Xbox Live Arcade games may not always have the longevity of a retail title, but that doesn't mean they can't be as or even more addicting than their retail cousins. A World of Keflings, the latest creation from the good folks over at Ninja Bee, is a follow-up to 2008's A Kingdom for Keflings and only serves to expand the scope and enjoyment of its predecessor.
The title casts you in the same role as the original title: a giant (represented by your avatar) that lives among tiny anthropomorphic creatures known as Keflings. A kingdom shrouded in ice discovers you frozen in a giant block of ice. You are freed and asked to assist in building their kingdom up. Obviously, you oblige their wishes, otherwise this game wouldn't exist.
You can decide whether or not you'd like to see the tutorials, but if you are unfamiliar with the Keflings titles, we'd definitely recommend you switch these on. If you're familiar with the series, there is an option to view Advanced Tutorials only. You'll start the game in the Ice Kingdom learning the ropes and building some basic buildings and harvesting the resources of the area. Eventually, the tutorial of sorts will end annd you'll be able to move onto the main part of the game, which takes place in the Forest Kingdom.
Once there, you'll meet the main character who wants you to build up his kingdom. You'll spend the bulk of your gameplay in this kingdom, but there is a third kingdom, which feels like it only serves to elongate the experience. Each kingdom has different resources, which allows you to trade between the three kingdoms to build more advanced buildings.
As you feel yourself get better at the game, you'll notice an addiction take hold and eventually you'll realize that hours have passed. Just as you start to wish that your avatar could walk a little faster or carry more resources, you'll have the option to buy upgrades that will do just that and more. NinjaBee was very smart about the timing of when they allow you to purchase such upgrades.
The dialog that occurs between the Keflings and yourself is very enjoyable to follow. NinjaBee was great about making dialog that is not only humorous and entertaining, but very family appropriate. The humor that is found in the dialog is found throughout the game as well. You level-up Keflings by bopping them on the head, you can dance and perform other "emotes" in order get reactions out of your Keflings, and some side-missions actually revolve around you kicking a given number of Keflings for various ridiculous reasons.
The main game will last you between seven and eight hours and will definitely have you wishing there was more game to play. Luckily, after you achieve the ultimate goal of building the castle for the king in the Forest Kingdom, you are able to free play and continue on building upon your already existing castle. With the promise of additional DLC, plus avatar awards on top of the already-present achievements, the replay value is in the above average realm as well.
A World of Keflings is a late favorite for downloadable game of the year. It has all of the qualities of a great sequel and many qualities of an overall great title. A World of Keflings not only builds upon the successes of the hit A Kingdom for Keflings, it improves on all of the shortcomings. With titles like Band of Bugs and A World of Keflings, NinjaBee is quickly becoming one of the top Xbox Live Arcade developers and hopefully they continue to get the recognition that they deserve.