Note - I'm going to do this as I do most of my reviews, where I will follow the format below. However, if you're looking for a quick snapshot of the game without really reading everything, you might just want to skim down to the pros/cons section where I get really into the nitty-gritty of what's good and bad about this game. My singleplayer/multiplayer review sections will go into more depth about the gameplay.
Singleplayer - If you don't know what a Kingdom For Keflings is, you probably should. I believe the game was voted on by gamers out there as one of the highlights of the xbox live downloadable community. I myself purchased this game around when it originally came out and was instantly hooked. This game is essentially a combination of the Sims, Sim City, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, and an Xbox Live Party Chat Room. Yea, you read what I wrote, I didn't screw up. You're a giant. You go around and help "little people" build their city. As you get farther into the game the buildings get more complex. You need to gather basic building materials (Rocks, Wool, Wood...Crystals...okay, that last one isn't so basic...) and convert them into more obvious construction items. Okay, so before I get into more detail I bet you're thinking this sounds stupid. And if I were you, I'd agree. But here's the thing. It's so simple, it's addictive. I'm going to say this once, and it is probably the most important part of the game.
There is no Protagonist. There is no antagonist. No good guy, no bad guy, no real storyline, no time limits, no puzzles, no game difficulty, no rush to complete tasks. You go at whatever pace you want.
Yes, it's true. If you feel like just hacking down trees for 30 minutes, go for it. If you feel like picking up little people and kicking them for 3 hours, be my guest. Seriously.
You can't screw up the game. You can't lose.
You can take control of the little people and assign them to tasks. You'll range from control of about 4 people to around 40 if you do every possible "mission". You decide what they do. You can have one chop trees in the top right corner. You can have one transport materials. Or you can just be ridiculous, and have one travel back and forth across the map for no real reason, other than it makes you happy. You can create efficient systems for making your town run just that smoothly.
There are plenty of buildings you can create. The farther you go along the "tree" the more complex the building materials will become. At the beginning some rocks and trees will help you build your buildings, but later in the game you'll have to process them down into flattened stone and lumber.
There is some choice to made on what you feel like building, and choosing one path or another at one point will unlock you some buildings that are different. That being said, there isn't one "bad choice", so do whatever you want.
If you don't feel like playing the story mode (which is a very open-ended story mode I tell you) you can just play in "sandbox" mode.
By the way, you can play as your avatar. Or else you can play as one of the pre-created characters in the game. Oh, and save whenever you want. Don't forget to make a statue of yourself
Single Player Rating - 9/10
Multiplayer - Yes, there is a multiplayer, and it plays similar to the single player. You can either host your own game or go online and join a random game or a friend's game. You can choose how many people you want in the game at once if you want. Help each other build a town by working together as giants. Hook up with your friends. You can even build towers with your picture on it to show that you were in their town at one point.
Yay, that's all good and such, but there is a problem with this.
If you get a "bad apple" it only takes 5 seconds to destroy one of your buildings, which usually take a good amount of work to put together. Even though you can ban people whenever you want, you probably wont be able to push the button fast enough before your stuff is destroyed. I've heard of people complaining about this actually to Microsoft who have replied with a "we're working on it" which really means nothing.
The game is getting a little older however, so the community might not be as lively as it once was, but it's still there.
Multiplayer Rating - 5/10
Others - Okay. So despite what you would think, the graphics are actually decent in this game. Your avatar looks pretty good as it walks around, and the little people don't glitch around or anything as they walk their repetitive distances that you provided them. The buildings look interesting at least. The major drawback from a decent graphic score are these mini "cut scenes" they have during the game when you do something really good (like creating the first building of the game). It comes up as a box on your screen that doesn't take up the entire width and length and kind of creates slow-down as the little people dance around you in happiness. It's kinda weird too.
Sound? You're probably going to have the music memorized by the time you're done playing this game. Me and my girlfriend would hum it all day to one another. It changes with the seasons, which change about every 5 minutes real time or so. I didn't like the winter music (obviously a lot more somber) and was a big fan of the spring music (since it meant the end of the winter music...). It gets kind of annoying, but you shouldn't have too much of a problem with it.
Now to everyone's favorite part: Achievements. I have 200/200 in this game. I might write a guide sometime soon. The achievements are pretty easy to get, as in, you should have 150 by the time you finish the single player "campaign". They are basically complete the game. If you simply do the minimum amount of buildings you might skim yourself out of one or two, but if you buy this game you'll be as addicted as I was and will want to 100% it in every way.
However, they only provide 1 of my patented "Three quality achievement parts".
1) Single Player "beat the game achievements". They have plenty of those. Too much infact.
2) Play the game in different ways achievements. Don't have this, and I guess it's understandable since there aren't really too many ways to play it. There are some "choices" that you make, so it would be interesting if they had you play through it a second time to choose the other choices, but meh.
3) Offline multiplayer achievements. The achievements are online, which means that you'll have to contact someone to check some of them out. This also means that if the community goes dead, you're short a couple of points. Since people are scared of "destroyers" as described above, they'll be a little hesitant to allow you in without a background check, no joke.
There is a theme you can download if you're into that...but besides that there is no DLC. It should be noted that when you play through the game you'll actually unlock new gamer pictures, if that's your thing.
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 4/10
Acheivements - 6/10
DLC - 2/10
Final Score - 6.3
Here's the interesting part in my opinion. Or maybe I just make it the interesting part . One of the two.
*It's seriously addicting with it's simple gameplay. I played through this from about 11 pm to 7 am, without stopping. It's so simple to pick up that you just have to love it. Since there are...
No time limits
No mission objectives
No demands of any sort
You can take your time and do whatever you want. That means you can tear down a building simply because you don't like its place, move it over, and it isn't a big deal. You didn't lose out on time or points or anything like that. It's just plain simple and fun. You're the boss. There is no "walkthroughs" online that you should follow. You have your choice.
*Graphics are better than you'd think for an arcade game. Your avatar actually looks pretty good (which was one of the reasons I originally got the demo, to see how I looked standing up...). The little people flying through the air when you kick em actually looks good too, and it's nice.
*There is some pretty humorous add-ins. You can use the D-Pad to make your character dance. You can kick little people. There's a mayor who demands things of you even though you could squash him.
*Replay value is better than most arcade games. Since you probably learned what to do and what not to do on your first playthrough, you might find yourself wanting to better recreate your village to make it more efficient, eye pleasing, or simply different. Since you can take your time and you aren't under any demands, you can waste time working on your layout rather than progressing the (very simple) story.
*Multiplayer is pretty fun with a friend. It makes doing somethings a lot more efficient (especially if you're not into the slow start at the beginning of the game). That being said, since it's no rush anyway, it's okay. I basically used it as a way to chat with my friends while doing something with my hands so that awkward silences weren't as awkward.
*The online multiplayer will annoy you. If you want those online achievements you'll have to delegate your way through website chatboards. If you don't want to get booted you'll have to be overly nice and rely on a little luck. If you want your city not destroyed you'll have to watch everyone, which kind of takes away from the fun of creation. I myself ran around with a heart for 10 minutes with another character chasing me until he found out he could boot me. I was just trying to give it to the girl avatar . Bahahahha...
Oh, and before you start messaging me asking for the mulitplayer achievements, I don't have that many towers in my place. I visited someone's place. Not mine.
*Music gets kind of annoying. You'll be humming it, that's how stuck in your head it will be. I can still recall it even though I haven't picked up the game in a couple of months.
*There is some slow-down inbetween the seasons, specifically between winter and spring. You get a little nervous because you think your game might be freezing and you go "Oh no, when was the last time I saved!"
*The simplicity detracts from the replay value a bit. Despite what I said above, it would be a little better if there were some difficulty mode choice (as in maybe you got less keflings - little people - to work with, or got less upgrades, or required more building material). Something that would keep the "laziness" of the game intact while still allowing a different playthrough.
*For some reason there is no offline multiplayer. This honestly was the biggest blow to me not still playing this game religiously. You have to buy two versions on two different xboxes to play with your friends, which really doesn't make sense. Yes, the screen wouldn't be big enough, they'd have to split-screen it or something, but that's not that big a deal. I'm feeling that when/if they come out with a sequel for this game, this will be first on the list to incorporate.
Final Notes: I really liked this game, and I bet you would too. If you're getting sick of getting corpse-humped in Halo 3, getting killed with the P90 in Call of Duty 4, or can't seem to get past that impossible level in Guitar Hero 3, pick this guy up. It will calm you down after a hectic day. Since you're in no rush, feel free to put it down and go do something else for a bit. When you come back you'll be in the same place before you left, and there will be no penalty.
Do I recommend this game? Absolutely.