Since I’m currently battling the flu, my gaming time has been significantly hampered due to copious amounts of coughing and general grogginess. So rather than a review, I thought I’d share my impressions of a rather delightful XBLA game whose ease of use and charming gameplay provided some therapy. A World of Keflings is the sequel to NinjaBee’s 2008 A Kingdom for Keflings though the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much, which is a very good thing indeed.
Your Avatar is plays the role of the usual disembodied hand found other god/city-building games and stands tall against the mini people known as Keflings in a world consisting of three different environments. You job is to help these small folk build a kingdom to be proud of with a castle finishing off its glory. To do this, you physically pick up the Keflings and place them on objects or materials in order to train them for specific tasks. For example, plop a Kefling onto a wooded area and the become lumberjacks, chopping down trees and transporting them to a main workshop where you can then use the wood to make additional objects. These objects can be pieced together using blueprints and eventually become houses or other such needed buildings. And that’s basically it. Simple, addictive and a far cry from the scrupulous micromanagement of a more hardcore city building game. Which is what really shines about A World of Keflings. You get sucked into the thinking of ‘just one more’ when building your towns and play times can last longer than originally intended. Before I knew it, I’d helped my Keflings turn a barren land with one or two settlements into a bustling hub of activity.
The differences from the first game, as I mentioned earlier are minor but duly welcomed. For a start you get helper Keflings that collect items you’ve constructed in the workshops and bring them to you. They can even finish off buildings for you as long as all the elements are sitting in the construction queue in the workshop. Such help speeds up the blossoming of a mini empire considerably as does the ability to now move buildings after they’ve been made, rather than having to destroy them and rebuild in a different location. You don’t need to play the first game in order to enjoy the second because of its intuitive gameplay. Walking a Kefling over the where you want it to be and work may add a few more steps in what could have been a point and click command but the charm it possess would have been lost. Just as it would if a crippling conflict or destructive natural disaster were to befall the kingdom. In this game, peace takes centre stage. No one dies, your buildings aren’t at risk from calamity and everyone seems happy. The only dealings I’ve had so far with a pest was to shoo away a dragon who merely sat on top of a building. And that was done by a simple press of the d-pad.
So from what I’ve played, A World of Keflings is a game aimed at family entertainment. It’s very easy to pick up and doesn’t pester you with countless tasks or indeed the necessity to worry about waring neighbours or conflict. And because of all that, I’m really enjoying it. I can build and explore without the need to invade or protect. Harmonious yes but not for everyone’s taste. If you prefer the call to arms then this may not be for you but I’d still recommend at least trying it, you may be pleasantly surprised and find A World of Keflings the ying to your otherwise military-focused yang. I’m definitely sticking with it, not just because it’s a soothing and relaxing game but because I feel duty bound to serve my king and build him the best castle he’s ever seen!