Review: Final Fantasy: My Life as a King
Wii-ware comes to Peoww.
A Final Fantasy game that’s not an RPG? Hold the front page! OK joking aside it does come as a genuine shock that Square would make a Final Fantasy game that does not consist of tedious RPG fights/grinding and blonde men with ridiculously wacky hair, but they have. I mean they have done spin offs before but this is the first Final Fantasy that I can recall that actually was not a RPG which will be good news for some and bad news for long established fans of the series.
First things first though, I’ve got to talk about the massive elephant-like creature that has plonked itself in the middle of most peoples’ minds and that’s the price. It is pricey no doubt but unlike many downloadable games this could actually be mistaken for a full retail Wii game, which is quite an achievement. The pricing works like this.
To buy the game itself it’s 1500 pts which works out as £11.25, which is not too bad. Then there is all the additional content. At the time of writing to buy everything including the game itself and minus the two nonessential additional costumes (yes there are only two I checked), it will set you back just under £22.50 or 2900 pts to be exact.
Are the downloads worth it? Well depends how much you like the game so I would not suggest buying them all straight away. While the additional dungeons pack is good value for 300 pts, the three extra races will get you back 800 pts which is quite a lot of money and not entirely essential. The biggest problem with this game (and all WiiWare titles at the time of review) is that there was literally no way to play the game before buying it because there are no demos to download. This is a cardinal sin and unacceptable and I hope Nintendo do something about it.
Well I am four paragraphs in to this review and all you know about Final Fantasy: My Life as King is that it’s a little pricey and it’s not an RPG so I guess I should actually talk more about the game now. The game plays like ‘my first Sim City’ but with a ton of Japanese RPG flavouring. It’s not a terribly complicated game but due to this it is very accessible and fun in short bursts.
The main deal with the game is this. You are a small boy who is charged with running a country which is only one town big (weird eh?). You find this magical crystal which allows you to use magic to make buildings so you start building homes for your people until you run out of magic resource.
Aside from town-planning you also have to raid local dungeons but you can do that yourself because you’re far too important, so you hire people called adventurers to do that for you and no you don’t get to watch them fight, unfortunately.
During the Viking review I was harking on about Dark Cloud, how it was a great feeling to build up your town/army/area seeing things grow and evolve as you play the game. Once I heard what exactly Final Fantasy: My Life as King (FF:MLaK) was going to be like I was intrigued.
I enjoyed (still do) the game, playing at times for thirty minutes, other times for three hours (eek). It definitely lends itself better to wee pick up and play blasts. One criticism I would say is that the game’s difficulty did seem inconsistent at times. I would send my warriors (Lv 10) off to a Lv 7 dungeon and they’d get beasted. Now granted that you can’t lose the game so beasted warriors just come home and rest for a day (neither can you go bankrupt). But this failure when I was playing the odds game did baffle me.
About the DLC. Don’t buy it. I paid for the three new races, but now realise even that wasn’t needed. Perhaps once I total everything I’ll want to invest some more cash, but for now I (and you) should be happy with what you get (certainly don’t ever pay for the new costumes).
If this thing town-building, npc interaction and minor management even remotely appeals to you then GET IT. If you would like to try something different, give it a whirl. If you think it all looks very â€œgayâ€ and wussy then don’t buy it.
Secondary Score: 8/10
Raiding dungeons helps obtain more resources for expanding your town and can also let you acquire other useful items such as building plans and item making materials. Make sure you pick the right adventurer for the job though, because if you pick a dungeon that’s too tough for them they will be defeated and become unusable for a short amount of time.
You must also raise the morale of your people in order to upgrade your kingdom. Happy civilians are more likely to pay more taxes and generally just earn you more money. They can also leave out lanterns for you so can stay up later. To raise morale you can just simply talk to peasants or complete requests for them. For example your adventurers might ask for a place to relax so a good idea would be to build a park for them. It’s pretty simple stuff but it’s quite fun and rewarding to see your virtual townspeople happy and content and to see your town prosper.
While generally FF:MLAK is a well put together package there are a few problems. The game does seem to get a little repetitive after a while. I found I could only play the game in one hour bursts and there is no real reason to keep playing once you finished the story and beaten all the dungeons but it will take you some considerable time before you get to that point. Also a lot of the towns folk have very similar 3D models to each other so it looks like there a lots of the same person running around the town but I guess that’s to save space and to make the player buy the additional races packs.
Overall Final Fantasy: My Life as King is a bit of a niche game. It’s not going to appeal to everyone and those who like fast paced games will probably want to give this game a miss. But those gamers who like simple and well made city building games with a bit of a (basic) story and some interesting gameplay mechanics may want to give a game a try. Although if the price is too much for you I would strongly suggest picking up Lost Wind instead as it’s very impressive and worth the money.