By: Brian Gunn
Little King’s Story is a game that made a name for itself on the Wii. It was a charming little game, part town management, part strategy, and it quietly gained a cult following. Since then its reputation has faded a bit, with a questionable port to the Vita a few years ago that changed the art style. The original is mostly intact on this newest version for the PC, though it has its share of woes.
Little King’s Story is a game of simple controls, to the point it arguably hurts the game a bit. Some actions are laborious, such as dismissing a specific recruit, or the constant need to shuffle your order when dealing with a combat scenario. Further exacerbating things are issues like terrible path finding for your minions that will see them get stuck on various objects, particularly stairs.
Still, the basics of recruiting a citizen and tell them to go dig a hole, fell a tree, or smash an enemy is pretty fun when it comes down to it.
This is an adaptation of a Wii game, and one that wasn’t particularly noteworthy for its appearance in the first place. There’s some charm to be found in the storybook art style, but there’s generally a lot of glaring issues visually.
Bloom and oversaturated colors dominate and environments are often bland. A 60 FPS option is offered, but it is one that’s not recommended as it essentially makes the animations run at double speed and look fairly silly.
Sound proves to be another issue. It only appears to work correctly in stereo, so those with 5.1 or better systems will find the sound cutting out intermittently. Once that’s solved, what’s there is rather dull. It has a typical fairytale-styled soundtrack with lots of pleasant but generic adventuring tunes. There is some personality delivered in the game’s gibberish voices for everyone, though.
Little King’s Story follows a young child that’s been told he’s the new king of a mysterious land. With your three trusty advisers, you’ll begin a plan of world domination, err, unification. The kingdom starts off pretty tiny and ratty, with some basic farmers and guards as jobs for your useless unemployed citizens. Eventually you’ll expand all over the map with access to much more specialized classes.
The main action of the game is exploring with a gaggle of your citizens trailing behind you. You’ll find loads of holes to dig up, treasure to haul back to town, and enemies to defeat. Interacting with all of these things is roughly the same; point at it, then press a button and your citizens will run to it and provide the context-sensitive action.
Now, obviously some citizens will be better suited to each task. A guard or hunter will do well when sent to attack an enemy, whereas a carpenter is needed to build staircases to new areas.
Things start off simple enough, and the first few hours are where the game shines. As your squad size balloons and the unit types get more specific, things end up feeling routine. There’s little reason to take more than one of certain classes at a time, with a large amount of units needing to be devoted to combat.
Combat itself is dead simple, with only a little variety. Send your units to attack, make them retreat when the enemy is doing its telegraphed super-move that would hurt your crew. Rinse and repeat.
Things often feel kind of tedious. For instance, there’s no easy way to just send the combat troops at an enemy and keep your farmers or merchants at your side. You’ll need to constantly send the troops out, retreat them during an attack and then rearrange your party order so the front is filled with your combat characters again.
The game could also use some more town management elements. You simply need to just build new buildings, and you’ll frequently have tons of extra citizens — but they don’t appear to do anything when not in your posse besides hang around. I’d have loved if having extra farmers meant there was more income and so on.
Little King’s Story is a solid game that hasn’t been shown in the best light with this recent port. It has several technical issues and some elements of its design are fairly dated. That being said, there’s still charm to be found here, especially in the first few hours of the game.