Little King's Story tells the tale of Corobo, a shy boy who one day comes across a magical crown after chasing a group of rats. Putting on this crown, he realises that he has gained the power of irresistible influence and unquestionable loyalty over others, and sets out building a prospering kingdom to cure his loneliness.
Naturally as king, Corobo has a select number of advisors callable from the throne, and it is from these that you grasp the basics of the immense depth and ambition that Little King's Story has to offer. Howser, not to be confused with Super Mario's nemesis, is your main consultant, and presents suggestions for the next step to a booming utopia via building purchases and job letters. Liam is your walking tutorial, who lets you in on the know when a new concept or enemy pops up in the game. Finally, Verde handles game-saving duties for you.
To build the Kingdom of Alpoko up from the pitiful barren lands it begins as, Corobo is required to explore the surrounding lands, defeat opposing creatures (here named as UMA), and unearth treasures to trade for currency. Doing so allows for the land to expand in area, and new buildings, homes, and themed constructions to be financed. Despite the ambition though, one lone boy with a golden crown on his head couldn't possibly manage all this solo, so luckily you can persuade citizens to help you out.
Upon a wave of his scepter (and a press of the B trigger), the king can recruit a person in front of him, and he or she will follow without question. By guiding these people into certain buildings they can be designated job roles, ranging from farmers that can uproot treasures and items, soldiers who handle the battles against the UMA, to carpenters that construct new foundations and lend a hand in fights. The high number of different jobs that become available to you, each with strengths, specialties and weaknesses of their own, all become essential for progress. It is the management of the limited number of people that can follow you at any one time, where and when to use them, that bolsters LKS's depth and strategy value to even greater heights.
Given that the Wii remote's pointer and motion abilities sound tailor-made for such a game, as already proven with Nintendo's re-releases of the Pikmin games, it is somewhat disheartening to find that Little King's Story uses nothing beyond the buttons and stick of the remote and nunchuk. What is used works superbly in context; movement is fluid, recruiting is simple (if cumbersome in large numbers, until you gain an enhancement later on), and context-sensitive actions respond well, but it is a shame that aside from the excellent and clear visuals, some positive aspects of the Wii aren't utilized to their fullest.
One thing that becomes evidently clear right from the get-go is how full of character and spirit Little King's Story is, and not just from some impressive colourful graphical standpoint. Your character is the stereotypical silent-type protagonist, but everyone else has their own unique quirks and traits, with the individually named citizens acting out their lives independently when left alone. They'll go about their assigned jobs within the confines of their homes, place suggestion letters into the postbox for you to read later, and even meet and fall in love with one another - something that can be capitalized on later with the construction of a church. Even the UMA enemies and rival kings raise some laughs; you haven't lived until you've seen an alcoholic ruler challenge you to battle just to get everyone drunk. Much like the Fire Emblem series, each civilian, as well as the king, has their own health meter, rechargeable with a good kip. However, even when they die it isn't necessarily permanent, as there's a random chance that they'll wash up on the beach the next day (not you though; three hits and you're a goner).
Aside from the amusing gibberish speech and battle/worship one-liners of the townsfolk, Little King's Story has the musical backing of a classical soundtrack, with variations of 'Bollero' and 'Hanbanera' directly from a renowned composer of the Kingdom Hearts series. All help raise the majestic feeling the game exuberates, and provide some easy listening amidst the carnage of battle and the toils of adventuring.
Seeing Alpoko for the first time, you would be forgiven for thinking that the game offers a miniscule amount of scope and play time for its stated ambition, a notion strengthened by the five or so hours it takes to build up the kingdom to a respectable size. But after the map expands to half a dozen new gigantic rival kingdoms, and you gain new job classes to open access to new areas, those thoughts are quickly hushed. That's without mentioning the considerable challenge Little King's Story has. Fighting can sometimes be basic and straightforward, but everything depends on timing of fighter deployment and the number of them you currently have with you, so without sufficient planning and some necessary backtracking, you won't get anywhere.
Little King's Story can best be defined as a Jack of many trades but, unlike most others that attempt this persona, it masters them all. Without doubt one of the finest Wii games, if not a Wii showcase in itself.