Little King’s Story is now out on PC! Have questions? Great. We have answers. Read on!
What’s Little King’s Story?
Originally a Wii game, Little King’s Story is an action-strategy game that has you gathering and directing citizens to fight enemies and accomplish tasks. It’s regularly compared to Pikmin, and justifiably so, since both have you pointing and launching minions at things to attack them or pick them up or what have you. The difference here is that LKS focuses way more on progression and customization, whereas Pikmin is about a streamlined puzzle-solving sort of approach. The latter game doesn’t let you assign citizens jobs or build out towns or take on quests. You play as King Corobo, who, after his coro(bo)nation, leads his Corobo Nation from despair to prosperity.
What kind of progression and customization are we talking about?
You can use the money gained by bringing in loot to build new dwellings to increase your citizen count, which is important for a big kingdom but also important for assigning lots of people to lots of jobs. You can build new training dwellings as they’re unlocked to have new roles, which are important for strategy as well as a way to gate your progress. (Need to get by a big tree stump blocking a path? Yeah, get a lumberjack. But lumberjacks have other uses, too!) You can grab upgrades of various sorts, like health boosts, and there are even some cosmetic pickups from time to time to just enjoy in your town. The meaningful customization comes largely in your party composition, choosing how many of which roles to take out on a quest. Later in the game, there’s no “right” answer; you can win using a lot of different methods.
Isn’t it kind of linear at the beginning, though?
Yeah, definitely. But it opens up and lets you do your own thing after the first act.
How does this compare to the Vita release, New Little King’s Story?
It doesn’t really at all, since this is based on the game’s initial Wii release. That Konami pseudo-remake added content, enhanced some visuals and adapted areas for the Vita’s strengths, but it also did so with abysmal technical performance and a localization job that was sorely lacking. This Wii-based version from XSEED runs better and reads more charmingly, too, but it’s still generally the game it was, for better or worse.
Okay, then what’s different from the Wii version?
Well, it runs in high-definition widescreen, and supports a few controller options. Let’s be clear: this is a port and not a remaster. It looks nicer because modern PCs are more powerful, but this game didn’t get a bunch of HD texture upgrades or visual effects. You’ll see some pixel-tastic artifacts of days gone by, and there’s a bloom lighting effect that makes things look great at rest and somewhat indecipherable in motion. It is what it is?
How does the gameplay hold up a generation later?
This is definitely the good news: Little King’s Story was a magnificent Wii game, and it remains a joy to play today in these new trappings. There’s some heavy tutorialization that the industry’s generally grown out of doing in the intervening years, but once you get past that, it’s just exciting enough to keep you interested in a low-key quest that a lot of people could use in their lives about now. Some people say the game’s hard. They’re… not wrong. But it’s not a white-knuckle sort of thing so much as one that makes you enter encounters with a considered strategy.
What’s the deal with those controls?
They work fine! It’s not really a PC game, so don’t expect a native strategy setup, but it’s usable. A controller’s the way to go here if you can, and this version seems to support really any common modern setup.
Before you go: isn’t the king’s aging process kind of the best?
It really is. Citizens show damage by getting older so you can see gray-haired members of your party and be appropriately concerned, but when Corobo takes his first hit, he stays a little kid and grows a sufficiently impressive beard for someone his age. It’s almost worth doing on purpose.