The Counting Kingdom – Preview

The kids are finally starting their summer “break.” As a cruel and unusual father, I find that it is now the perfect time to start piling up educational material to keep my children’s young minds sharp and ready to learn. Thanks to “The Counting Kingdom”, math practice will be a bit more fun for my boys during the summer doldrums.

The Counting Kingdom 1The Counting Kingdom is a turn-based tower defense game where a young wizard is defending castles using his mathematical magic skills. Each turn, the player can select a single monster or a group of monsters with a set of available spells. The catch is that the monsters have numbers on them, and the sum of all monsters selected must equal the spell you are casting.

Thankfully, since this is turn-based, you have plenty of time to mentally calculate the best way to clear as many monsters off the screen as possible. You also have other tools available such as combining each of your three available spell cards to come up with bigger spell values to use, or you can use potions that will adjust the value of each monster. And since this is a game targeted towards 6 to 9 year olds, making mistakes prompts a helper to aid in totaling the selected monsters and their values on the screen.

The Counting Kingdom 2As you progress in levels, the number of monsters increases as well as the values of each monster. At the beginning you are summing numbers from 1 to 6. By halfway into the game, you are regularly summing double digits. By the end of the game, the amounts being added up, along with potions and available spell combos would start to give most adults trouble. Though, this is a great exercise for adults who have trouble splitting a dinner check, especially if you throw in a coupon or two.

The art style is very charming and the monsters positively adorable, it was a delight to see my nine-year-old and six-year-old tackling the early levels.

What Worked: I can tell that there was a lot of good thought put behind the numbers generators. Spells that are available and monsters that appear never feel completely random. You always have moves available. In later levels, this numbers generator is even smart enough to force you to make combinations. At the end of the round, the numbers generator always makes sure you can clean up stragglers. The game always feels fair even though it is quite challenging. The entire game resonates charm from its music and production values as well.

What Didn’t Quite Work: The main problem with the game is that the story mode’s difficulty curve needs to be adjusted for different ages. My six-year-old gave up once the game started introducing potions and he couldn’t handle the added variations. My nine-year-old was exhausted after about 8 levels of mental math. For myself, I barely squeaked by the last levels of the game and unlike my sons, I’m a full-blooded Asian math whiz. I couldn’t imagine my nine-year-old completing the story mode for the game. And even with a lowered difficulty curve, it just feels like the game needs more incentives for younger audiences to push through. The game does have an added “free play” mode with adjustable difficulty, but it doesn’t have the same sense of achievement as unlocking the next castle in story mode.

Both my nine-year-old and I tried to use the potions to adjust the values of our spell cards and didn’t realize it only worked on monsters. So we broke a potion when we didn’t intend to. Also, the game only allows one profile at a time. The developer had to show me a hidden button to restart the game from scratch so that my six-year-old could take it from the top. Also, in the current build, the screen displays bonuses for clearing the entire screen for enemies with bonus points, but there are currently no indicators how those bonus points affects your ending score or number of stars that you receive.

As a developer, I know it is also very expensive and time-consuming to create new content, but I thought it is important to note that the main character of the game is a young boy. I seriously hope that the developer considers allowing the player to select a young girl to play, especially since we want to encourage more girls to go into STEM fields.

About the Game from the Dev: The Counting Kingdom is an educational game for kids 6-8 that is magically fun and will keep kids coming back for more.

Join the Wizard’s Apprentice on a magical journey through the Counting Kingdom! Cast spells to defend the castles from waves of attacking monsters, discovering more powerful spells as you go. You’ll have to dig deep to come up with the best strategy for defending the kingdom – do you have what it takes to repel the monsters and become a powerful wizard?

Join Alpha Testing now to be one of the first people to play The Counting Kingdom!

About the Dev: We believe in making educational games that kids want to play. Our team has a deep background in creating entertaining games and a strong panel of advisory educators, and together we’re making games that are engaging, educational, and just plain fun.

GlizzardDeveloper: Little Worlds Interactive

Game Website: The Counting Kingdom

Release Date: Available in Alpha on Steam: Early Access

About Indie Family Man
Paolo is a busy father of three kids: two boys (9 and 6 years old) and a prodigious little girl (1.5 years old). Outside his home life, Paolo is a professional software developer of over 14 years who has always loved games, but just started getting into indie game development at the request of his boys.

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