Monday, 11 May 2009

Little King's story Review - Nintendo Wii

Written By JJ

Welcome King, to our humble land of Alpoko.
Our story starts as many do, chasing an infestation of rats out of the house only to find yourself lost in the forest yet again.
After incidentally finding a mystical crown ingeniously hidden inside some rocks you become King of a small community (hey, would you complain?).

You find yourself at the center of the world in your castle (a small hut I might add) tasked with bringing life back to the diminished community of Alpoko and clearing its lands of the dangerous UMA! (unidentified Mysterious Animals)

You go about your job, hand picking your best "Carefree Adults" or the utterly worthless as others might say, and bringing them into the wild to dig for treasure and expand your small town. You will find yourself digging holes and cutting bushes in an attempt to amass you first 100,00 Bol (The currency of the world) to begin construction and give your Subjects something to do.

Don't mess with the king

There is something strangely fulfilling about sending a group of, straight out of the barn, farmers to slaughter a helpless wandering gang of evil turnips with beautiful classical music to accompany. Even the most hardcore gamers have to sit back and enjoy themselves, you will soon find there is a much deeper side to this game then its floral entourage first lets on.

In the beginning you have access to only a small amount of resources and buildings, a guard house and a farm, it may seem a handful having to balance out your Royal Guard of faithful followers but after you pass the first hour you will be wishing you never ventured outside the castle. From carpenters to merchants as you progress through the game you will find more and more buildings, jobs and areas becoming available to you, each unit proving as invaluable as the last, making managing your Royal Guard all the more difficult - not in a bad way, yet it becomes apparent there is much more strategy to the game then is first seen.
Don't let the pretty scenery fool you, there is a world of deep strategy within this game.

Just because this game is on the Wii and has a small child on the front, don't let it fool you into thinking its easy. The game has a range of bosses, rival kings and area specific UMA that all require planning and thought to defeat (unless of course you don't care about sending loyal subjects to their certain demise)

the game will have you constantly thinking and rethinking past strategies, should you bring an entire team of soldiers to defeat that boss? What if you require an archer to counter long range attacks? What if you need to build a stair case to get closer and deal extra damage? don't make the same mistakes I did - diversity is key.
one of the first main bosses I found myself facing was a giant frog... EASY! or so I thought.
It's combination of ranged and close attacks had me stumped, and after losing all of my soldiers I decided to reset... numerous times. Attempting to take down a boss without proper preparation is almost suicide, and losing well trained soldiers only serves to hurt your game plan even more. In the end the key to the battle, and most battles, was to learn the enemies strategy and simply evade then attack, which also sounds simple... yet later proves to be much more complicated.

If this game was designed for children then they must be much better at games then I am as at times some portions of the game seem impossible.

The Royal Guard preparing to slaughter a group of unsuspecting onii An event for the whole family!

Another thing you will notice is that the games area seems reasonably small, I thought this could be a limitation on the Wii's part as the game is fully free roaming and also boasts beautiful graphics, some that merge seamlessly with the stylised cut-scenes throughout the game. How wrong I was after 5 hours I had only begun to unlock the entirety of the games map, let alone set about conquering the world! (as it seems you have no choice but to do)

The revealing and conquering of the new world centers around your main Adviser, the Ex Knight Howser Oreganostein, yeah I can't say it either. He will convince you to build a suggestion box in which you will receive love and hate mail, as well as quests, both side and story advancing. after each successful main quest your Kingdom will celebrate with a public holiday, in the town center upon a bonfire an item depicted the last beat boss is shown. these holidays serve no real purpose in the game but to add more character a life to an already lively and vibrant atmosphere, you cant do much on these days but talking to Howser will end the day with nothing lost nor gained.

When you finally begin to explore the game world you will begin to see how detailed and most importantly, different each area is. one day you might be fighting giant slugs an another walking mushrooms - there is always someone new to kill.

All in all the game does a brilliant job at what it set out to do

You will find yourself commanding subjects ranging from the humble farmer to the mystical wizard

onto the more technical aspects of the game some small problems do become apparent. After 10 hours of wandering the vast open spaces of the games luscious environment you may find you party of 10 soldiers have gone AWOL, this is caused by the games lack of AI fault-finding, your followers, as well as enemies can become caught behind rocks and beside stairs that you have walked up, and all to easily. ascending a flight of stairs becomes a challenge each time, attempting to keep your entire party together like some small annoying mandatory mini game.

The only other gripe I have with the game is its save feature - of which to use you must trudge back to the castle and speak to Verde, traversing back to the castle is also the only way to heal too (bar some magical hot springs to heal your wounded soldiers). this can become tedious and annoying yet later in the game you will find solutions to all of these problems, as if Rising Star left them in only to show off how good they where later on. after defeating the first king a travelling merchant will offer to build you a jump cannon, which lets you instantly jump from your castle to any area on the map - and opening your menu and pressing 2 will bring you back to the castle. The path finding is also slightly set about in the form of attack formation upgrades (didn't I mention you could buy upgrades before? sorry) these can help to make your followers walk single file, making short work of previous stair related mis-haps.

What do you mean no motion sensing!?

The games lack of any motion sensing features has left many in the dark, why put a game on the Wii without massacring its control scheme to work with motion sensing!? - maybe it could have been done well but to me it is a bit of a relief as my arms still ache from the day I got my Wii, while I will not go into much detail on them they can be confusing at times, the D pad controls your soldiers, the nunchuck controls you - A means Attack B means Come back, they made it work great... although it might have helped if there where more control tutorials (wait there aren't any at all...)

For a game that I expected so little I have received so much, this game is a definite buy for any people looking for a long, yet fun and addicting challenge to bring a failing kingdom to prosperity... and don't even get me started on the ending!

I give this game 9/10

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