A Kingdom for Keflings is a simulation/building Xbox Live Arcade title that gives you god like powers over a population of Keflings. In the skin of your Xbox Live Avatar you will tower over the little townsfolk of Keflings and build a successful and thriving city.
Expert Xbox Live Arcade developer Ninja Bee returns to the Arcade with another unique offering in 'A Kingdom for Keflings.' Following a number of successful Xbox Live titles like 'Cloning Clyde' and 'Outpost Kaloki X,' Ninja Bee keeps their high standards of quality delivering another highly addictive Xbox Live Arcade title. The first thing that you should know about Keflings is that the game supports the new Xbox Live Avatars. This means you can rule over your virtual kingdom with your online persona! If you don't want to use your avatar Ninja Bee has a few substitutes, but that's not nearly as cool.
The gameplay in Keflings comes off like a cross between a strategy and simulation game. The task you are given in Keflings is to become the general contractor for the population of Keflings. The trick here is that you’re a giant that stands well above the structures and population of Keflings in the game. You are the crane that carries building components around the land and builds each structure with your bare hands alone. For the Keflings they are not totally useless. You have a direct hand in moving them around to help you harvest resources and determine how the community grows. The object of the game is to build a thriving town complete with working factories, lumber mills, keeps, and more. Keflings falls into the unusual category of straight ahead stress free simulation which is a breathe of fresh air.
Micro-management is your biggest concern in A Kingdom for Keflings. With no bad guys, or elements trying to undue your magic, it’s stress-free building without worries, well except micro-manament. The flow of people can get rather complex as you will need to set up multiple shops to recycle the harvested goods into different material. For resources you will be looking at four distinct items; wool off the backs of sheep, lumber, stone, and precious gems. These four basic items can be turned into multiple things like stone to slate slabs to brick. Each item will need to be transmigrated a few times by the end of the game making spacing and management key to running an organized kingdom.
This system of micro-management falls deeper with the building of specialized buildings like schools, or extra trade shops to help your Keflings perform. Certain education levels will be needed to activate some buildings, so a good common ground is to build everything. Again, there are no timers ticking away at the player so you don’t have to worry about any time restrictions. Blueprints are needed before you can make new structures which become available when you complete a mini-challenge, build a new building, or find some loot on the map. The tech-tree branches out with the basics to the more advanced structures that will make you pool your resources from a number of difference sources.
Multiplayer has also been slapped into Keflings that lets four gamers join in the same sim-styled game. This casual multiplayer game is a fresh change from most of the other games on live and might attract a different audience. Although I have to say, I found it a little odd to be playing a multiplayer game without competition against each other. This feel good contracting light experience is a lot of fun, online or offline. Too bad Ninja Bee didn’t add in local multiplayer because this would have been the perfect game to wheel non-gamers into the mix.
Controlling your avatar through the swarms of little Keflings is simple to do with a one-button mentality applied to running the whole show. Picking up Keflings is done with the click of the button and commanding them to do an action continues in the same vein. The only thing you will need to watch is bunching them up too much because it can get a little hectic. Your loyal servants never put up a fight and work non-stop through any conditions, that being harsh winters, abuse from a giant, or carrying heavy loads.
Keflings plays out in 3D with a nice aesthetic cartoonish look. The colours are vibrant and range from rustic reds all the way up to pinks and lush greens. The animations are limited, but good enough to get the point across. If you are cruel you can kick around the Keflings and watch them shake off the airtime, or enjoy the squirming arms as you lift them in the air to transport them around the map. Keflings has a certain amount of charm which quotes can be sifted towards the graphics department.
The sound is guitar driven in the jazz/classical vein with a few numbers that hit the rotation. Each track suits the gameplay in this laid back affair. Even with the low-key graphics and sound Keflings hits a few moments of lag. This usually happens when the game loads a new song, or the weather effects change in the game. The weather effects go with the four seasons which is a nice graphics touch. It’s just too bad the game has trouble running everything at full spec. Keflings could have used a little more attention to the other sounds in the game. Even a little sim-ish chatter would have done the trick and made a difference in this mousy sounding game. As a whole you can’t really bicker too much about this minor issues because those little Keflings are just so damn cute.
'A Kingdom for Keflings' might seem a little repetitive and pointless, and it is on some basic level, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. This original sim-styled game is a great stress reliever, and a fun casual game to enjoy. I found myself being highly addicted during my town building which stretched into the wee hours of the night with the motto “just one more piece”. Keflings isn't a deep as a game like 'Settlers,' or as god-like as 'Black & White,' but it is one addictive building simulation that will put a smile on your face. For 800MS points, the Kefling kingdom is worth a visit.
Final Score: 8.6
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 12.18.08
- New light on an old concept
- No pressure, stress reliving gameplay
- Co-operative city-building multiplayer
- Interesting transmigration micro-management
- Simple to play, fun for "E"veryone
- Downloadable content on its way
- Repetitive and pointless to certain degree
- No opponents or problems to overcome
- Blueprint navigation is awkward
- Shhhh... these Keflings are a little too quiet.
Similar Games: Ancients of Ooga (7.5) | Cloning Clyde (9.0)