Little King’s Story was one of the more adorable titles to come out for Nintendo’s Wii back in 2009. Putting you in the role of a young king, your job was to rebuild your kingdom and defeat monsters to expand your dominion. Three years later, Konami has released an updated version of the original, bringing back familiar features and mixing them with new elements suitable for the PS Vita, letting more players experience the magic that comes with ruling a kingdom.
Published by: Konami
Genre: RPG, Real-Time Strategy
Platform: PlayStation Vita
What works: Smooth graphics, diverse missions, charming presentation
What doesn’t work: Technical issues, framerate drops, unreliable controls
New Little King’s Story tells the tale of the young King Corobo, who has been forced to flee his kingdom after a surprise ambush. Starting over from scratch, he and his small group of attendants must rebuild their forces and expand their kingdom. In order to do so, however, he and his army must venture out to defeat enemies who rule over these areas and gather up enough resources to afford the cost of rebuilding their villages.
Joining you on your adventure is a group of villagers that can be scouted to join your party and will follow Corobo ready for action. At the touch of a button, you can have your guards charge forward to attack enemies, enter buildings, or perform unique actions dependent on their jobs, which opens up new areas to explore and adds a touch of strategy to the gameplay. Farmers, for example, are the only ones that can dig cracks on the floor and only miners can destroy giant rocks blocking your way. Organizing your various followers can be cumbersome though, especially since there is no easy method to rallying them up quickly. Instead, you need to have villagers line up in front of your castle and scout them again each day. Easily scouting them from your list of citizens would have been easier.
Battles simply require you face enemies and have your guards charge onto them, which causes them to pummel their targets until you give the word for them to retreat. Though Corobo can also attack with his sword, he doesn’t have much health, so the guards are both a means of offense and defense during missions. While deploying them simply requires you to press a button, the game’s unreliable controls will sometimes had us missing our targets simply because our aiming was off by a few inches. You can also use the Vita’s touchscreen controls to tap your targets, but inputs still depend on the space between you and an enemy. In fact, we found instances that, even with plenty of space between us, our guards still didn’t do what they had to do.
As you play through the game, quests will become available that will mostly require you to defeat monsters to reclaim your land, but there is also a civilization-building component that truly makes battling and acquiring money worth every minute. While you won’t have direct control over the look of your kingdom, more money means you can buy residential buildings to increase the population, job facilities to gain more advanced jobs for your villagers, and various upgrades to assist you in battle. Your environment will change after you successfully clear an area, and you’ll literally see your villages come alive the more you build.
Its updated graphics also means you’ll be able to appreciate all these expansions even more. Cutscenes still consist of static-graphic conversations, but the chibi-styled characters and animated environments look smoother and softer on the Vita. Unfortunately, as we got more and more guards to follow Corobo on missions, there were times when the game’s framerate would significantly drop, especially as we walked through heavily populated areas. Some of our followers would even disappear from view next to surfaces making keeping track of them difficult at times.
Those who played the original Wii game might not be getting a completely new game with New Little King’s Story, but for those who have yet to play it, the Vita version offers up a robust package. While the game may have technical and control-based problems that will come up from time to time, these flaws don’t take away too much from the overall experience. New Little King’s Story has enough charm and unique elements to keep you coming back for more and will make you wish ruling a kingdom was this much fun.