The Hundred Year Kingdom Review: a century with a domestic goddess
Call me boring, but I love a nice, calm, peaceful city-builder. I don’t want any conflict, I don’t want any random events, I don’t want any chaos — none of that. Just me and a nice patch of land where I can build freely. Actually, strike that — it might be nice to have someone to keep me company while I build. You know, to help me out here and there, like giving me pointers or perks. In fact, if they’re some sort of authority figure, they could tell me more about what I’m supposed to do (which is always nice while playing a new game). Maybe they’ll have an entertaining personality, and we’ll get to know each other, and… oh, is my city built already? Time to go? Oh… okay. But we were just getting started…
So… that’s the vibe in The Hundred Year Kingdom, an “innovative turn-based city-builder” where players “work together with a mythical young goddess to develop a peaceful civilization over the course of a century.” Available on both PC and Switch, The Hundred Year Kingdom is a unique experience that will intrigue anyone who chases subtle novelty and/or sweet waifus. With calming visuals, a soothing soundtrack, and chill yet cerebral gameplay that slowly unfolds over time, The Hundred Year Kingdom is simultaneously easy to recommend but hard to explain (but in a good way).
As is probably obvious by the title, The Hundred Year Kingdom is a turn-based city-builder where players have 100 years to build up the best city possible. Players can construct or upgrade one building per turn, each turn taking one in-game year. Time isn’t the only thing that’s limited — land is at a premium, and tiles will only allow specific building types on them. It seems a little tricky at first, but no worries — you’re not alone! One of five goddesses from different cultures — Amaterasu, Arianrhod, Gaia, Freyja, and Inanna — is there to support you on your city-building journey. How will you raise a thriving civilization from the ground up?
When it comes to the city-building aspect, The Hundred Year Kingdom is seemingly simple at the beginning but unfolds tremendously as time goes on. In simplest terms, there’s a swatch of land with blank tiles that can be filled with different buildings. Each building will grant players a set amount of food, production, or culture points per turn (or some combination thereof) — farmlands give food, factories give production, etc. Some buildings will influence the output of others, and upgrading buildings can make them more powerful to the point of turning into a legacy building, such as the Taj Mahal or Hanging Gardens. These buildings will increase the production rate of specific facility types at the expense of its previous form’s output. A careful balancing act could certainly describe The Hundred Year Kingdom!
As for the waifu aspect, The Hundred Year Kingdom’s lovely ladies have certain effects on the board that will subtlety play out. Every so often, the goddess will gift players points depending on their strengths; for example, Amaterasu tends to gift production points, while Gaia gifts food. More often than not, though, their most notable affect is their dialogue, as each goddess goes through an emotional journey over the course of the century and takes players with them. At first, they’re overjoyed to see their “master,” chattering about the possibilities of a brand new world; as time passes, they get a little more personal, praising your hard work and even flirting. After about 80 years, the goddesses see the writing on the wall and start to get a little… endearingly tropey, perhaps? Saying sweet farewells, lamenting their limited time with you, and smiling through tears as they thank you for your care and attention before disappearing into the ether.
As a complete package, The Hundred Year Kingdom is odd. Hard to describe. Complicated, even. But I’ll be damned before I say it isn’t kinda fun and maybe even a little addicting. Having the privilege to play on both the Switch and PC, I found the PC version a great way to slot in some stress-relieving rounds between Zoom meetings and the Switch version a peaceful way to lull myself to sleep at night. While I do wish rules and concepts were explained a bit better and the waifu took up less of the screen than the actual land players work with (seriously, that last part was a weird design choice), part of the fun about The Hundred Year Kingdom is figuring out how to play and watching your hypotheses come true. In the very least, the unintentionally amusing writing is — dare I say, a banger.
The Hundred Year Kingdom is as hard to describe as it is hard to put down. Never did I ever think I’d become addicted to a waifu city-builder, but I also didn’t ever think such a game would ever exist. Simultaneously simple yet complicated, The Hundred Year Kingdom is charming, chill, and chuckle-inducing. If you want a novel, peaceful experience that slowly unfolds over time, The Hundred Year Kingdom is worth spending a century with.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC, Switch (Reviewed); Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games; Developer: Kaeru-San Games; Players: 1; Released: February 2, 2022; MSRP: $12.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of The Hundred Year Kingdom provided by the publisher.