It seems like more and more lately, developers are taking risks with the Wii and creating titles that can't merely be labelled as shovel-ware with waggle appeal. Games like de Blob, Madworld and now Little King's Story are leading the pack in being unique, creative and perhaps more importantly: a whole lot of fun. So what happens when a young boy running through the forest stumbles upon a crown and places it on his head? Why, he's crowned as King, of course, and it's up to you as the smallest King in existence to build up your society so that it may thrive and develop into a great city (with a slight hint of world domination thrown in for good measure, perhaps...).
Little King's Story is, at its core, best described as a strategy title. There are certainly adventurous elements as you explore the many different terrains, as well as some life sim elements too. In fact, Little King's Story is tough to categorize into one genre, as it tries to tackle so many things; what's very important to note here is that based on what we've played of the game, it tackles these things quite successfully, offering you a lot of different things to do without being too complicated, or at the same time too restricted.
Let's try and explain: you start off the game with not much to your name. There's no money in the town and nothing really going on; civilians skip around without anything to do, there are no jobs available, and it's up to you as the newly appointed King to do something about it. As King, it's certainly not your place to get your hands dirty, so you'll have to go around and recruit townspeople to do jobs for you, which start off as simply as searching for treasure so that you can begin your economy. The nunchuk moves the king while the Wii remote is your scepter, and recruiting people to follow you around and then directing them to do jobs for you is as easy as point and click.
Once you've got some financial backing, you're able to create job houses so that you can initially employ townspeople as farmers or soldiers, the latter coming in handy for when you begin to explore areas outside of the town. You can direct any type of towns person to do anything really, but they are limited in some areas, of course; farmers aren't very strong in combat and soldiers won't be able to dig, for example. It's all pretty logical at first, and you'll need to strategize as to which profession is most suited to the current situation, and will have choices including carpenters, archers and so on.
Part of our play session with the game included us going out and battling a couple of the bosses. We were given a hot tip from an anonymous villager that there was a monster outside of town causing trouble, so we gathered some troops and went into battle with the creature. Combat in the early stages is something as simple as dodging the attack and then throwing your soldiers at the enemy so that they can inflict damage at the right time, but we later experienced baddies with more varied attacks which required more strategy. A very cute addition is that after defeating said big baddies, the whole town will throw a festival in your honour the next day, complete with dancing, costumes, music and confetti. It definitely gives you a sense of accomplishment and further cements that the town is a living and breathing community who react to your decisions.
Similarly, townspeople that you continually have following you around will become loyal to your cause and will continue to fight at your side, while at first they will proceed with more caution as they won't trust you so much as a leader. If they become damaged in combat, it's represented by them dramatically ageing as they take hits, and eventually they will die and need to be replaced if you don't heal them or give them an opportunity to rest. If they do die, a funeral will be held for them the next day; but your town will still continue to grow as new people from outside of town become part of your society.
As your community thrives, it shows in your village. Your 'castle' begins as a little shack, and will grow into a gorgeous castle as you become a bigger and more successful King. The town will also grow, and you'll be given extra abilities, such as being able to summon an army of several soldiers by merely clicking your fingers rather than having to single-handedly recruit. Seeing the game world progress as we made our way through the narrative was very cool to see, and we're excited to get our hands on the game when it's released so that we can experience Little King's Story from start to finish!