|System: X360 (XBLA), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NinjaBee||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NinjaBee||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 1, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Who doesn't love building things? As children, most kids find entertainment building elaborate structures with blocks or LEGOs, but after the age of ten, it can be difficult to find something to satiate that seemingly-innate need to construct. Luckily, there are plenty of video games like LEGO: Battles and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King that allow you to build communities using both your creative building as well as managerial skills to build entire communities. A Kingdom for Keflings is another game that allows you to build a community. But instead of an omniscient, invisible entity or singular character, A Kingdom for Keflings allows you to become a giant!
If the name sounds familiar, it is probably because A Kingdom for Keflings was originally released in 2008 for the Xbox LIVE Arcade. If you have already played this game on the Xbox 360, then you can stop reading this review now, as the two are essentially the same (aside from controls, the lack of avatars, and one additional building). However, if you haven't played A Kingdom for Keflings, read on, because if you like construction sims, this is one title definitely worth checking out.
As far as a story goes, A Kingdom for Keflings doesn't really have one. The game lets you know that you are a giant, and you will be in charge of a petite race known as Keflings. The Keflings can't really do much on their own, but as a benevolent giant, you can teach them how to harvest and transport resources. At first, they will only be able to gather simple resources, like wood and stone, which can be used to build simple structures such as homes and a town hall. However, no good society is made up of just houses, and you will need to build structures like a Church and an Artist Plaza to feed your citizens' creative and spiritual needs.
But, of course, these advanced structures can't be built from just stone and wood. You'll have to send your Keflings to special trade schools and even a university to teach them the skills they need to harvest more complex resources quicker. Unfortunately, if you are thinking this sounds a little complicated, you'd be right. The game starts off deceptively simplistic, but keeping pace with 30+ Keflings with complex jobs can get really confusing. The game doesn't have a concrete way to keep track of the Keflings, and seeing Keflings wandering around aimlessly or piling up cotton at an overworked cloth factory it is an all-too common occurrence. The only way I found to keep track of all my little citizens was to keep the game in window mode and keep a notepad document open to record every time a new Kefling enters the Kingdom or takes on a job.
Still, even with the confusing job system, the actual construction element is a breeze. When Keflings drop elements off at specialty mills and factories, inventory builds up. Once you have sufficient inventory, you can construct building elements. Using blueprints (which are unlocked as the game progresses), you can arrange these elements in a certain pattern. Then just add a little love (aww ) and the building will spring to life. The game has a fairly linear construction path that you have to follow, and the game culminates with the construction of a castle. Once you pick a king from the tiny Kefling populous, the game is over.