Game Review: A World of Keflings
Release: December 22, 2010
Genre: Simulator / Strategy
Developer: Ninja Bee
Available Platforms: XBLA
MSRP: 800 MSP
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10+ Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence
Website: Official Website
It seems those adorable little creatures that invaded a lot of Xbox 360 consoles back in 2008, were in need of space. Now we have not one, but three kingdoms full of Keflings to boss around, resources to gather, and buildings to construct. A World of Keflings, as well as its predecessor, is an interesting approach to simulation games, where you, or your Avatar will be able to personally assist, direct and guide your little Keflings fellows in order to develop their kingdoms in the form of better housing, industry and education.
A World of Keflings is, at its core, a Sim City for kids. Everything is, in theory, extremely simple and streamlined. Managing your Keflings is as easy as grabbing one and throwing it at a resource spot. The little fellow will start harvesting the resource, but will leave the resultant product stockpiling until you give him the order to transport it to a certain facility, where such resource will be stored for future usage. You can assign the same Kefling to harvest and transport, or have two people do it for better and faster results. Resources vary from wood, stone, sand and crystals, as well as their variations (every resource will eventually need to be refined) and they serve for creating components that will be subsequently used in the construction of buildings such as Academies, Factories and simple Kefling houses.
The concept that glues all this building and managing together are certain important Keflings that will ask you for help. Such help could be to find some items, build a certain facility or opening a portal to another kingdom, in order to ultimately give prosperity, development and trade to the Keflings. That kind of missions help the game to have a logical and satisfying progression; a consistent narrative where you always have some objective to fulfill, and reason to keep playing. You can play on local or online co-op, which speeds up significantly some processes, as well as being able to share special items that are only found on other people’s kingdoms.
Technically, the game is very fitting. The visuals, while not pushing the console to its limits, have its own merits, with an appropriately humorous art direction and simple but charming characters. It’s worth noting the characters and the game in general has a very elegant humor that should enhance a gameplay that’s bound to grow a little overwhelming. The music is well done too, and it changes depending of the season, but other than that, if you spend too much time on a given land, music can become quite boring. The UI is a mixed bag, as it has some pretty and appropriate designs, but the implementation can become a little confusing, especially if you’re new to the series or a little kid.
Despite how simple and easy to learn the controls are, the game can’t help but getting really messy at times. As you progress through the story, you’ll realize the space will become incredibly crowded and you’ll probably be forced to correct a potential mistake you may have committed when administrating such space. Besides, having a bunch of Keflings can become problematic, as the only mechanism available for changing the targets you can interact with, is pressing the B button, and sometimes such mechanism just won’t work at all. Granted, there are some kind of gestures you can deploy in order to trigger special commands, such as gathering all Keflings in one place, or calling over all the ones with no current task, but the issue remain nonetheless. Another issue I found is the pace of the game, which can become really tiring and unrewarding. You see, at first the game throws at you a lot of different mechanics that seem new and interesting, but grow stale after you do them a bunch of times.
Julian’s Final Say
Before I approached A World of Keflings, I didn’t really know what to expect. Being someone who didn’t get to play the original game, the only thing I could imagine was some nice distraction for kids and family this holiday season. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with the simple, yet innovative ideas encapsulated in this game. Yes, it has its fair share of problems, the biggest one being the fact you’ll probably won’t stand playing it for long periods of time, but still, A World of Keflings is a lot more than a simple holiday distraction. It’s a fun, polished and inventive experience worth of everybody’s attention.
- Charming visuals
- Innovative gameplay
- Can get really crowded, thus difficult to control
- Interesting story, fun progression
- It will become tedious when played at prolonged periods of time