A World of Keflings Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Dec 30, 2010 08:07

While the Xbox Live Arcade catalog has a lot of fast-paced action games, there is plenty of room for more relaxed ideas. A World of Keflings tries to fill this niche, casting your Avatar as a giant among the titular Keflings; a race of tiny, cute people who need your help building a thriving community. Played from an overhead view, A World of Keflings asks players to gather resources, allocate the Kefling population to productive tasks, and construct buildings by setting down parts of them from blueprints. There is more to it than that, though these extra layers only reveal themselves over time.

Built to be accessible and inviting, ’World’ combines family-oriented visuals with in-depth tutorials that make it easy for just about anyone to play. Neither as complex as it might seem at first or as simplistic as one might think a game clearly meant to appeal to ’non-gamers’ would be, A World of Keflings strikes a good balance between the two. Taking care of the community is very easy at first, requiring you to allocate just a few Keflings to gathering resources while you lay out the foundation of simple structures, but it gets a little more complex later on. Players will get to explore a world and find hidden items, set up efficient lines to convert raw materials into refined products the Keflings need for increasingly higher quality buildings, and even chase off some trouble-makers.

The game places a lot of emphasis on making sure your Keflings are working efficient routes and getting materials to where they need to go, there isn’t too much of a penalty for doing this in a less than ideal way. A World of Keflings is clearly on the player’s side rather than being their adversary, and inefficient operations just mean it takes a little longer to get things done. A little hands-on work may be required as well; if your community is just barely short on a needed resource then it’s quite alright to send your Avatar out to search for the goods in question and bring them back yourself.

There are also several nice touches and conveniences that take the edge off several things that would otherwise be a problem. Playing in just one area might get dull, so being able to jump between forest, tundra, and desert environments helps keep things fresh. Likewise, having lackeys (they even call themselves such) follow you around to fetch pieces of buildings you’re working on saves a lot of time and cuts down on how many trips you need to make to your production centers. Despite this, repetition and some downtime where you’re waiting for things to come along will almost inevitably happen... a modest flaw on a game formula that otherwise works pretty well.

Overall, A World of Keflings does far more right than it gets wrong. While you will have some tedium at points, it is a pretty accessible world-building game that just about anyone can enjoy. $10 USD/800 Microsoft Points is a fair deal for what you get, and while this title won’t do much to satisfy those looking for a lot of fast-paced action it is a generally good game overall. So long as you go in knowing what to expect, that it’s a much more relaxed and constructive game, A World of Keflings should be worth your time.

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Our Rating for A World of Keflings Review (XBLA)
7.0 Replay
There is a fair amount of content for single-player modes, and more can be found in working with other players.
6.0 Graphics
Very simple in design, yet cute and functional. The visuals won’t make your jaw drop, but they work fine.
6.5 Sound
A fairly lively soundtrack is joined by basic sound effects and ’babble-speak’ noises for the Keflings. It works well enough.
7.0 Gameplay
Easy to learn and play, with new content opening up as you demonstrate an understanding for the concepts at hand. Some tedium crops up regularly, but the good outweighs the bad.
7.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Both local and online co-op are supported, offering some good ways for families and friends to play together.
7.0 Overall
A solid, accessible world-building game at a decent price.

Rating: 2.0, votes: 4

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