Developer: Town Factory and Cing
I was asked by the US Government, NATO, NAACP, NAFTA, United Nations, Republic of China, and the NRA to share my thoughts on what we all think is the biggest Issue facing our respective Countries, and Organizations. They have commissioned me to write an article depiciting the horrible attrocities that we are all share no matter what we represent, or where we come from. It’s a plague on humanity, a Black Death if you will, that affects us all. Grab a cup of coffee, and prepare yourself for an article that will shake the very ground you walk on, and make other issues like “Army recruitment Video Game Centers” a thing of the past. That’s child’s play to this.
I’m talking about Little King’s Story for the Wii. Yeah, terrifying isn’t it? We need you, as people of world, to stand in unison, throw away your petty differences and join together. We must all play this game, and help put a stop to Shovel-Ware once and for all. This game is great. It exceeds initial impressions and expectations, and is a treasure to behold on a system with such a small list of good games.
This is our fight, Welcome to Earth!
Little King’s Story has sold roughly 20k here in the US. This is pathetic, but understandable. For a game that looks to appeal to very young children right from the cover, to a publisher who doesn’t have the mainstream recognition as some of the other publishers, it’s easy to see why a game like this would fall into the shadows. Does that mean it should have? Absoulutely not. It’s so great that we have multiple review outlets on the internet as I as well would have passed this game up was it not for them. With a Metacritic score of 87/100 I was very intrigued and had to try it out for myself. Of which I am very glad I did.
The story premise is simple. A young boy stumbles upon a crown while walking through the forest one day, and finds out the crown gives him the ability to persuade any person to do his bidding. He is approached by a Knight named Howzer who informs him that he is to be the ruler of a new and mighty kingdom. It’s just that the kingdom isn’t really all there yet and he must take arms and cultivate the land and rid it of monsters if he is to be the king of this newfound kingdom.
Simple yet stylized. The view is a bird’s eye, top down view of the playing field. Graphics are effective yet simple, and the stylization comes from the cutscenes. It’s as if most of the cutscenes are made to look like water color paintings, or chalk drawings. It gives the game it’s own flair. My only problem with the graphics is the amount of bloom. What I find I did like, was that the game uses a day and night clock. During the day, you can see everything with no issues. But during the night time, everything becomes very hard to see. I enjoyed this because as you can stay up all night in the game, plundering and pillaging you are at a disadvantage. So resting for the next day is usually a good idea.
Simple, and unoriginal for the most part. You will end up hearing songs that resemble classical pieces of music you would hear in a slew of classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Almost all the music in the game is something you have heard before it seems. It’s fairly uninspired but its nothing to ruin the game. There are some original pieces, but none of them grab you.
This is where the game shines… obviously. I will tell you right off the bat, that this game is the closet we have seen to a Pikmin on the Wii. By no means is it exact, but its very close. You control the King, and mind you, there are no motion controls. As you start off in your town, you have “Carefree Villagers” or lazy people as they are offen referred to. They can be charmed by the king and they will follow behind him as he walks through the town and surrounding areas. You’re first goal is to make a certain amount of money found by digging up treasure. Once you have done so you can build your first building that will train those Carefree Villagers into Harvesters. They will cut down logs blocking paths and also be able to dig holes where you see a crack in the ground. This is used for collecting treasure and finding hot springs which can restore their health when they go into battle and become injured. As you progress further you can build houses which increase your population of villagers, a Barracks for training Grunt Soliders, other buildings for miners who will cut down Large Stones the little guys can’t. etc. Point being you can build a lot and really customize your army of soliders and cultivationists as you progress.
When you want to make a solider or a harvester do something, you throw them, or make them run to the target. This is how you designate where you want them to go. You can also switch their order while in your command in case you want a solider attacking first instead of a harvester, as they would obviously do more damage. It’s pretty simple to get a hold of the controls. You battle enemies to clear area’s and a lot of times they will drop a simple item that counts as treasure. So killing is good. There are also quests that will direct you to an area for a boss fight. These are usually one really big enemy, or possibly lots of small ones around a bigger one. There is strategy here too. You have to know the pattern of the boss, or watch for the attack. As you can call your men back before the attack to save them from damage or possibly death. Oh and it’s very important they don’t die. For every solider or villager you lose, you are penalized when you go back to your castle to claim your treasure. It takes money away from your profits for every death. So learning the game is very important. The Enemies are varied well, and each attack in their own way. Fighting is very enjoyable since you can’t bum rush everything.
As you clean area’s from monsters, and bosses your kingdom expands and you are able to build there. The bigger your kingdom, the larger your army can become. You start out only being able to command 5 people at a time. As you progress you can buy upgrades, that allow for more people to be in your control making your job faster, but also preparing you for the harder things to come.
Did I mention the treasure? It’s the most addicting quality of the game. Since EVERYTHING costs money, from building, to training your villagers into fighters, to purchasing upgrades, you need a lot of cash, and treasure is how you do it. Playing through the game, I would purposely go through a day just collecting treasure to add the the kingdom funds. it goes quick so it’s almost impossible to stock pile unless you spend a few days collecting. What makes the treasure aspect so great, is by breaking down a log, finding a pot to break, cutting down a berry bush, or killing an enemy you almost always get “something”. That “something” is always worth it as every item you collect has a value. What I liked as well, was how the items when found look the same, but occassionally when you see your tally of what you collected, a mushroom might have 6 different types of which some are more valuable than others. So it’s important to grab everything as you may not know what it could net you in the end.
This game is a truly a hidden treasure on the Wii. Of what I thought would be a decent game to mess around with here and there, became a full blown addiction. Granted I have my personal reasons for liking this game as Pikmin is one of my favorite games to date, but Little King’s Story has enough variety and differences, that definately puts in then same Genre as Pikmin, but sets it apart with its originality. This is a top shelf game, though it is sad to see how there is little to no recognition in sales numbers, there are a lot of games that are incredible experiences and go un-noticed. Add this one to the growing list of games that were great, but didn’t do well when it released.
I always get a small amount of satisfaction when I play something that didn’t sell well. Games like Beyond Good and Evil, and Oddworld: Strangers Wrath were such great games that also suffered from the same problem. If you read this and it strikes you that this game might be worth trying, I highly recommend you do. For the sake of the developers time, and to really go out and try something new and different. It’ll be worth your time, and money.