A World of Keflings Review
A World of Keflings is the sequel to A Kingdom of Keflings one of the first XBLA Games to add-in avatar support. On a related note, A Kingdom of Keflings also has made its way to the PC semi-recently, but–obviously–without the avatar support.
The game, World of Keflings, starts off with you freeing yourself from an iceberg along with a few keflings. You are then introduced to kefskimos, one of three different races of harvesters from three different lands. Early on, you gather resources on your own by harvesting with the A button–grabbing the harvested resources and placing them in a store so keflings can make building materials to build more buildings for your civilization.
The many faces of A World of Keflings
If this sounds tedious to you, it is. This is where the keflings come in to harvest and move resources to the store for you. Keflings are simple minded folk so you’ll need one to harvest and one to move finished product form point (a) to point (b). You’ll also need to teach them. You do this by grabbing a kefling and placing them either in the resource to be harvested or the drop-off points for moving items, and clicking on them with the kefling in hand. If you don’t like your keflings you can’t go all Black & White on them, but you can give them a quick swift kick in the pants with the X button. Later on, you will need buildings that process some of your harvest into a more refined supply, such as: sand into glass; or a making larger supply of glass into a smaller supply of painted glass. As you grow your civilization, you’ll need more keflings to do the work required. To get more keflings, you must build houses and larger buildings (like schools), but these require a little something special; Love. This comes in the form of hearts, which are needed to grow your kefling population. Special hearts such as “Country Love” or “Burning Love” make for a larger amount of people at one time.
The goals of the game compared to its predecessor are much better explained and focused. In the first game all you would do is harvest and build buildings, whereas this sequel actually has a fairly well-crafted story. You will talk to certain special keflings like the king and the princess, and other crazy ones like a robot. It definitely has an Animaniacs)(or, for a more game-like example, Banjo-Kazooie) style of writing. WoK gets the point across for younger folk, but adults can pick up on a lot of the flavor of the writing. For example a Witch Kefling quest called “The First One’s Free” gives you a potion for free, but additional potions will cost you more, obviously has many jokes that a younger person mightn’t and probably shouldn’t understand.
This said, the cutscenes’ writing doesn’t leave anything to be desired. The graphics, unfortunately, do. They’re not all terrible; for example, WoK has some of greatest avatar support I have seen on the 360. Also, when the game is playing, it definitely moves along smoothly. But I do have one problem in the cutscenes: the programmers used very small polygonal models of the keflings, which are basically blown up so you can see their faces. The game looks otherwise wonderful, but looking at the keflings’ jagged edges will make you do a second take.
All three Worlds (Ice Kingdom, Regular Kingdom, and an Arabian Nights Kingdom) have different landscapes. None that are gigantic, but enough space to finish all goals and achievements. The Regular Kingdom definitely takes up the most of your time, and with missions it feels a little unbalanced compared to the other two Kingdoms.
World of Keflings has two-player in-person co-op. It is similar to the Lego games where when you separate far enough the game goes split-screen. It additionally has four-player online co-op for the entire game. It isn’t as needed this time around, because now you have many mini-kefling builders that you acquire as you progress who will carry building supplies for you, instead of being in a single player game and repeatedly having to go back to the store for each piece of a house. Still, if you have four people, it should cut down the length game significantly due to the fact that more can be done quickly. It also helps to have the voice chat on, to have something to listen to other than the in-game music.
Speaking of the in-game music: my main problem is there were about 20 minutes of tracks repeating for my 10 hour experience. It is very upbeat music, but even that can’t save its limited appeal… and I found myself reaching for my iTunes library fairly soon into the game.
The Builders help you well… Build
One of the coolest aspects of World of Keflings is that it is the only civilization with literally no loss of life due to violence. Even Sim City had Godzilla or Bowser but not here; everything is safe. The only worry I ever had was shooing a dragon with an emote. Emotes are also much improved from the original Kingdom of Keflings. Basically, by using the 360 D-pad, your giant can interact with the keflings by calling as many as possible into the general vicinity or getting your groove thing on with a plethora of dance moves. You may also unlock emotes by owning previous NinjaBee games, such as the stretching from Cloning Clyde.
By owning Raskulls or ilomilo you can get houses for them and have the characters populate your kingdom. For some reason, I enjoyed kicking these guys the most. Beyond that there are tons of secrets in the game. The best things were the cannons from which you could shoot keflings to get cool tunes! Check out YouTube for tons of your favorite hits played by keflings… if the game catches on it could be the next Mario Paint
Overall, I must say that I initially wrote A World of Keflings off during my first brief playthrough. However, as I got more experience with it, I realized that it does so much more than its predecessor Kingdom, and refines the basics of the original to something that can played with or without friends with enjoyment from both.
This review is based on a final version of the game given to me as a code from NinjaBee for the Reviewcast.com.
Special thank you to Swoopes for playing co-op and giving me information on A Kingdom of Keflings
Special thank you to Crimson and Tallchick for helping me editing this review.