Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Little King's Story (Wii) Review

Review for Little King

Beginning life as 'Project O', and revealed soon after the Wii's release, Little King's Story had an immense backing of talent right from the get-go. Skilled developers from games such as Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII banded together with Cing and Town Factory to create what would best be described as a title with a genre all to itself, a mix of strategy, simulation, RPG, and adventure. Impressive credentials for sure, so we need to ask: how does the end project hold up?

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.

Screenshot for Little King's Story on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Little King's Story on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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).

Screenshot for Little King's Story on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Little King's Story on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Digging up treasure, fighting bad guys, and developing your subjects' city never gets old, and proceedings are greatly aided by the superb, if non-Wii specific functionally, controls.

Graphics

Bright, cheery and stylized visuals make this a treat to behold in motion. Can become a bit too crowded in places when at the stage of a prospering kingdom, but never to the point of hindrance.

Sound

New takes on classical music back LKS superbly, and the voices add undeniable charm.

Value

Single-player focused, but a very lengthy game, with a healthy dollop of difficulty mixed in for good measure. Seeing your kingdom prosper is its own reward, but constant additions and new ideas introduced ensure constant play.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Little King's Story brings together a mix of game styles and genres, and blends them all perfectly. Some may lament on minor issues with the game like crowd control and the simple fighting mechanics, but the incredible spirit and flair LKS has shines through them. Untapped control potential lines this up nicely for a possible sequel, but as it stands Little King's Story is one of the greatest experiences you can find on your humble Wii.

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13.09.2009

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Developer

Cing

Publisher

Rising Star

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

EVERYONE should buy this game.

If c3 ever has a 10/10 game on it, this should be it's first contestant.

There's absolutely nothing about this game that is sloppy or lacking. The game does a brilliant job of not taking itself seriously, yet immerses you in the story like there's no tomorrow. I finished it a couple of days ago and it left me wanting even more. This game is incredible. Game of the year 2009 no question.

Staff Member

Tenner in Sainsburys people, I assure you that you won't regret it.


I finally got my hands on it and I couldn't agree more with erv and Phoenixus. This has almost revived the Wii for me and thats saying ALOT!!

Diablo II
"I'll make weapons from your bones!" - The Smith Paladin: I will cleanse this wilderness. Deckard Cain: Stay a while and listen!

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