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Review: A World of Keflings (XBLA)

Review: A World of Keflings (XBLA)

For months I’ve been hyped for A World of Keflings, and today is the day where everybody can experience bliss for only 800 Microsoft Points. That’s right. This game is pure, enjoyable bliss. I suppose I could end my review right there, but I would be doing the game, and NinjaBee, a great disservice, so tighten those seat-belts kiddos because we’re going on a ride.

If you’ve played A Kingdom for Keflings then you already know the base premise and core game play mechanics. You are a giant avatar in the Kefling world, you help them construct their kingdoms, and you are rewarded for it. So, to help you get a better idea as to what you can expect from A World of Keflings, take everything you know about Kingdom and amplify it by 1,000.

Now, A Kingdom for Keflings was an incredibly fun game, but somehow the genius minds at NinjaBee found a way to make the sequel even better. There is the inclusion of local co-op (which is seamless and perfect, in case you are wondering), proper minion Keflings who help carry pieces of your buildings to where you are constructing them (which means you don’t have to go back and forth as often), the ability to push buildings if you want to relocate them rather than destroying them to do so, and this time there is a story that weaves across three separate worlds.

You start off in the Ice Kingdom, with the Kefkimos, where you are frozen in a massive chunk of ice. Somehow, you manage to break through and meet Bob, the first of your minion Keflings. During your time in the Ice Kingdom you get a refresher on how the game is played, and you get the first of your emotes: a new feature added where you can select which special actions you want your avatar to perform. Some emotes are random and fun, like where you learn to do the Robot, whereas others have an actual function like when you have to scare away a Dragon. Also, you receive your second minion Kefling, Doug, who is Bob’s brother.

After doing what you need to do in the Ice Kingdom, which isn’t much since you revisit it later on, you move on to the Forest Kingdom, where most of the game takes place. The Forest Kingdom will be familiar to you all as it is most like the world you played in A Kingdom for Keflings. Here you have the season changes, the changes in music, and the standard resources (rocks, trees, crystals, and wool). While in the Forest Kingdom you progress through the main story, which revolves around the King and his daughter, the Princess. You also gain two more of the main minion Keflings, Kris and Scoobs. Kris is the only female out of the minions, but her brothers keep referring to her as a brother since they, for some strange reason, can’t accept the fact that she isn’t a he. Scoobs is, well, like Scooby Doo, and provides some nice comic relief.

When you make it to the last Kingdom, the Desert Kingdom, where the Keflarabians reside, there isn’t much to do, nor is there a lot of space to do it in, but you get to see the Princess finally land her Prince, who is a frog. Once you complete what you need to there, and get Brodie, the last of the minion Keflings, you go back to the Forest Kingdom and finish the rest of the main story. While the story of the game might feel a bit short due to the way I glossed over everything, it’s far from it. Some of the Keflings, like Ratbeard and the Witch, ask you to perform tasks for them which tie in with everything else.

In addition to the changes I mentioned earlier, some other improvements have been made and are definitely worth discussing. First off, the AI for the drone Keflings is a lot better. Now instead of them standing around and being useless after they are done moving a pile of wood, they will move around whatever kingdom you are in looking for other piles of the same resource so they can transport it for you. Also, if you set a Kefling to break down crystals, or any other resource, they will keep on going and burn through everything instead of stopping when done with the pile you set them on.

You can level up the drone Keflings as well, which is ridiculously fantastic. If you see a drone Kefling with a yellow arrow above their head, give them a slap (or if you prefer, you can call it a love tap) and they will level up. The level cap is set to 5, but this allows them to be more efficient at whatever task you have them set to perform. What’s really nifty is how you can change their job, level them up in that as well, and you will then have your drone Kefling leveled up in two different jobs. There is also the ability to name your Keflings now, even the special ones like the King, the Princess, and the Witch, but there isn’t the option to rename Bob, Doug, or the other siblings. If you’re wondering what I named my Keflings, I named the females after fruits and flowers, and I named the males after herbs and vegetables. Strange, I know, but it was pretty cool to see a Kefling named Broccoli walking around.

One thing that made the game significantly different was how you were given the blueprints this time around rather than magically knowing how everything was supposed to go. I found the change to be inconsequential, but it was a cool way to mix things up. Another major change was how, instead of leveling up by finding new accessories, you use eyeballs that you find and take them to the Witch’s Hut where she will convert them into a potion and you choose what you want to level up in. Some of the upgrades will beef up your avatar, however there are bonuses that you can apply to all of your special minion Keflings, so that’s nice.

It’s clear NinjaBee wants gamers to play together, and the new Sharing function proves just that. When you are in your game you can select a friend from your XBL list, a person from the leaderboards, or the person you are playing with and gift them decorative items that are necessary for every residential building. There are 72 of these items to collect, and while I don’t have 100% of them, I’m pretty close to it.

The music is still infectious, and yes, I still got drowsy while playing the game. I couldn’t help it, so don’t judge me. I think the highest praise I can give any game is that it was so relaxing it put me to sleep. That’s when you know you’ve hit the big time.

In all honesty, I’d say that A World of Keflings is my top Xbox Live Arcade game for 2010 and I’m not ashamed to say that for all the Internet to read. It is a great game for gamers of all ages, something a family can play together, something friends can play via XBL, and it is a solid title from start to finish. To price this at 800 Microsoft Points is a damn bargain, so stop reading this review and just buy it already because you won’t be disappointed.

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Lindsey - who has written 353 posts on Marooners' Rock.

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