As we predicted, a lot of console titles are making the jump to the PS Vita for their sequels. Coming from the Wii, New Little King’s Story is, well, new, as its title suggests, and a much larger world than you might think could ever exist on a handheld like this.
The original game was very much a hidden gem. It was critically praised (though, we’ll admit, we never played it), receiving scores in the high-80s for its content, charm, and characters, but got lost in the other behemoth Wii titles like The Conduit and Dead Space: Extraction.
With that said, New Little King’s Story is a bit less of a gem than the first game, but is still worth picking up if you fell in love with the original. If you know the environment and characters, then this title will make perfect sense to you. If not, it is a bit of a more difficult sell because the developers just didn’t put enough time into explaining how everything works. A lot of things are assumed in the game, and it makes things a bit less fun.
There are definitely some AI issues as well, as you need to be near pixel-perfect when aiming at an enemy to target it, or you might just go right past it. Similarly, if you’re not exactly where you should be in the game, your soldiers don’t have any clue where you really mean to be, and they’re much more likely going to do something you don’t want them to. Like walk into a wall.
With that said, there is an enormous amount of heart in New Little King’s Story. The characters are certainly quirky and unique, as they should be considering you are a young king in this world. The biggest piece of the puzzle here is the ability to craft your own kingdom of people, shaping and moulding it to the way you want to play.
Another huge benefit of this game is the incredible graphics. They really look like they’ve been hand drawn and coloured as they pop off the screen. Sure, the Vita hardware is good, but without incredible artists working behind the scenes, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Text is a bit – okay, a lot – on the small side for what is already a small screen to be playing a console-designed game on, but it isn’t totally unbearable.
We didn’t give the game a full play through (we stopped after about 12 hours or so) because the game ended up very cumbersome and repetitive, but from what we gather online, we probably hit about 50% of the content in the game.
There are a few ways to feel about New Little King’s Story. On the one hand, it is a great game to pick up and play on the bus or in the car (so long as you’re not the driver). On the other hand, it accomplishes one task very well, and that is to get us hungry for better games in a similar theme like Civilization or even SimCity. Those titles are remarkably more feature-rich and have a history about them that is well explained and worth the price of admission.
New Little King’s Story is a cute tale with a lot of heart, but it falls flat in execution. What a shame, because this game could have really been a great title if a bit more thought had been placed into playability.