hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: A Kingdom for Keflings

5:13 PM on 11.29.2008 // Jim Sterling

It is the first videogame designed from the ground up to work with the New Xbox Experience's avatars, and as such, I was expecting it to be total rubbish. You'd imagine that a game designed around one central gimmick -- especially something as twee as avatars -- would be shallow, silly and not very much fun.

Well, two out of three isn't bad.

A Kingdom for Keflings might surprise you if you give it a whirl. However, if you're no fan of firsthand surprises, just read on for our official Destructoid review ...

A Kingdom for Keflings (XBLA)
Developed by Ninjabee
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Released on November 19, 2008 

The premise of A Kingdom for Keflings is a simple one indeed. You are a giant (or rather, your avatar is) and your task is to build a kingdom. A kingdom for Keflings, in fact. Keflings are loyal little followers who can be commanded to do your bidding, never stopping to eat or sleep, devoted only to a single task. A bit like ants, except ants don't scream when you pick them up. Sadly.

That really is the whole game in a nutshell. You're the big guy, Keflings are the little guys, and together you work to create a small village, then a city, and finally a sprawling kingdom worthy of your magnificence. There is very little motivation outside of that, and whatever extra goals may present themselves, it's all based around building things.

The building process is not much different from any other type of "God" style game. You need resources, first and foremost, either from the rock quarries or forests. Later on, you will also need to shear sheep for wool and gather crystals. In addition to harvesting these resources yourself, you can command a Kefling to undertake the task by picking them up and then dropping/booting them onto the desired source. You can also make them take the harvested goods to a workshop or lumbermill by then picking them up and dropping them on the correct building.  

It's as simple as that, and your Kefling will continue to work like an orphan without ever complaining. 

You start off with a basic workshop in which you can build a town square and houses. You need blueprints before you can start making things, which are commonly unlocked as you create newer buildings. In order to make something, you simply walk to a workshop, press a button, and then select the correct materials from a list of items. The items will then be built, one by one, outside of the workshop. 

Carrying one item at a time, you can place the first piece anywhere on the map and then, with the correct blueprint equipped, you will be shown where each subsequent piece may be dropped. It's incredibly easy and not demanding in the slightest, yet it is strangely compelling.

As well as simple building, you will need to perform a few extra tasks to keep things running smoothly. For example, if you want more Keflings, you need to build houses, but that won't be enough. In a sickening twist, houses need "love" before Keflings will appear. Love is represented by a bright red heart which can either be found hidden around the map, or earned by completing missions for the town's figurehead ruler, be it the Mayor or the King.

In addition, the map has hidden items which can be discovered, and usually need excavating from surrounding rock or crystals. Some of these items are essential, like the shears and pick, which will let you harvest wool and crystals. There are also textbooks, which are required to make certain buildings work. 

This game is childish, simplistic nonsense. Yet for some absurd reason, it is actually pretty damn playable. Especially at this moment of writing, where most of the big games on the Xbox 360 are stressful, action-packed shooters, it's actually enjoyable to kick back with something as undemanding and laid back as A Kingdom for Keflings. 

There is four-player drop in/drop out multiplayer as well, but as with all XBLA games, good luck finding anyone to play with. 

Graphically, it's certainly not the prettiest thing on the Xbox Live Arcade, but it does the job. The Keflings have some pretty great designs, but unfortunately they are far too small for it to be noticeable. The map can also get fairly cluttered if you build things too close together. However, if you build things too far away from each other, you'll have a pretty boring trek from location to location. 

While we talk about boring, that is the one problem this game has -- there is a lot of thumb-twiddling. Sometimes you end up doing nothing while you wait for Keflings to restock your workshops or excavate items. With your little guys doing everything for you, sometimes there's nothing to do yourself but wait. It is also annoying how excavating things yourself isn't very efficient. Despite being a giant, you can only seemingly carry as much raw material as a Kefling, so if you want to transport things in a hurry, you will have a slow and boring walk back and forth. 

The only other minor issue is the music. Not that it's bad -- the melody is actually very catchy -- it's just that there is only one track. Possibly two. It's difficult to tell because everything sounds so similar. While I really dug the fun "daytime TV" music at first, any more than twenty minutes of playing will make your brain scratch the walls of your skull as it looks for an escape.

However, one cannot fault what is fundamentally a game that does very little wrong, even if its appeal is not one that should resonate with the majority of us here. While not something I would expect many of our readers to purchase, it has still accomplished everything it set out to do quite well, and there is something infectious about the whole thing that makes it memorable despite its lack of depth or completely undemanding gameplay.

It's really not a great videogame. But it's certainly a good waste of time.  

Score: 7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I caught a reflective mumbling about MGSV's open structure and how it doesn't sit well with me, to be published whenever I litter it with images.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, an article today got me thinking about this so without further ado, whats your favorite pokemon? This is mine:
Clarence Sheridan avatarClarence Sheridan
Winter is Coming and so is the new mobile game: “Frosty The Assassin” New Mobile Game coming soon... [img][/img]
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I cast my little worm in to the pond for a topic to try to make a blog about today. I fish fish fish but nothing bites bites bites.
Perro avatarPerro
I cracked and bought Final Fantasy Dimensions on Android last night. Half off sounded like just the right price, though I wish this came out on 3DS or even the Vita but at least it gives me something to do on the porcelain throne!
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -