July 7, 2010

Catching Up With Little King’s Story

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:07 am

Little King's Story
It only takes a few quick minutes to be bitten by and become smitten with Little King’s Story. Words like magical and charming get tossed around plenty with videogames, and certainly I’m as guilty as anyone in generating hyperbole when the right title sways me. This time around I want to suggest that both those words apply, insomuch as Cing offers an earnestly heartfelt passageway into the storybook premise, preying on the lingering traces of childhood imagination by not drowning the player in cuteness. It’s a fine line, a complete matter of opinion, a general sense of using only so much narrative tradition as is required to feed the play of the game itself, and allowing space for results and rewards that help the narrative and play blossom together to put an earnest smile on the player’s face.

A young boy follows a pack of pastel colored rats into a ragged kingdom, sparsely populated by a handful of idol subjects and a few cows. It’s a tiny Kingdom for a tiny King, captured in scenes of colored pencil sketches that curiously remind me of the shorts the National Film Board substituted for cartoons during my early morning Canadian television years. The result is an introduction I immediately wanted to show to others, and I certainly dragged more than a few people to watch it, after taking so long to finally dive into the game myself.

Like plenty of others, I allowed Little King’s Story to pass me by when it originally released for the Wii late last year. I’m at a loss for a good reason aside from the sheer volume of titles vying for attention, but recently I’ve wondered if the cute aesthetic played into it – that the visual style that proved love at first sight didn’t punch through the box art hard enough to mark the importance of the title.

Despite the dismal sales associated with third-party Wii releases, the game is already on plenty of must play lists, and all I can do is add a voice to the choir, affirming the game’s worthiness of that praise, and perhaps alleviating a bit of guilt for not having done so sooner.


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