Little King’s Story

The Nintendo Flat! Ex Square Enix Final Fantasy developers! My first sneak preview for Ready Up! Five o’clock in the frakkin’ morning. Well, there’s a cloud for every silver lining.

Not many things can ever get me up that early normally, apart from maybe when I smack my head against the wall whilst asleep or one of my canvases falls down on me in the night. BUT NO! This was pure excitement of the gaming kind. Excitement that remains untarnished when the trains from Oxford to London are cancelled. Excitement undiminished by a two hour coach journey! Excitement unfettered when neither I nor my friend Susan could find the blinkin’ Nintendo flat. My newly dyed purple hair and I were charged with the kind of excitement that cannot, and should not be contained.

The ‘Nintendo flat’ was very well hidden. Even the combined might of Google Maps, the iPhone and some kindly solicitors we harassed didn’t know where it was, luckily one of the Rising Star Games guys was outside waiting to find me. I think he knew we would never find the place.

From the outside, the Nintendo flat just looks like any old London flat. Just like from the outside Shigeru Miyamoto looks like a regular man, rather than a god. The inside of the flat was very fresh looking and Wii inspired with the wall colour and décor. The living room had not one, not two but – wait for it – three flat screen TVs on the main wall; an array of shells and coral placed on the shelves above them and there was a cheeky Bongo nestled amongst the aquatic treasures. This whole set up is most famously used in the Nintendo TV adverts, with celebrities playing games on the Nintendo Wii and DS, but who cares about the fact I sat in the same butt groove as Louise Redknapp when I discovered a Bongo hidden amongst shellfish!

There was a kitchen, where I was made a lovely cup of coffee, I never ventured in there, as kitchens are strange and unexplored territories for me. There were two bedrooms, a girls’ bedroom and a boys’ bedroom. The boys’ bedroom was far superior than the girls’ room, as there were lots of large painted canvases of Mario and friends, toy cars, various manly action figures and Star Wars related gems. Just like home. While the girls’ room was – perhaps unsurprisingly – very girly, with one of those circular beds in it, it contained too much Hello Kitty and everything in it was so pink; everyone glowed like Kirby. So it wasn’t all bad.

Lovely though the flat was, This is where the story really begins, where I get the pleasure of playing ‘Little King’s Story’, in Louise Redknapp’s (or was it Fearne Cotton’s?) butt groove. With my cup of coffee on the table and a Wiimote and Nunchuck in my hands. I got down to business. I got to play a fully playable, nearly finished version of ‘Little King’s Story’ – a couple of minor bug fixes away from being complete for its release date which debuts in Europe first on the 24th of April, a rare occurrence for a western conversion of a Japanese RPG title.

You make be shocked to find that in ‘Little King’s Story’, you play as a King – a little King – and your goal is to rule over your townspeople, build nice new buildings, dig up treasure, fight evil turnip monsters, go on quests and just generally be a nice chap and look after everyone in your town. But as you are king, you don’t want your robes scuffed, so you hire townspeople to do all the hard labour for you – to keep them in their place and to keep your robes velvety and intact.

This game with its sweet and colourful ‘fairy tale’ exterior is brutal and pretty tough in parts, and it was at this point I realised that I would never make a good king – magnificent bosoms aside. My army was going down, at the webbed hands of an oversized amphibian. If, unlike me, you want to take the more cautious and ’kingly’ approach then you can retreat, heal your army, give them a quick pat on the back and off they go. But if you’re like me, and enjoy a good battle but won’t admit you’re doing badly at it, your army will get older the more damage they take, until they end up looking old, withered and grey haired, eventually resembling the guy who drinks from the wrong Holy Grail in the last Indy movie (I know what I said – I don’t count ‘The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ as an Indy movie). If the King takes damage, he doesn’t get older, but he does start to grow an epic beard and you know you’re doing badly when you have a full on grey bush growing from your chin.

(Warning, cheesy pun approaching) At this time the King was also worrying about his receding ‘heir line’. To cure the rapid aging and near death, you can go and throw yourself and your faithful troops into the ‘fountain of youth’ for an even more instant effect than ‘Botox’ could ever achieve. (Warning, cheesier pun approaching) Keep your town and army happy, so you won’t have any ‘sleepless knights’.

This game was created by a few game designing gods of the industry, whose portfolios consist of Harvest Moon, No More Heroes, Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy XII. The game left a lasting impression on me. From a developer’s point of view, the game design is second to none. The camera positioning for example, which can so often ruin a game, was implemented perfectly. It’s a unique approach within the genre and the story and dialogue actually had me laughing. Lots. It has a beautiful and unique art style, with typical Japanese style cutesy characters yet somehow there remains a happy medium between cute and ‘manly’ at the same time.

It’s a simple game and yet it has a lot of depth to it. It manages to perform the delicate trick of catering perfectly for the hardcore whilst not alienating the casual gamer. It is definitely one game that is on my ‘to get’ list and, luckily, none of us have to wait that long to get it. Basically, if mentioning ‘Harvest Moon, No More Heroes, Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy XII’ made you go ‘oooh’, you need to get this game. If you didn’t go ‘ooh’ at any of those games, then you still need to get ‘Little King Story’… and Harvest Moon, No More Heroes, Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy XII.

As well as leaving an impression on me, I think I also left a lasting impression on the Rising Star Games representatives. Looking through some of the photos taken on the day just shows the amount of fun I had at the ‘Nintendo flat’ and we even left on a high note as myself and best chum Susan have agreed to Cosplay for them as a character from the game at this May’s London MCM Expo! At the moment, it’s a toss up between an archer or a mage. And even if I just end up loitering around the Little King’s Story stand, saying, “Sup, I’m Fran from Ready Up” that alone is a ‘crowning achievement…’ (and that’s the cheesiest pun in all the Little Kingdom).

So in short, ‘Little King’s Story’ is a #@*king good game.


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6 responses to “Little King’s Story”

  1. Tony avatar
    Tony

    Surely that last line should be:

    Little King’s Story is a f’King good game

    ?

    Taxi!

  2. Barry avatar
    Barry

    Looks like it will be a little similar to Pikmin.

    Puntastic!

  3. Jake avatar

    I love this game already. I have since I first saw it running months ago. You know how jealous I was of this trip!

  4. MrCuddleswick avatar
    MrCuddleswick

    The flat sounds cool and the game sounds cute, and you made me want to play it, despite the fact there are no chainsaws (i assume).

  5. Lorna avatar
    Lorna

    Yeah, looks like a cross between Pikmin, Animal Crossing and a paintbox 🙂

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