Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: A Kingdom for Keflings

5:13 PM on 11.29.2008 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

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 *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
OK you Streetfighting motherfuckers, Heres the scoop on which PS3 sticks/pads will work with the PS4 version of SFV, courtesy of the inventors of said tech, the marvellous people of Lab Zero http://skullgirls.com/2015/05/lab-zero-ps3-fight-stick-technolo
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Waits for payment to go through so he can stream Bayonetta on Wii U this weekend. Any day now... Any day.
Alessa Leng avatarAlessa Leng
Been watching from the shadows for some time now. Time to Join in! Trying to finish Bravely Default in time to play Bravely Second... What are the games you're excited about for 2016?(even if it's just something u dream of...)
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Been watching this show on hulu I feel like it would make for a kickass Platinum Game. Imagine playing through mostly as the supporting cast and beating the game on hard gives you Saitama for God Mode.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Just saw Torchman's waifu... damn brah. Talk about shit...
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
GUYS OLAF ISNT A MAN HES LITERALLY A FUCKING BEAR
Inquisitive Ravenclaw avatarInquisitive Ravenclaw
In only 5 days, the most romantic Holiday of the year will be upon us...
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
So, the notion kept hounding me that the new Pokemon, Magiana, had existed long before its recent unveiling... Then it hit me. [img]http://i.imgur.com/UhFmf63.png[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Oh look, a picture of all your waifus in the place where they belong!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
#NekroGoals
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Impressions of job so far: I can indeed play Monster Hunter 4 since I'm a passenger. It's three hours to Charleston, SC, so arguments against that are irrelevant. The chicken bowl at Bojangles is also nice.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*insert ojuo-sama laughter here* [img]http://i.imgur.com/FrdGhgr.jpg[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Found a picture of Gaj and Larx's waifus. Clearly meant for each other.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
SOTANAHT's post makes me wonder:what game franchise(not necessarily nintendo) you would strive to complete the whole cast of "amiibos"?Mine would be RE,ashamed as I am to throw money at CAPCOM...
Occams avatarOccams
I'm craving new sounds. Anyone have any suggestions of music I need to put into my head and heart?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
YOU GET A DOUBLE, AND YOU GET A DOUBLE! EVERYONE GETS A DOUBLE! But no one gets a Skull...
Donald J Trump avatarDonald J Trump
When I said "I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," I meant that I would force anyone under interrogation to play Big Rigs for extended periods. That'll be sure to break them.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Dammit Fangamer, are you TRYING to break me?!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
When I think of gajknight.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
I'm actually pretty bummed out about Game Trailers closing up shop. I hadn't visited in years but I still remember the good old days of having to wait for low-res versions of AVGN episodes to load. You'll be missed, all.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -