Back in 2009 the Nintendo Wii got a very curious game added to its library in the form of Little King’s Story. Despite containing the cutesy visual style that fits right at home on the console, the gameplay on hand was a mixture of the town management and RTS genres that was definitely in a league of its own. Seven years later and that same game has now been brought over to PC, and while the game is definitely showing its age it can still deliver the goods when it needs to.
The premise of Little King’s Story is very simple, as you’re essentially a young king that finds himself in the position of laying down the law of the land. Your trusty subordinates will bend to your every whim, and your ultimate goal is to essentially expand your kingdom until it’s the biggest and greatest it can be. You start off with very little in the way of money or a crew in order to be able to accomplish that, but you slowly improve the kingdom day by day and gradually see your influence expand throughout the game’s world.
A typical game session will have you wandering around your town as the little king and forcefully hiring people into your group in order to perform actions for you. At first you’ll have characters that are only able to dig holes, but as you gain money from exploring the land and completing quests you’ll be able to create buildings that allow them to become a variety of different professions. You’ll have characters that can build bridges, chop logs, attack enemies and much more, which requires you to do a little thinking regarding the types of characters you’ll need to bring out on your adventures.
The control scheme for all of this is very basic, as you essentially point your squad at your object and launch them into it in order for them to do what they need to do. The characters that are more skilled at their respective tasks will get the job done quicker, though the controls can be very finicky. If you’re off target by even a little then your squad will go zooming past and probably take some damage during battle, and if you’re squad is a mixture of multiple professions then you’ll inevitably end up sending out characters to do tasks they are inefficient at. There were opportunities to improve the controls from the Wii version here, but those opportunities were not capitalized on.
The gameplay is addictive, but is occasionally stilted by its wonky controls
Outside of the game’s wonky controls, the moment-to-moment gameplay can get addicting as you start to wrap your head around what you need to do. As you learn all of the characters proficiencies and what they are capable of doing, taking them out on an adventure into the unknown to see what you can uncover is a lot of fun. Sending out a small army of characters to take down enemies and then grabbing the spoils to improve your world is a very addictive system, and the increasingly varied characters ensures that progression through the adventure never gets stale.
One of the game’s original highlights was its charm, and that is something that hasn’t lost any of its punch with this HD remaster. The adorable characters mixed with the vibrant visual style is a delight for the eyes, and the game’s musical score (despite using real-life orchestrations rather than an original score) gives everything a whimsical and carefree vibe that makes each play session feel very relaxed. There’s some challenges to be had later on in the game that are a little more demanding, but most of the time things are pretty laid back.
The characters themselves are definitely the standouts in the game, as the dialogue is surprisingly witty and self-aware. The scenario that your character finds himself in is pretty ridiculous, and the characters that you interact with along the way deliver plenty of golden nuggets of dialogue that keep everything feeling very silly. You’ll often get mail from citizens of your kingdom as a kind of feedback system, and many times they’ll both praise and insult you at the same time. The game’s cutesy characters and animations wouldn’t necessarily be a flashing signal that the accompanying dialogue would be anything more than fluff, but that’s one of the game’s surprises that keeps things interesting.
While the game runs well enough on PC compared to the Wii version, it’s hard to not notice that the visuals are definitely showing their age. The game originally came out in 2009 and despite the best efforts to make it shine on PC, the game’s world just doesn’t leave a great impression in the visual department anymore. It certainly isn’t bad looking by any means, but compared to other HD remasters of this kind it definitely isn’t one of the most amazing efforts.
If you’ve never played Little King’s Story before and don’t have access to a Wii, then picking up this new remastered PC version is definitely recommended. The same interesting gameplay (warts and all) works perfectly fine here, and the adventure is certainly worth taking again. However, not much has been added or altered outside of the obvious control differences, meaning that there’s not much of a reason for owners of the Wii version to consider upgrading to this one.
Little King's Story
- Available On: PC
- Published By: XSEED Games, Marvelous USA, Inc.
- Developed By: Marvelous, Inc.
- Genre: RPG, Simulation, Strategy
- US Release Date: August 5th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "If you've never played Little King's Story before and don't have access to a Wii, then picking up this new remastered PC version is definitely recommended. However, not much has been added or altered to really entice owners of the Wii version to consider upgrading to this one."
- Charming characters
- Interesting mechanics
- Addictive gameplay
- Dated graphics
- Wonky controls