Impressions: Little King's Story

The Wii has proved its worth several times over as a viable host for RTS-lite titles aiming for a much wider audience than something such as say, StarCraft or similiar games would reach in the eyes of game developers. This, combined with the timeless allure of ruling over subjects as a revered king must have been what XSEED Games had in mind when publishing the diminutive Little King’s Story. I must admit the title is a bit misleading, as it lulls one into a false sense of security that the game will be as small in scope as the word “little” suggests. In fact, it is much more than a “little” story, and more like a giant’s story both in scope and the amount of entertainment it dishes out.

As the brand new king of the tiny country Alpolko, it’s your job to boss around your servants properly – hey, isn’t that what kings are supposed to do? In any case you’ll control your peasants in such a manner that world rulers of today would be quite ashamed. In fact, the number of followers you have will grow at quite the exponential rate. The core gameplay is really quite simple. While you may be used to selecting troops via cursor, your main form of interaction with your growing amount of followers is done primarily through directing them where to go.  Command a soldier to walk near an intruding enemy and a battle will commence. Other character types follow this suit as well, which makes gaining followers very easy to pick up and understand without having played the game too much prior. However, while this part is simple, you must understand that no matter who you task with a certain thing, they will rush ahead to complete it despite their skill level or ability to do so. As your citizens’ caring king you must keep in mind that balance of your troops and followers will be your eventual key to success, not simple flaunting your power as king. Looks as if it follows the rules of the real world, eh?
Occasionally you will be required to come down off of your pedestal and get involved, especially when the game progresses so that you will no longer be able to overcome obstacles as simply as directing followers to take care of it. You’ll need to ensure that you become more careful and precise with ordering around your delicate people, as the game’s difficulty ramps up considerably when you least expect it and you cannot always count on the fact that they will understand what tasks they can undertake without much difficulty or which enemies are an easy takedown for them. It’s all in how you relate to your followers!
Your followers are not exactly rocket scientists, either. In a method that struck me as simply brilliant, there are tons of smaller interwoven stories that will unfold via your townsfolk’s silly requests, personal fears, complaints, and feelings about whatever is going on in the kingdom at a certain time. While they aren’t the brightest crayons in the box, your crowd of followers will most certainly begin to grow on you as you plan out future conquests and either fail or succeed, sharing your successes and failures together no matter the outcome. They’ll slowly become great friends to you over the course of the game, something many games have failed to get right over the course of my 20-year history as a gamer, and that’s truly saying something.

Little King Story is rife with whimsical, colorful graphics and an equally enjoyable soundtrack that complement its impish yet endearing gameplay to a T. I would very much liken it to classics of the past such as Pikmin or the indomitable Animal Crossing, though this game has a flavor all its own. Kudos to XSEED Games for dishing out such an off-the-wall but genuinely enjoyable semi-life sim that anyone regardless of age should be able to enjoy.

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