So here we are in 2012, and Little King Story is back, albeit this time in portable form thanks to Sony's PlayStation Vita.
New Little King Story on the PS Vita is similar to the Wii version, taking place in the original kingdom which players would have helped build in the previous game. When you are first introduced to the action, you find King Corobo being chased out of his castle by an unknown enemy.
It is at the start you are introduced to some of the basic controls, such as movement and how to command your guards to attack foes. Controls seem quite intuitive, you can use the touchscreen to scout and order the guards, while the directional buttons control which direction they'll move. The face buttons also provide some functionality, allowing you to interact with guards and citizens, change orders and even attack using your own sword if the need arises.
Once you get to grips with the controls and eventually escape the castle, you soon discover that all the princess are missing and with the royal guard left behind it's up to you to re-build your kingdom and train up a new royal guard. After what is quite a linear start, this is where the game really starts to open up a bit more.
Since the work King Corobo can do by himself is limited, you will soon discover how to scout villagers, train them up as your new Royal Guard and get them to do the work for you. Thankfully the villagers are a talented bunch really. You will need to choose a job for them which can range from building and woodcutting, to guard duties, although they can't do everything so once a villager has a job they'll stick to this. Don't worry though, if needed you can give them a new role by charging into a job house.
Since you're basically left to build a brand new kingdom from scratch, you are going to need to explore the surrounding areas in order to earn money, which in turn will allow you to build up your kingdom, earn new items and build the army you need to get past the various enemies and rescue the princesses. There are certainly plenty of areas to explore in New Little Kings Story. You'll even come up against boss characters which will help you unlock new areas, allowing you to expand your new kingdom even further.
When it comes to combat, things are not too complicated. You can equip guards with useful items that you find or purchase along the way, from the bizarre to the useful (providing attack bonuses etc) and then once you face up against the various enemies (such as giant chickens, frogs, mushrooms etc), you simply point your guard in their direction and order them to attack. It is a fairly simple system really, but it does its job and once you defeat the enemies and eventually rescue a princess, they will provide other bonuses for your troops in battle. So get rescuing those damsels in distress and get building that kingdom.
If there is one issue with the open ended nature of this game, it is that sometimes you'll find yourself wandering around time and again wondering what to do next. The game doesn't often point you in the right direction, which is great for those who don't mind that sort of thing, however others will get quite frustrated at this lack of guidance.
There is plenty to love about New Little King Story, such as the new online elements which allow you to battle with friends and create new items. While the art style is also lovely, providing a mix of 2D and 3D art for you to cast you eye over.
Sure, New Little King Story may not be the RPG we have all been waiting for, however it is a great little adventure game, which adds value to the PlayStation Vita library.