Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eight Little Touches to Little King's Story

Alt text is back mother fuckers!
That see it rise above the crap that has outsold it. I recently completed it so it only took me just over a year. It's a really good game. We aren't good enough with words to express it. It's a great game even are there words to express better than great? Here are eight little touches that, for me, made it a really greatastic game and why my heart is made heavy with the knowledge that we won't see a game quite so beautifully crafted or surprisingly fresh for a long time.

1) Detail in everything. Everything from collectibles to the snippets that your civilians will offer up in conversation through to incidental details in the cutscenes draw the eye. It's all been lovingly crafted to reward players who will care to look for those tiny little details.

2) Naughtiness. Not as in, lame pre-watershed sex scenes or characters who stream cusses but genuine naughtiness. Citizens send you rude notes, perhaps my favourite of which is a letter rating the princesses (Old Hag, Fatty). Other citizens just tell you they hate you to your face. If any of the big game haters out there bothered to play this they'd see some pretty explicit anti-religious messages in there as well as issues relating to sexual relations between adults and minors.

3) Wackiness. Sometimes you are asked nonsense rhetorical questions and forced to answer them. Other times you find yourself granting an audience with the royal cow, knowing that it will be pointless, but willing to nonetheless. Game Studies scholars in the future will teach whole terms on what the hell was going on with those kings. You can't help but smile when you fight an army of 2D fan-submitted poorly drawn horses/cows/dinosaurs or fight headless cows dropped off by UFO.

4) The sting of losing a guy. They have names and histories. They can get married and have children. We thought losing pikmin was upsetting but we spent many fraught moments standing on the shores of Over-There-Beach hoping for our favourite citizens to wash up. The fact that the nation goes into mourning when somebody passes away makes it all the more galling and more often than not forces a restart from the last save.

5) The equipment. A paperweight, a pillow, a legendary dress and a rolled up newspaper. Even better is that you can see the equipment on the character models.

6) Collectibles. Gaming's favourite fluff. Even the filler has been thought through here. Hunting down the tunes was infuriating. The kind of madness, the likes of which we haven't known for a long time. Even with a FAQ we were questioning our sanity and casting aspersions about the "computer cheating" like the good old days.

7) Messing around. If you asked whether or not I wanted to change all the paintings in the castle and have a choice of over two hundred to choose from I'd have probably said no thanks. As it was, I spent many hours changing them around to suit my mood.

8) Music and sounds. Just amazing. The remixes of classical music, the hummed versions you have to collect from the townfolk and the babbling of the character's voices are charming. I can thing of no other word. I'm coming over all gushy. It's too much. Why can't every game be this wonderful? Why do we have to suffer all that average crap? I need a lie down.

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