A Kingdom for Keflings - Xbox 360 Live review

A Kingdom for Keflings was one of those games I never really paid much attention to when it first came out late in 2008. It’s an Xbox 360 Live purchase that I made because during E3 Microsoft put a few games up cheaply and this was among them. I looked it up and saw overall positive reviews for it. My wife and kid tend to enjoy city builder/sim type games as well, so I figured it was one that would get some mileage and I was right.

Essentially the game is a city builder. You are a giant among… well, Keflings. They are cute little people who run around and do your bidding, though you may have to pick them up and point them in the right direction. They’ll harvest resources for you so you can build parts, which in turn can be used to create buildings that unlock new blueprints and give your Keflings even more to do.

Graphics – 7:

This game is not a technical marvel, but most Live games are not. Still, even by Live standards the framerate and textures fail to impress. The graphics are cute and whimsical and suit their purpose, however. Bonus points for getting to use your avatar in the game as you tower over the Keflings.

Music and sound – 5:

Yikes – I’d almost play this one with the sound off and listen to my stereo. The basic tune itself isn’t really that bad. But it’s basically all you’ll ever hear once you start to play the game. There are almost no sound effects to speak of and no voiceover of any kind.

Gameplay – 8:

I was not a huge fan of the menu system, but it works. I also had a couple of buildings that were kind of complicated – I thought I had it all right, one piece was wrong and I spent probably 10 minutes tearing it apart to figure out what that piece was. Movement’s easy enough though, and the game has a nice flow to it, gradually growing and building and giving you a real sense that you are in fact creating something impressive. Plus, the Keflings are kinda cute, and I’m man enough to admit it. :P

Intangibles – 7:

I don’t think this game will be a staple play of mine. Once I played through, there wasn’t really much else to do. But, it’s fun, and each person goes about things a bit differently. My youngest daughter is only 8 and she spent nearly 2 hours on it before I told her she had to take a break – but she was enthralled by it. I first played it for about 3 ½ hours. In my mind, it’s pretty cool when a game can span a 26 year gap.

Overall – 6.75:

This is just how the numbers came out. I add them up and divide by four. Somehow, this seems a bit low, but I guess it depends on how you weight things. If graphics and music are terribly important to you, then this game is probably not for you. If you can enjoy a relaxing game without worrying too much about the soundtrack, then you may find that this game is quite enjoyable. I got it at half price at the time, which makes it a better deal for me than it will likely be for you. Not really for the hardcore crowd, but it was something of a hit with my family with its cute graphics and theme mixed with city building elements.


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