|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: Nov. 19, 2008||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|
The graphics in A Kingdom for Keflings can best be described as simplistic, although it isn't necessarily a bad thing here. There is only one game area, and when you walk around it before development, it is all very green. Once things get going though, the landscape does start to pick up, and the structures you build are nicely detailed. However, this is where some problems crop up too, unfortunately. As more characters and buildings start to fill the screen, the framerate drops very substantially, creating a lot of chug and shudder effects. But, for the most part, this title does look nice, as long as you can forgive some of the technical issues that plague the games second half.
Another area that could have used a little tweaking is the control. While the basic control scheme only really consists of picking things up with an action button and walking around with a thumbstick, much of the construction element of the game relies on being able to navigate through complex construction menus, which can be quite cumbersome and eat up valuable playtime. Although it is not a major gameplay hindrance, collapsible or shortcut menus would have greatly helped ease some of the menu-selection issues and made finding what you want a little bit easier.
As far as sound is concerned, Kingdom for Keflings can best be described as minimalist in this regard. The soundtrack consists of four acoustic-style tunes that change according to the season. The tunes are fairly nice, but they can become a little repetitive if you plan on playing for more than an hour. The sound effects are also a tad on the small side, with minor grunts and yells from the Keflings making up the majority of the noises you'll hear while playing. Although the sound elements in this game certainly aren't horrible, they just aren't that great either.
Overall, A Kingdom for Keflings is a delightful little title which combines the managerial aspects of games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King and the construction elements of MySims. The result is a nicely balanced game that is appealing to gamers of all sorts, and it finds several ways to distinguish itself from other downloadable titles. Although the use of the avatar isn't integral to the gameplay, it is definitely a nice touch and serves as yet another positive aspect of this game. If you are a fan of strategy or construction-style games you owe it to yourself to check this one out, as the addictive and fun gameplay will most certainly keep you coming back for more!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor