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Little King's Story​ (王様物語, Ōsama Monogatari, "King Story"), often seen abbreviated as LKS, is a simulation RTS-RPG with action-adventure elements. The player assumes the role of King Corobo, a young ruler with the sole ambition of taking over The World. It has since become one of the most critically successful and highest-rated games on the Nintendo Wii, due to its unique genre-blending gameplay, visual style, and quirky humor.

Little King's Story was co-developed by Town Factory and Cing for the Nintendo Wii. The game was published by Marvelous Entertainment (MMV) worldwide, MMV USA; Xseed Games co-published the game in North America and MMV subsidiary Rising Star Games published the game in Europe and Australia.

The game was released on April 22nd 2009 in Australia, April 24th 2009 in Europe, July 21st 2009 in North America, and September 3rd 2009 in Japan.

An official guidebook for the game was released exclusively in Japan shortly after the Japanese release of the game. It features exclusive artwork and information.

The game had a mobile port released on March 27th 2010 via the Japan-only Mobage service, and a PC Port on August 5th 2016.

Story

Little King's Story follows the life of Corobo Bred, a young, lonely boy who dreams of a better fantasy version of his life using a diorama. One day, four rats attack his diorama while he is playing with it. Corobo chases them deep into the neighboring forest, but he soon becomes lost. In a stroke of luck, he finds a Magic Crown, which gifts him with the Power of Persuasion. A veteran bull knight called Howser, along with Corobo's childhood friends Verde and Liam, witness this event. Howser declares Corobo the king of the Kingdom of Alpoko, a desolate village with no employment or money. Using his newfound power, King Corobo puts the lazy citizens to work, and they begin to collect treasures in order to build up Alpoko and develop the nation into something more.

After defeating the Guardian Cow Bones, Howser explains to Corobo that his real dream for the success of the Kingdom is to conquer The World, so that Alpoko can become the greatest country of all time. This becomes Corobo's main goal for the story, although over time he and Howser discover that The World is much bigger than they initially thought. Corobo then sets out to defeat every other rival king, and marry their respective Princess. With each opponent that Corobo takes down to achieve World Unification, his intentions and morality are brought into question by more characters. Furthermore, the Kingdom is often hit by mysterious earthquakes, sending the members of its population into a frenzy over whether the World will come to an end.

Gameplay

Corobo HQ art 1

King Corobo, the protagonist of Little King's Story

The gameplay of Little King's Story revolves around Corobo's ability to command a small army of citizens and order them to accomplish various tasks, such as digging, fighting, and breaking obstacles, in a manner often compared to Pikmin. Each citizen starts as a Carefree Adult or Child with a unique name and amount of Life (HP), but can be assigned one of 11 Job Classes, each with their own specialities and capabilities. For example, Ripped Miners are the best at destroying rocks, and are uniquely capable of destroying large boulders. As well as these, special citizens will also be granted to Corobo through various story events and quests. Each citizen can be equipped with either a weapon or a set of armor to improve their abilities slightly, such as increasing damage output or increasing Life. King Corobo can only hold a limited amount of citizens in his Royal Guard, which starts at 5 but can be increased as the story progresses. The genre is therefore often considered a mixture of the RTS-RPG and action-adventure genres, with leisurely paced exploration and treasure-hunting alongside fast paced boss fights. The ultimate goal is to defeat all rival Kings and unify the World.

The citizens themselves reside in the Kingdom of Alpoko, a hub world of sorts. The various townsfolk that can be hired by Corobo each have generated personalities: they may fall in love, have children, and have various opinions on the King. When they die, their friends and family from their life will attend their funeral. The job of a citizen will determine how they live each day in Alpoko: the Soldiers will guard the borders, while Lumberjacks will carry wood from Corobo's Forest to storage. The King may also order the construction of new buildings to unlock new Job Classes or gain more citizens through increased living space. After a building is complete, it can be tax collected or have its garbage rummaged through, which can net Corobo new weapons, armor and collectibles for various quests. The town-building aspects are therefore intrinsically linked to the combat and exploration present in the rest of the game. The director and producer of the game, Yoshiro Kimura, stated that the inspiration to create a safer hub area with citizens living out their daily lives came from the Animal Crossing series.

Main Characters HQ Art

Main characters in Little King's Story

Aside from the citizens, there are many other non-playable characters in the game, which populate parts of the World and have their own individual stories and roles. Corobo can sit on his throne to order three of these characters, his ministers Howser, Liam and Verde, to accomplish various tasks around the Kingdom when he's not exploring. The local church is run by a priest called Kampbell, who can marry couples and believes in a punishing God, and the Skinny Observatory is run by Skinny Ray, an astrologist convinced that the end of the world is nigh. Each king of the rival kingdoms is also given their own personality and story, which can be learned through quests and dialogue.

The combat revolves around King Corobo aiming in 360 degrees with the control stick and ordering citizens to run forward. Enemy's attacks are clearly choreographed with windups and cooldowns, allowing Corobo to find windows to attack and retreat all his citizens before an attack lands. Different Jobs have different capabilities in combat, such as Soldiers having a cling-on and doing a lot of direct damage, and Animal Hunters firing projectiles from a distance, but with limited ammunition. The attack & retreat mechanic and various Jobs create the core of Little King's Story's main gameplay. The boss fights all fully utilise this gameplay style in various ways; for example, King Duvroc stands atop a pile of crates, and can only be attacked by Soldiers and Hunters, while other classes attempt to break the crates below him to lower the tower and battle him directly. Hardworking Farmers can also heal Corobo and his Royal Guard by opening Geysers and Hot Springs.

The World itself is expansive, with the Alpoko Kingdom, ten forests around the kingdom which may be converted into towns and cities, seven rival kingdoms, and many unruled lands such as Sunflower Plains. There are also hidden areas to explore that are not required to be visited for completion, even if Corobo owns them.

Development

King Project O

An unused character associated with "Project O"

Little King's Story was primarily developed using Maya, Pro Tools, and various Adobe software.

Little King's Story's was started by Yasahiro Wada and Yoshiro Kimura, who had previously worked together on Chulip. The first concept was created in June 2006, but a prototype was not finished until November of the same year. Development began in March 2007, and a trailer was shown for the game later in the year, under the working title of "Project O", with an announced release date of 2008. Throughout 2008, the game would be shown at several events, such as the Tokyo Game Show and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but ultimately the title was pushed back to an early 2009 release in Australia and Europe, and a June release for North America, and a September release for Japan. At the end of its development, Little King's Story had been worked on by a staff team of over 100 people. [1]

Over several interviews, director and producer Yoshiro Kimura described Little King's Story as being a game which he hoped would have an international appeal, basing many of its aesthetics on European tropes and Russian oil paintings. Despite implementing and testing the Wii's pointer controls during development, Kimura stated that they were not kept in the final game, as it would risk contextualising citizens into little more than sentient bullets. The game was also planned to have Wii Pro Controller support and multiplayer, but these were cut due to time constraints.

The game's Japanese marketing included a hiring for a "part-time King", as well as a collaboration with Burger King in which a contest was run that rewarded the winner with hundreds of burgers and bananas. [2]

Originally, Yoichi Kawaguchi was the director of Little King's Story, as Yoshiro Kimura had entrusted the development team with his vision for the game under less supervision. However, Kimura decided that the direction was not going the way he had hoped, leading to him becoming both the director and producer of the game. Kawaguchi is listed in the credits under "Special Thanks".

Reception

Little King's Story received major critical praise upon its release, becoming one of the highest-rated third-party games in the Nintendo Wii's library, solidifying a critical score of 87/100 on Metacritic, which places it as the joint 21st best rated game on the platform. [3] Of Yoshiro Kimura's games, Little King's Story has one of the highest average review scores. Nintendo themselves were very supportive of the game, once describing it as an instant classic, which is quoted on some box arts for the game. The June 2012 issue of Nintendo Power considers this game to be one of the top ten games for the Nintendo Wii.

However, Little King's Story did not sell as the development team were expecting. By September 2009, shortly after the Japanese release, the game had sold around 110,000 copies. Instead of selling big upon release then dying down, Little King's Story oddly sold little at launch but sold steadily in years to come. As a result, the original Wii version of the game is relatively easy to come by for a reasonable price almost a decade later.

Little King's Story amassed a number of fans over the years to come. Although the community for the game dwindled in the years after its launch, a revival of its recognition began in late 2018, leading to Little King's Story seeing a reemergence of popularity and several new fan projects related to it.

Despite receiving less overall recognition in Japan, Little King's Story is seen as one of the most accessible and popular games from the "Love-de-Lic Legacy" in the West, mostly seeing its popularity in Europe.

Yoshiro Kimura stated in 2010 he wants to make a sequel with a name like "Super Little King's Story" and that he already has a story idea inspired by Beauty and the Beast. As of the current day, a sequel to Little King's Story has not been announced.

Other Releases

Little King's Story had a limited mobile release with simplified controls in Japan.

New Little King's Story is an alternate retelling of Little King's Story with new events and altered characters, released on the PS Vita in 2012.

A graphically enhanced PC port of Little King's Story became available on Microsoft Windows via Steam in late 2016, and later received major patches and bug fixes to make the game run more smoothly in early 2017, with the help of popular modder Durante of Dark Souls fame.

Trivia

  • The first trailer for the game featured a tagline which, when translated, says "A new story, which this time isn't about a farm". This is due to Rising Star Games' reputation for publishing the Harvest Moon series, which is called "Farm Story" in Japan. Yasahiro Wada has also worked on many major Harvest Moon games, as well as Little King's Story.
    • It is possible that Little King's Story's Japanese name "King Story" is a direct parallel to Harvest Moon's Japanese name "Farm Story".
  • Little King's Story was nominated for the Smithsonian Institute's Art of Video Games exhibition.
  • Little King's Story features in the montage section of the song "The History of Nintendo" from the Brawl in the Family fan-webcomic series. Series creator Mathew Toronto has stated that it is one of his favourite games on the Wii. The game is also referenced in issues 185, 190 and 210.

Gallery

References

  1. https://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=26453
  2. https://www.engadget.com/2009/09/30/tgs-2009-interview-little-king-storys-yoshiro-kimura/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAegvsYQ8sZ0WsVlgHvyO82m3XNHzRa1lBf2Cq-un9htAFZgT6-IKCPJnuRIyTRCBw0huOI8ZjeJ55F5IrFfTMxPre4t3Hyp3Vg6cpui0i-0joLwnZAo-R9ViHjdsZGAxpZZx93nf_heZg3PWDUBmRFwmNcTC3KIAxg4wHWbIedf
  3. https://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/release-date/available/wii/metascore
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