"The game was charming and seems to have quite a bit of content, and the Pikmin-esque strategy elements should make for enjoyable combat and world navigation."
Today on the E3 show floor, Liz Maas and I got to spend some time playing Marvelous Entertainment's upcoming Little King's Story sequel. While the first game was published by XSEED on the Wii, this new iteration is coming to the PS Vita, courtesy of Konami.
One of the first things that players of the previous game will notice is that the art style has changed. Whereas the original game was packed full of cute, superdeformed characters, the new Little King's Story opts for a more anime-inspired (though no less cute and colorful) approach. Everything has a smooth, pastel look that is pleasing to the eye and a great showcase for the Vita. Villagers and servants have a lot of personality as they hustle around behind your character, the titular little king Corobo. Additionally, the interface is attractive and informative without being too large or obtuse.
The game plays out as a cross between an adventure and a city-building simulator. King Corobo's kingdom is destroyed by the Nightmare at the outset, scattering his people and setting him back to zero. What's more, the Nightmare has kidnapped seven princesses, and Corobo must scour the land for them, fighting enemies, harvesting resources, and rebuilding his kingdom in the process. Much like the original game, you are free to build a variety of structures in town that can help you attract new citizens, specialize your followers (the demo build allowed the king to have five, but we were told that he could have up to thirty before the game ends), and improve your tools and skills.
After leaving the village, you control Corobo as he runs around a lush world full of enemies to smite and resources to harvest. The Vita's touch screen is utilized to direct your followers to dig holes, mine ore, chop trees, and attack enemies, and it worked well. Corobo himself has access to a basic attack, so if you feel like being the benevolent ruler, you can chip in along side your people as they toil in your honor. The back touch screen is used to bring up statistics on enemies and other information, though we didn't get a chance to try this feature out.
Your followers can be specialized into thirty different jobs, each of which offers a valuable skill for the king as he roams the countryside. They each carry upgradeable tools that allow you to chop larger trees and take foes out even faster. The action is fluid and enjoyable, and we were told that the world will feature sixty different boss enemies to hunt down as you explore. Additionally, players who would prefer to focus on building their kingdom will be free to do so, as there is no time limit for rescuing the princesses or smiting the Nightmare and his minions.
The game features item tradiing with friends, as well as online leaderboards, but no simultaneous cooperative or competitive play. DLC will be released later, and although plans are still being finalized, we're told that players can expect to see costumes, items, new areas, missions, and more in the DLC packages.
Liz and I enjoyed our time with Little King's Story. The game was charming and seems to have quite a bit of content, and the Pikmin-esque strategy elements should make for enjoyable combat and world navigation. Satisfying city-building and progression round out the experience, and with the promise of substantial DLC expansions, fans of this series should have a lot to look forward to when the game launches sometime this fall.