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A World of Keflings
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Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi

Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject: A World of Keflings Reply with quote

Okay, perhaps a bit more casual than most of the games we talk about here, but I was impressed at one of the best co-op experiences I've had in an XBox Live Arcade game. A World of Keflings is a bit like a non-confrontational version of Black and White, with a touch of Settlers. You gather resources to build building components, then assemble them according to patterns whereupon they transform into buildings. Some buildings are homes for your little people to live in, some transform resources from one form to another (e.g. logs into planks or sand into glass), some educate or train your people, and some are used to manufacture building resources. When you have built some homes you can send the little people to work in your other buildings or to fetch resources.

It's not a difficult game. In fact, in terms of challenge, there's very little at all. You can't really fail in any way. There are no enemies, no upkeep costs and nothing that's going to remove your buildings or hurt your people. The only real challenge is the optimization problem of keeping your people working efficiently so that you have the resources for the buildings you want to build. There's a little exploration, though not a lot. There are various little quests to keep you occupied; most are to build some new kind of building, to gather some quantity of resources or to search for special objects hidden around the world.

The thing is, despite lacking a lot of game elements, the co-op play is really fun. I enjoyed managing our resource gathering and processing and arranging our buildings to optimize the flow of resources while my fiancée enjoyed overseeing the construction of new buildings. There's enough to do and sufficient flexibility that neither of you is dependent on the other player - you don't end up stuck with nothing to do while waiting on the other player, but you do feel the benefits of their work. It's a pretty short game, but I definitely enjoyed it. I can think of any number of ways it could be better and more game-like, but I think it's remarkable that it still works without any of that.

As I said, this has been the most fun I've had in a co-op game of late. (Not counting team games, like 2v2 games of Starcraft.) A few of the other games we've tried have been:
  • ilo milo - Very pretty and some fairly fun puzzles, but the co-op feels quite artificial, since it's effectively turn-based, and it's easy to zone out or get distracted while your partner is playing. Part of the problem is that watching another player play isn't all that fun. It's a bit like watching someone else try to solve a Rubik's cube.
  • House of the Dead: Overkill - Utterly tasteless zombie blasting. Good fun.
  • New Super Mario Bros Wii - Deceptive. Fun, but not really a co-op game. It's easier to hinder than to help other players.
  • Monster Hunter Tri - Disastrous. We played this together once on the Wii and died horribly. My fiancée wouldn't play it again. I played the single player a bit and I think the (same-console) multiplayer is badly designed because it drops you in at the deep end and includes none of the introductory content.
  • Castle Crashers - Pretty good, but co-op play doesn't feel meaningfully different from single-player play.
  • Mario Galaxy 1+2 - The co-op is a little bit limited, but it works very well. Player 2 can get a bit bored at times, but there's generally enough to keep them involved.
  • Lego Harry Potter - This gave me a headache. I couldn't keep playing. I think it was a combination of the incredibly cluttered screen and the dynamic split screen. I should point out that Keflings does pretty much the same split screen, but I think in Keflings the camera only pans, whereas in Harry Potter it turns and twists a bit more.

Anyone else played A World of Keflings? Any recommendations for co-op games on 360 or Wii?
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Poo Bear
Pod Team
Pod Team

Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll certainly be checking out Keflings, games you can play co-op are very handy.

What I've been playing this half-term:

1. mario kart - excellent split screen game, firing hindrances at one another is a great way to get people leaping off the sofa and shouting at each other. My daughter has just reached the point of matching (perhaps slightly exceeding) my skill, I'm devastated. It's also nice to just to unlock all the different cups together.

2. fable2/3 - the camera struggles to keep both players on screen, but it's playable and helping out wading into enemies more than makes up for occasional camera madness. Fable3 is a much worse game overall, but annoyingly it does improve on the coop play, because you can earn money and XP to help in your own game, give each other gifts and get married (which is so corny it shouldn't be fun, but it is). I've already finished both games, but it's fun to go back and help someone else play it through.

3. split second - got this because it has split screen racing like mario kart, not got round to trying it yet. It's the daftest racing game I've ever seen, you collect power by drifting or tail-gating then use it to set off explosions, bring down rock slides or demolish buildings. It's like an unbalanced version of mario-kart on steroids. Looks really nice, but the AI cheats like crazy and relishes completely nailing you to the wall.
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