When you look over the wall of Wii games at any game store, you can’t help but notice how childish and “casual” the collage of games looks.
Unfortunately, a lot of the Wii’s reputation for being a ‘kiddy’ console comes from the abundance of low quality, third-party titles for the system. Not to say all of them are low quality: third-party titles like DK Country Returns, World of Goo, or Xenoblade Chronicles all achieved notoriety as some of the Wii’s best games; but all the meanwhile, games like Little King’s Story fell through the cracks.
I first came across Little King’s Story on a message board thread on GoNintendo.com, a site to which I was, at that point, a regular member. The thread used the term “LKS” instead of “Little King’s Story,” and for the longest time, I was simply too lazy to click on the thread and find out what the acronym meant (the same science behind why the game didn’t sell well).
Finally, summer boredom got the best of me and I read over the thread to find out what this “LKS” was. And to my delight, I saw posts about a game with the gameplay of Pikmin and Civilization, but the charm and runtime of a Zelda game.
Coincidentally, Little King’s Story was slated to come out about a week before my birthday. So suddenly, I had a found a game that would not only be free, but would also cure the repetition of July afternoons in my attic playing hours of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Fastforward a bit amd I was presented the gift of Little King’s Story. Shortly thereafter, I was also presented with the question of “why does it look like it’s for 6-year-olds?” The cover-art was, in fact, comically childish. It appeared to be a game that strived to blend in with, not stand out from, the wall of games at GameStop.
So why did it look like a game intended for elementary schoolers? Well, I didn’t have an answer for that, but I definitely had a reason to justify buying it.
Little King’s Story is a real-time-strategy game developed by Cing and published by Xseed for only the Wii. In it you assume the role of Corobo, a boy who comes across a crown while playing outside, puts it on, and is soon appointed king of “Alpoko.” While your domain initially might as well be a cluster of outhouses, you use the crown and the hard work of your townspeople to build your town into a kingdom. Yet, as you expand, you start to step on a few bordering toes, and soon enough you have a quest to unify the six neighboring kingdoms into your control.
In this way, Little King’s Story is like Animal Crossing on steroids. You go on quests of your choice to expand your kingdom, make more money, and make your shack into a castle. After a while, you have specialized workers in your kingdom: farmers, hunters, carpenters and many more, all of which the quests utilize.
At the game’s start you’ll be embarking on simple gathering quests with an entourage of about four or five, and by the game’s end you’ll be leading an army of soldiers, farmers, archers and all sorts of workers in order to be prepared for whatever the wilderness has to bring.
The game’s only glaring faults are in its controls, which could have used some revision (some IR motion controls perhaps). But overall the controls are not game-breaking , they simply could have been better. The map could have easily been improved as well, but again, it’s only a minor frustration.
Even with your town’s rapid expansion in population and size, the townspeople still remain full, living characters. They have their own names, families and homes within your kingdom. They marry in your church, and, if your not careful, can be buried in its graveyard.
On that note, the townspeople can also display the game’s hilarious sense of humor.
In a game that appears juvenile, you have your own mistresses—one being Princess Apricot (no parallels there, right?)—and the script goes out of its way to suggest the sexual nature of your relationship with them. Townspeople in my game said to me “Princess Apricot is great. She licked my lollipop.”
When I talked to him again to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, the townsperson only repeated “She licked my lollipop…”
Despite its charm, Little King’s Story is an unmistakably mature game. It draws parallels to the faults of monarchy. For example, one of the neighboring kings is a stumbling drunk, another one is a coward who hides behind the protection of his armies. There are religious fanatics and doom-sayers in your kingdom and you can tax your townspeople heavily, but only for a loss in morale and, consequently, a hightened difficulty.
Little King’s Story shows that while some games are themselves “mature”, only a select few require the player to be mature, too.
Why You Should Play It
Little King’s Story is a gem on a console where gems are, well, relatively hard to come by. The sole reason I bought a Wii was for the first-party games like Metroid or Zelda, but I can also confidently say that this game provides nearly as much fun, replay value and quality as most first-party Nintendo games.
Play it for how it blends multiple genres into a well-polished, well-written, and fun game. It has the gameplay of Pikmin, the charm and atmosphere of Animal Crossing and the adventure of Zelda, and combines it all with deep gameplay, humor, and its casual appeal. Perhaps most impressive of all, Little King’s Story blends the best the Wii has to offer while still being entirely original.
And yet one of Little King’s Story‘s best qualities is what kept it from selling.
It appears to be one of the countless ‘kiddy’ games for Wii, but is truly a mature game under the adorable guise of a child’s videogame. This, coupled with a sheer lack of marketing, kept Little King’s Story from selling well, and from gaining notoriety as the quality game it is.