A Kingdom for Keflings makes its way from the land of the Xbox to the PC platform. But is the transition a success? (PC)
One of the surprise hits of the Xbox Live Arcade was a little title called A Kingdom for Keflings. The premise was simple, you are a giant and your job is to help the little Kefling people build a society. But unlike similar titles like Black and White were you could use your power to cause grief and pain for your tiny people, A Kingdom for Keflings focuses on creating a relaxing and purely enjoyable experience.
A word that gets thrown around a lot these days is the idea of Zen gaming. The premise is that the game is meant to zone you out, relax you, and not push you to get another headshot. A Kingdom for Keflings falls perfectly into this idea. While there is always some newer and bigger project to do in the game it never makes you feel like you're going too slow. The game gently pushes you, but just hard enough so that you feel like you have a purpose.
One of the many giants to choose from.
A mess only a giant could love!
It was a nice change of pace from the experiences that are found in the more fast paced strategy games like Starcraft 2. A Kingdom for Keflings has no war and you never have to worry about enemies because it's all about the joy of building and caring for the cute little guys as they go about their lives.
One of the best aspects of the title that helps it achieve these goals are the visuals and audio. The visuals are far more toned down then your normal full retail package title but the game oozes so much charm that you can't help but smile as you move around your growing world. Even more effective is the audio, a lullaby of very energetic and upbeat scores make it nearly impossible to not put you in a good mood.
Putting you in a good mood seems to be the greatest effect the game has on you. Everything from the looks to the gameplay seem designed to take the stress out of gaming and just let you enjoy your time with your Keflings. Nothing is ever telling you your doing something incorrectly or that you only have so much time left, you are there to have fun with little people and that is it!
The game is also built to be one you play in bite sizes. It's perfect when you're just looking to burn 20 minutes and don't want to invest in anything major. You just hop on, have your fill, and then get off. The strange thing is though, that once you get off it doesn't take long for you to start itching for another session with the Keflings.
The Keflings come in many looks.
Will you have the skills to get the castle?
The gameplay itself is split into two major aspects. The bigger of the two is the building and managing part of the game. This of course comes to no surprise to anyone since the goal of the title is to build a Kingdom for the Keflings with your giant. However there is another aspect of the game that's just as enjoyable.
I believe the best way to name it would be to call it the social aspect of the game that occurs between the Keflings and your giant. The bits where you carry your Keflings around, dress them with different hats, and even kick them from time to time. This also extends to the buildings themselves, you can paint and decorate them in a number of fashions so your Kingdom looks exactly the way you want.
Another interesting element of the title is that while Kingdom for Keflings looks like a strategy game, you will find that it actually lines up more with a puzzler instead. While there are of course elements that make it seem like a strategy game, such as choosing what your Keflings roles will be and where to place the buildings, but the meat of the game is a puzzle.
This stems from the fact that as the buildings become more elaborate, creating them becomes a more complicated task. The puzzle aspect is to figure out what you need and how to get it so that you can mash it all together and build the building. Sometimes buildings will need lumber, so you will need to cut down trees to get wood AND build a lumber mill so you can saw the wood down into lumber. Its these aspects of the gameplay that are more akin to a puzzler then a strategy game.
A Winter Wonderland if I ever saw one!
One thing you won't be seeing in the PC version.
A Kingdom For Keflings isn't without its problems though. Selecting where to move and how and what to interact with can be more troublesome then it should be considering the game is played with a mouse. It's very clear that the game was originally designed with the controller in mind as you may find yourself moving your giant around in circles as you attempt to pick something up or put something down. Also with the move to PC your unable to choose your LIVE avatar as your giant, instead you must choose one of the stock characters.
However these minor blemishes do not take away from the overall quality of the game. If you're in the market to pick up a smaller scale title that you know you'll be able to just have pure fun with then A Kingdom For Keflings is for you. Its bubbly presentation and stress free gameplay creates a welcomed change of pace that can appeal to just about anyone.
A KINGDOM FOR KEFLINGS VERDICT
However these minor blemishes do not take away from the overall quality of the game. If you’re in the market to pick up a smaller scale title that you know you’ll be able to just have pure fun with then A Kingdom For Keflings is for you. Its bubbly presentation and stress free gameplay creates a welcomed change of pace that can appeal to just about anyone.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Kicking the little Keflings around with a giant never gets old!