took advantage of the phones power and offered a unique experience. After a few days of downloading and testing almost every game and app that was on the Android Market, I came across Parallel Kingdom. The game offers a unique twist on your typically action adventure game on mobile devices. Parallel Kingdom overlays a virtual or parallel world onto Google Maps which is filled with creatures, forests, mines, cities, and your character. You can explore your immediate surroundings, but you are limited to a specified radius based on your real world location.
When Parallel Kingdom was first launched, it was pretty limiting. There wasn’t much to do besides attach creates, find weapons, chop down trees, and collect gold. Fortunately, over the past year, the Parallel Kingdom has been working tirelessly by adding new game play features and improving the overall user experience. Don’t get me wrong, the first release of the app had me hooked from day one. I would find myself waking through the skyways in Minneapolis on my lunch breaks just so I could discover new areas on the map so I could kill more creates and build up my stash of gold.
The latest release of the game (Parallel Kingdom – Age of Emergence) was launched in late November. Once I reinstalled the game, I quickly realized that it was a whole new world I was walking into. It has been over six months since I played the game. I had to uninstall it since my wife would yell at me every time I pulled out my phone to kill a few trolls or dragons. Age of Emergence has quite a bit to offer. I was planning on writing up a quick review on it a few weeks back, but found out that I would need some extra time to delve into all the new features that it includes.
When you start up Parallel Kingdom you will need to select a username and password. Pick your username wisely since it will be the name of your character in the game. You will be able to explore the area around you, but be careful since there are monsters lurking everywhere.
The main goal of the game is simply to level up, but in order to do this you will need weapons, gold and food. You can easily find weapons just lying on the ground or by killing Trolls, Trodonts, and Dragons, and Larva, but typically you’ll find a good collection of weapons and armor at the foot of Dusk Trees. To pick up a weapon, simply tap it on the screen and then select “Pickup”. After this, you will need to equip the weapon or armor you want by selecting menu > items > the weapon you want > equip. From that menu you also have the option to upgrade your weapons. Starting off, I’d recommend upgrading each weapon or piece of armor you are using to at least +1 to a boost in extra power and defense. Keep in mind that you will want a good selection of weapons since creates have different weapon vulnerabilities and weapons can only be used a certain number of times. I have found that the most well-rounded weapon in Parallel Kingdom is the Sword, so make sure you always have one handy when doing into battle.
At the bottom of your screen you will see readouts for your Gold, HP, Pages, and Kg. The first two are pretty self explanatory, while Pages indicates your progression to leveling up and Kg indicates how much more weight (items and weapons) you can carry. In order to carry more items and increase your Kg level, simply collect Backpacks. Every time you kill creatures, chop down trees, or accomplish various action you accrue Pages. Once the Pages bar is full, tap it and you will get the option to level up. Unfortunately, in order to level up you will also require Food. Throughout Parallel Kingdom you will find dozens of items, weapons, armor to collect, but Food is the only thing you won’t find laying around. You start off the game with enough Food to level up 2 to 3 times, but after that you will need to either use REAL money to purchase food or collect enough items or gold to trade for it with other players. Some people in the game try ripping new players off by charging as much as 1000 Gold for 1 Food. Don’t be fooled. If you search around you will find players willing to sell it for as little at 100 Gold or even trade 1 for 1 with items like Wood.
In the original release of Parallel Kingdom, you were limited to your immediate surroundings, but now you are able to travel to multiple cities of various estates that you own. The first estate you should build is a House. You can always visit your house (as long as you have enough Roc Feathers) which is handy when you’re playing the game and there’s nothing in your immediate surroundings to kill. I know a lot of people are inclined to build their house near their real world house or place of work (I did), but I encourage you to build it somewhere that you don’t visit often in the real world. This will give you more hunting groups to choose from. You now also have the option to build flags to claim territory on the map. You can visit any flag you have built as long as you can see it on the map.
The real fun comes in with the addition of Cities. Players can now team up to build a city which adds a whole new element to the game. Once you join a city (costs 1000 Gold) you will be able to travel to it wherever you like and can trade your items in the Trading Post. You will also get your own personal Oil Well which will collect Oil for you even while you are not playing. Oil can then be sold, traded, or dropped for Gold so you can purchase new items from other players or upgrade your weapons.
I’m hoping that this is enough info to get you started on your Parallel Kingdom adventure. The game has a lot more to offer than what I’ve covered and it truly is one of the most addicting and immersive games for the Android platform. I find myself logging in 2-3 times a day to collect my Oil, harvest Berries, and hunt Dragons. I should also mention that Parallel Kingdom is also available on the iPhone. So don’t be surprised to find a fair number of iPhone freaks in the chat rooms and trading posts of Parallel Kingdom.
Make sure you drop me a message in the game (character name: Raiden). I’m always looking for a good trade or a hunting partner. be sure to check out the officail Parallel Kingdom website. You’ll find a great community that can answer any question you throw their way. If you’re already a Parallel Kingdom player, feel free to list your username and location is the comment section. It’s always nice to build little sub-communities inside the game. Hope to see you all inside Parallel Kingdom.