A World of Keflings Review
A World of Keflings is a resource management game that puts you, or rather your Xbox Live Avatar, in the role of an altruistic giant helping the titular Keflings build themselves a fully functional little kingdom. If you've played a traditional real-time strategy game before, the basics of A World of Keflings will be pretty familiar to you. Resources dot the landscape in the form of timber, ore, gems, and the like, and they need to be harvested before they are put to use. That's where you come in. You select idle Keflings by picking them up with your Avatar and walking them over to the resource that you want them to harvest. The Kefling will then make him or herself busy harvesting that resource until you choose to reassign him or her to a new task. Unlike most strategy games, though, the resource harvesters don’t bring the fruits of their labor to a central location or building. To do that you'll have to assign another Kefling to transport duties by dropping the Kefling on the resource and then once again on the building to which you want the resource delivered. Resources are processed in buildings to produce parts for new buildings, or to create secondary resources for use in advanced buildings to create parts for even more advanced buildings. As you create new buildings you'll unlock new building types as you progress to your ultimate goal of building a castle for the king of the Keflings.
The challenge in the game comes from managing the flow of resources to ensure that you have the right ones stockpiled at the right locations to allow you to create the building parts that you need next. The number of Keflings at your disposal is your most limited resource, and you'll have to keep tabs on what they're all doing and periodically reassign them as your needs and goals change. In a pinch you can help yourself out by harvesting or transporting resources with your Avatar, but it's not the most efficient way to do things over the long haul. Even if you keep a close tab on things, it's likely that you'll run into resource shortages on a local scale because there's no way to transfer resources between buildings once they are stored there.
If you've played the first Kefling game you'll see a few changes between that game and its sequel. The first is that you can only play as your Avatar. Rather than selecting from preset characters with their own individual bonuses, you can customize your Avatar's abilities by using magic potions that you acquire during the game that give stat boosts such as faster speed or greater resource carrying capacity. Also new in the sequel is the addition of two new Kefling lands, one a frozen tundra and the other a desert, although you'll spend most of your time with the game in the familiar forested land from the original game. Another new addition is that you can gain an entourage of special Keflings that will follow you around and provide you with a helping hand in carrying new building pieces from the factories and workshops to your latest building site, saving you from having to take a number of back and forth trips yourself. Playing the game in co-op or online mode saves even more trouble since tasks can be divided up between players, but other than that the multiplayer experience is not much different from that of the single player. Lastly, A World of Keflings is part of a cross-game promotion with Raskulls and Ilomilo. If the game detects that achievements have been unlocked in those games, bonus buildings are unlocked. The bonus buildings serve an aesthetic purpose, though, and don't have an impact on the game beyond that.
A World of Keflings isn't an open kingdom sim or a game like SimCity – it carefully doles out key items needed to complete buildings so that you have to follow the predetermined course of the game. You have leeway in where you place your buildings and how you assign the Keflings to their tasks, but all this ultimately determines is how quickly you advance through the game. The game plays out rather slowly, and although it continuously provides new carrots on sticks in the form of rewards for completing goals you'll have to be a patient gamer to make your way through the entire campaign. Also, you can't really fail at the game – it's more of an exercise in management that rewards skillful play with less time with the game. And there's not really any replay value to the game since it will slowly and methodically play out in the same way each time. A World of Keflings is best suited to casual gamers who prefer a structured and forgiving gaming environment. While this description may make the game seem ideally suited for kids, the complexities of the production chain are probably too much for younger kids.
Final Rating: 78%. An exercise in resource management as much as it is a game, A World of Keflings is not without its charms but is best left to the casual game fan or budding supply chain managers.