It's Time for World Dominat....err, Unity!
Following the introduction to the surprisingly complicated gameplay, despite the relatively simple controls, we begin the process of slowly exploring the world and fighting off Guardian UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animals.) Guardians are stationed in adjacent areas to the castle grounds and make up the tally of areas that can eventually become your town areas, free of monsters, and allowing different themed structures to be built. From Soldier Town, to Gourmet Town, all of these areas are ripe for expansion. And as king, you certainly want to expand!
One of the most stark attributes of the game remains the music. All of it consists of playfully orchestrated classical music. This lends a noble and familiar feel to the game -- A sense of make believe for grown-ups. From the Bolero opening movie, pieces of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite (didn't I tell you it has a Nutcracker feel?), Haydn, and many others, through Rossini's William Tell Overture during guardian boss battles, all of the themes are wholly credible and fully absorbing into the game. Sometimes it's best to stick with the classics, and Little King's Story uses this to its advantage.
There are several major components to the gameplay. From within your castle, in addition to exploring its rooms, the main attributes are the bed (which, actually happens to be for sleeping. Peasants can be quite irritable if they aren't given off time!) and the throne. Upon sitting on your (glorious or otherwise) throne, you are given menus. From your trusty advisor Howser, you may view the kingdom planning window which allows you to purchase upgrades, or build new housing and unit production facilities around your kingdom. He also presents you with the message box which is your source for quests and information in the game. Verde, on the other hand is your save-game interface as well as your Kingdom statistics display. Liam...honestly I never found much of a use for Liam beyond his constant begging for more money.
Upon entering your kingdom you must gather your forces. They must first be changed from carefree adults into job classes by sending them into the proper building for the job you'd like them to perform. While some jobs are free, most have a job cost to train that unit, though the costs are usually quite modest and often unnoticed until the very high level jobs become available. At first, the process of rounding up your people is quite irritating, as you must wander around the town and find them all. Later, an upgrade becomes available to make it easier, though it takes some
time to get the upgrade that lets you build a complex adventuring party. The three basic tasks that any of the jobs can be attributed to are: Treasure finding, path clearing, and fighting, though there are numerous jobs that are used for these tasks.
In the course of the typical quest or adventure, you will need to find a good bit of treasure. This is done mainly through digging at any of the pre-designated holes in the kingdom. The better holes can only be dug by farmers, and some specialty items will need treasure hunters. Most resources are stored and directly converted to gold, while occasionally you'll find an item that can be used as a weapon or armor by your troops. These, however, are relatively rare finds. Some specialty holes are of more strategic value, such as hot springs that allow you to heal your party. You need a farmer around to dig them up though! Miners and Lumberjacks clear the path in areas that are blocked by wood or rock, while construction workers build bridges, ramps, and elevators to get over hills and ledges. All of the construction options are at pre-designated areas marked by a sign, there are no free-form activities you can perform.
The character design is something we would have expected to see in some of the early Final Fantasy series, which should be no surprise since they were designed by the same artist. The outlandishly ridiculous characters provide a fantastical feel that sets the game apart from its peers and creates a unique and enveloping world.
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