New Little King's Story|
There’s probably something to be said about a king that gets kicked out of his own castle somewhere but for the life of me I couldn’t say where. Such is the events of the New Little King’s Story release for the PS VITA. After doing a little research I found out that this new release is actually a sequel of sorts to Little King’s Story on the Wii which I missed out on somehow or another.
New Little King’s Story follows the return of King Corobo as he must rescue is kingdom, castle and fair maiden princesses from the Devil King aka “The Nightmare”. To get there Corobo, or whatever you decide to call him, must recruit his followers to aid him in rebuilding his kingdom. You see unlike most RPGs, the main character doesn’t actually do much of the fighting despite being able to attack if the need arises. Rather quickly you will learn that you can control a certain number of “guards” to send into battle at a moment’s notice.
New Little King’s Story uses a combination of the physical buttons and touchscreen for moving around, attacking with the King, issuing orders as well as selecting usable troops from the townsfolk. I’m used to using the physical controls for many of the portable RPGs that I’ve played over the years but the touchscreen adds a whole other level to the playability. For starters, the King must scout for suitable people to become farmers and soldiers. You can select the people you want by tapping on them individually or by circling a small group of them. The cache is that you can only have so many “guards” with you at one time until you progress more into the story.
Selecting townspeople is only one part of the path to regaining your kingdom. With a few followers you set out to comb the surrounding areas of your base of operations, a rickety looking bodega, for treasures and materials. These collectibles are gathered by issuing your orders to basic townsfolk. There is one drawback though when issuing these orders. You can do it one of two ways, either tap the screen on the object or enemy that you want or try the almost fine tuned button based aiming system. The button based approach is usually a pretty good option however you can easily miss moving targets as you’re relying on an almost top down rail gun aiming system. I preferred the touch based approach as I almost never misdirected my guards.
Collecting all the loot from defeated foes, digging holes at designated locations and gathering vegetation such as wood and turnips is a main source of funds for doing some of the more interesting gameplay. When not out collecting loot the King can develop the land around the makeshift castle. Starting off, you only get access to a farmhouse and soldier’s hut but that is only the beginning. One of the more valuable things you can construct is a suggestion box. This box allows you to take on challenges and quests. The quests come in two varieties, timed and untimed and each is listed in the suggestion letters sent by random people in the Kingdom. These folks also will leave clues about story elements such as the missing princesses and the captured castle.
One of the cool things about New Little King’s Story is that there is some decision making to be made. After your daring escape there are choices such as deciding if you want to focus on liberating your enemy infested home or go after princesses that are rumored to be located near several pillars of lights. I’m no stranger to RPGs, so when I hear about princesses and a mystical lights that was my immediate choice and for good reason. In classic RPG cliché fashion it turns out that these visiting princesses are special and crucial to your adventure.
The world that King Corobo inhabits and adventures through in New Little King’s Story is one that is very pretty. Your journey will take you at first through forests, beaches and later dungeons each with colorfully detailed environments and enemies. The character models seen are decently detailed enough to tell your character from the rest of the townsfolk. The story and much of the decision making moments are told through beautifully, crisp hand-drawn static images of our main character and all of the people that he meets along the way. I also like that there are little details such as confetti and tree leaves falling and well as a dynamic night and day cycle. There is one major downfall that I found while playing however. When you are commanding large numbers of guards at a time the framerate actually takes a significant hit and the gameplay becomes quite laggy despite the VITA’s power.
The graphics aren’t the only nice thing about New Little King’s Story as the audio also needs a little credit as well. The sound effects are very sharp and legible during combat and the voice acting that you do hear is decent at best. The real charm however is the classical music pieces that have been arranged for this adventure. Some of these pieces you will probably recognize almost immediately as I did and I actually rather enjoyed hearing something other than the usual RPG fare.
I have to say that New Little King’s Story is a nice little strategy RPG that is less serious than the ones I’m used to. It has really nice visuals and an enjoyable score though it suffers from a framerate issue that is troublesome especially during later parts of the game. Besides these issues, the overall experience was enjoyable enough to definitely recommend that you give New Little King’s Story a look.