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A World of Keflings

During a play-through of A World of Keflings, a sequel to A Kingdom for Keflings, there are quite a few synonyms that pop into one’s head. There’s cute, insubstantial, funny, and maybe the most characterizing of all: inoffensive. There’s nothing necessarily disagreeable with this XBLA title for 800 MS points, featuring your own personalized avatar, but likewise there’s not much to it other than “build more stuff for Keflings.”

Keflings are tiny men and women that look like unblinking nutcracker dolls and speak in garbled speech like in The Sims. Your avatar thaws out in an icy Kefling kingdom and sets to work on building up said kingdom, and once transportation from one kingdom to the next is established, two other kingdoms become available as well—Forest and Desert kingdoms, both of which need just as much help as the first.

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Your avatar is a giant among the Keflings, and as such is perfect for the task of gathering materials like wool, wood, ice, metal, and ice from the landscape. There’ll be some help, though, in the form of a few beefier-than-normal Keflings that act as your own personal helpers, their numbers slowly growing as progress is made. The more Keflings you help—either through building needed structures or side-quests that involve fetching items, usually—the more they help in return, making the process more expedient.

By picking up the Keflings and dropping them in front of a material you can set them on the task of mining that material and return at your own convenience whenever you need to pick up another bundle of it. After putting in so much work, the Keflings will level-up and get even better at the task than they already were.

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The problem with the Keflings is that as time goes on the map becomes so cluttered with buildings, materials, and Keflings that it gets difficult to navigate and pick up the item you had in mind, especially when several items and/or Keflings are occupying the same space. At that point feel free to give them a swift kick in the pants (complimented with a humorous little scream and animation) or scare them off with one of the emotes. Or just do it for the sheer fun of it, after all they do have a tendency to crowd around and become a distraction.

To flesh-out the game a little, there are quests where the Keflings will ask for certain building to be made, items to be found, or the rare bits where the player has to do things like shoo away a dragon or scare several Keflings at once. They’re nice distractions, but ultimately don’t add up to much as the heavy bulk of the game is devoted to farming items and building structures/buildings with them. That’s it, really.

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You can invite a friend to bring their avatar into A World of Keflings and help build the kingdoms in tandem. If that’s an issue there’s always local multi-play, and in either case it makes things go by much faster with two players farming items instead of one. There’s not much interaction the two can have, though, so expect the odd emote and sharing of collectibles to be the extent of the relationship.

A World of Keflings gives your avatar a workout and unlocks a few clothing options for them, and the game is charming in a cutesy sort of way, but it’s difficult imagining many players over the age of ten making it their first choice for online play. In a lot of ways it’s a very stripped-down resource-management game, and to be honest it’s not a bad way to get the feet wet in that genre. It’s best to think of A World of Keflings as an XBLA Christmas present for the wee ones, really a “Baby’s First RTS” more than anything.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2010.

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