Review: Kingdom Rush Origins – Third Time’s a Charm

Developed and published by Ironhide Game Studios, Kingdom Rush Origins is not a new title but it is certainly new for Xbox players. 2023 is looking like a solid year for tower-defense fans on the Xbox because Kingdom Rush Origins is the third release on the platform by the developer in just 5 months. Earlier this year, we saw the release of the original Kingdom Rush on Xbox which was later followed by Kingdom Rush Frontier and now, the third entry in the franchise Kingdom Rush Origins has also arrived on the platform. While it is the third title in sequence, Kingdom Rush Origins takes after its name and is a prequel of the saga presenting an interesting take on the story that kickstarted in the first game. This is our review of Kingdom Rush Origins on Xbox in which we build some Elven towers and take down hordes of Gnoll army.

The story of Kingdom Rush Origins is set three decades before the events of the original Kingdom Rush. In Origins, you will take command of the Elven army which is trying to defend their kingdoms against the fiendish hordes or the Gnoll army. Upon the kidnapping of their princess, you will travel across the beautiful Elven Kingdom in search of her and this will take you through Elven forests, faery realms, and a city that floats in the air. If you have been playing the first two Kingdom Rush games, you will find Kingdom Rush Origins really welcoming because it completely switches up the art style of the game and brings a lot of new, interesting mechanics to the game.

Review: Kingdom Rush Origins

The gameplay of Kingdom Rush Origins is pretty much the same as that of the previous two games in the franchise. You play through a narrative story while selecting missions on a map and each level gives you a unique layout with spots to put down your towers. Each level has a different number of waves during which you will fight a large number of Gnolls and their vicious army. You will earn gold by killing the enemies and then later, use the gold to purchase additional towers and upgrades for them. The core gameplay is pretty much the same along with the challenging gameplay. It is as much challenging as any other title in the franchise and also comes with a brand-new difficulty level as well. If you think that the Veteran difficulty level is easy for you, you can try out the new Impossible difficulty level for the ultimate challenge. This is unlocked by completing the main campaign and of course, if you can three-star a level, you can try out the Iron Mode and the Heroic Mode of each level.

Completing each level will unlock the next one for you and you can move forward with the narrative story of the game in this way. After unlocking a stage, you have the freedom of playing it later with your chosen difficulty at any time and in more challenging modes. The cutscenes are played only the first time when you are playing a level. There are also some endgame levels that are not related to the main story of the game but they offer new areas with the highest level of difficulty, concluding with amazing boss fights. The main campaign of Kingdom Rush Origins also features boss fights but the best boss fights happen in these endgame levels where you can really flex yourself with the best towers and their maximum upgrades.

For complementing your towers, you also have a diverse selection of heroes to choose from this time around. Ranging from the powerful Dragon Mage Faustus to the cute, little pixie Catha, there is a hero to suit every playstyle. Each hero has unlockable moves along with upgrades similar to Kingdom Rush Frontiers. You will also find the powerful dark wizard Vez’Nan as a playable hero in the game as well. Since the game takes place before the events of the original Kingdom Rush, Vez’nan has not turned evil yet. This connects Origins with the original title and this is what I love about Kingdom Rush titles how the developers somehow manage to connect the games with each other despite the story being so much apart from each other. The hero selection in Origins is pretty stellar and their special abilities are a sight to behold in the levels.

Kingdom Rush Origins easily features the most beautiful level design in the game so far. It not only features a different art style with a more fantasy-looking setting with bright colors with a more striking color pallet but the levels look insane themselves. The map gives you a slight idea of how pretty the overall world of Kingdom Rush Origins is but when you start different levels, you will notice how much more unique and different they appear from the previous levels. Each level has its own unique vibe and is filled with different sorts of activities. Some levels will have NPCs hiding out in tree houses which will help you out in fighting enemies while in some levels, you will find just cool little details here and there. Each biome of the map brings a new theme to the game and the levels are designed accordingly.

Not just the levels, but the towers look completely unique and different from the previous games as well. This might be because of the factor that this time around, you are playing with an Elven army rather than the human army. The towers change completely even with normal upgrades and the design is absolutely stellar. I loved the design of the Hunter Arbor the most since it looks really cool with the twisting staircase going to the top and each upgrade adding a whole new platform for another archer instead of just increasing the damage output with the same number of archers. The enemy design is fairly decent as well. This time around, nearly all of the enemies are brand-new and none of them are from the previous titles which is yet another great thing to look forward to this time around.

Kingdom Rush Origins brings another great Kingdom Rush game to Xbox platforms allowing players to dive deeper into the beautiful universe created by Ironhide Game Studio. It is more refined, feels more mature, and keeps the same level of challenge that we can expect from the franchise. The towers in Kingdom Rush Origins look amazing and are so far my favorite when compared with the previous two titles. I also really like the new visual art style of the game as it feels like a mixture of The Lord of the Rings and Skyrim. Despite its colorful appearance, Kingdom Rush Origins is packed with challenges and some levels will really test your patience. The level design is really pretty and is one of my favorite aspects of the new game.

Final Verdict:

Kingdom Rush Origins is easily the prettiest Kingdom Rush game to arrive on the Xbox consoles. While the original Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers were filled with their own charm, Kingdom Rush Origins completely overhauls the visual art style to suit its setting and greatly improves the controls as well. So far, Kingdom Rush Origins is my favorite Kingdom Rush title to arrive on the Xbox and I will recommend that if you have been playing the past two releases on Xbox, definitely play the newest release as well. It brings enough charm and new gameplay elements and mechanics to bring a fresh take on a proven formula. It keeps the same charm and challenge of the original two titles but introduces new mechanics, majorly improved mechanics all around and a fresh set of heroes to play the game with. A must-play for every Kingdom Rush fan and players who love strategy games.

Final Score: 9.0/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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