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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King Review

Square-Enix proves that it's good to be king

It does seems rather contradictory that the most high-profile launch game for WiiWare - a service designed to bring simple, accessible and cheap games to a wider audience - is actually the most complex, niche and expensive example of what it has to offer.

Yes, it's a real-time strategy game, hardly the best genre for appealing to the masses. Yes, it's got ridiculously amounts of depth that needs to be explored and takes an absolute age (well, at least three hours) to really get into. And yes, it costs 1,500 Wii Points - around £10 - before you even factor in the downloadable content that, assuming Square-Enix keeps releasing it at the rate it already has, will set you back the same again at least. Does any of the above prevent Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King being one of the best, if not THE best game available so far though? Not in the slightest.

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Planning Permission

Without wanting to belittle what Square-Enix has managed to create, My Life As A King is essentially the illegitimate love child of Sim City and Crystal Chronicles. Taking the role of a young king who's been left a new kingdom by his mysteriously-absent father, it's your job to create a thriving populous out of virtually nothing. Actually doing that in terms of raising buildings and attracting townsfolk is a piece of cake - you just stand on one of the glowing green areas, shake the Remote to summon Chime (your chancellor and loyal companion) and then pick what you want from a simple menu. Easy.

Not surprisingly then, the complexity lies in the gameplay hidden underneath the simple control scheme. Building requires Elementite - a special kind of crystal that powers your magical Architek ability. The only way to get Elementite is to raid nearby dungeons but, as you're the king and therefore too important, you need to employ adventurers to do it for you. However, as you only get one adventurer per house built, you need to build more houses which costs more Elementite... and so it goes on. The vicious cycle of house building (as well as constructing shops selling weapons, armour, items and even non-combat goods such as bread), dungeon raiding and recruiting is fairly intense to say the least, but it's also ridiculously addictive. Once it gets going, at least.

King For A Day

You see, My Life As A King is horribly slow to begin with. The initial grind of sending a small handful of adventurers out, only to see them slaughtered and bring your plans of conquest to a shuddering halt, takes a good few hours to get going. However (and it's a really important however), it's definitely worth the pain and effort. Once you get into the rhythm of sending people out on quests and then doing your part for the kingdom while they're busy, you'll find yourself playing for several hours without even realising it.

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There's more to consider, too. How do you decide where to put your shops and houses, seeing as placement is imperative? Which adventurers do you train up as mages or thieves once you get the chance? What order should you tackle the dungeons in and should you spend time re-treading old ground for better rewards, or press forward and try to see as much as possible? Do you spend your time using your Morale Spheres boosting the relationships of your citizens to earn new adventurers medals, or use them to enhance your kingdom? Although it's not exactly simple in the first place, My Life As A King is as complex as you want to make it and the further you delve into the intricacies of it all, the richer the experience gets.

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Comments

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  1. U-Mos Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 09:30

    I love how you post these reviews just a few minutes after I agonisingly choose this over LostWinds. I haven't started playing yet (study leave is for studying, kids!), but a relaxing experience is just what I'm after so I can't wait to "absorb" this particular title.

  2. Ipswich772 Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 10:10

    I downloaded this at 00:01 this morning and i'm loving it so far. Played for about 3 hours and have done about 23 days. It's such a deep game.

    I'm thinking about getting another WiiWare game (Got 1400 points left) but would I be better off buying some DLC for FFCC:MLAK?

  3. Slayso Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 10:12

    Don't be put off U-Mos, I found this very relaxing and absorbing too. Though I believe after a couple of hours and an enhanced city that I may be running myself ragged trying to keep everyone happy and get on with my kingly duties. Oh, and download the two outfits available. It makes you and Chime look pretty badass.

  4. Sgtsarge Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 11:33

    Ive been contemplating on getting this for a while now but i was wondering, after looking at the price tag, whether it would be worth downloading. After reading the review, however, i know it will last me a long time and for a downloadable game it looks fantastic, so i will definitely be getting this as my first wii ware title.

  5. Moshann Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 12:54

    I downloaded this at 12.30 am and ended up going to bed at 3.30 am!! I only loaded it up to have a quick look and couldn't switch it off. I kept promising I would stop at the end of each day but it was just too tempting to keep going. I think it is a wonderful game for the price (although I was already a great fan of this type of game) and will probably go for some of the extra downloads (only the ones that enhance the game - probably not the "buy an extra costume" type). Personally I didn't find it slow to get going but as an RPG addict I'm well used to the slow pace of gradual stat building and levelling up which I love but others may find really boring. Anyway more games of this standard will keep me a regular customer of WiiWare. Fantastic!

  6. Banaljo Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 14:06

    Can't.......stop......playing this addictive game......haha Wiiware's better than I thought it would be and I haven't even tried Lost Winds yet XD

  7. go4it Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 14:49

    I bought this at 6:30 and the only reason I'm not playing it now is because I made a deal with my brother and he trapped me in a loophole.
    EVEN THOUGH I PAID FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!1 :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

  8. Icarus_Kid Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 17:10

    Damn, this surprised me, got addict easily.
    Oh, yeah, i forgot how too switch adventaures jobs between warrior etc. can someone tell me plz?

  9. princesspeachy Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 17:32

    Oh wow. I was off school ill today. I bought LostWinds and Final Fantasy and I'm in love. I'm so addicted to this game, I'm on day 14 at the minute but I've had to come off. Nooo.

    Ah well.

    I'm not well enough to go back to school tomorrow. Happy days spent in my pyjamas on the Wii.

  10. TomMc92 Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 17:34

    :cry: I have been trying to download this since this morning but it keeps coming up with a error code also is it because to many people are trying to download it or is it my internet connection? Please can somone help me Nintendo!

  11. eevans Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 17:55

    i love this game so much it is great i have played it for about 5 hours today i downloaded some addon contend opened it up but its gonna take some while as to get it you have to completa a level 45 doungion

  12. Meow Mix Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 18:09

    This higher than Lostwinds?

    For shame.

  13. Banaljo Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 18:34

    I've been playing the game for 6 hours and still going. There's a good reason haha but their both great games.

  14. eevans Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 18:37

    ive got kicked of the wii so i wont be playing it till tomorrow but ill get up at like 6:30 to play it

  15. Ipswich772 Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 20:14

    I've been on it to much today, about 9 and a half hours. I turned it off 2 hours ago. *Reboots Wii*

  16. NewHope Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 20:44

    :cry: I have been trying to download this since this morning but it keeps coming up with a error code also is it because to many people are trying to download it or is it my internet connection? Please can somone help me Nintendo!

    Same problem!! Sucks sooo much! I really hope I can get it soon! Ahh!

  17. Poke-J Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 21:03

    FFCCMLAAK is really fun. Downloading Wiiware felt wierd (in a good way)

  18. catscan93 Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 21:16

    i've never played a final fantasty game before, but i've had good experiences with similar games in the past

    if someone buys be some wii points for a birthday i'll definatly download this

  19. Banaljo Tuesday 20th May 2008 at 21:28

    Seriously guys someone come to my house and snatch the wii remote off me I can't stop playing this game for the life of me its as addictive as all the FF games I've played before (haha all nighter yay!)

    EDIT: my eyes are turning into mush I'll just do one more day......honest.......>_>;;

  20. superdudemiles Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 11:00

    Its surprisingly good, i knew it was going to be okay but not this addictive! i love it and the visuals are amazing for a downloadable game, it did feel a little strange seeing the new layout on the shop channel though!

  21. Hero of Winds Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 14:07

    i've never played a final fantasty game before, but i've had good experiences with similar games in the past

    if someone buys be some wii points for a birthday i'll definatly download this

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DON'T EAT IT!

  22. Digikid Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 18:34

    hmmm.... to buy or not to buy?
    if only I could test before I invest...ahh...morning television.

    I think i will buy it, but i am worried i wont have enough for PkmnRanch :S

  23. Banaljo Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 19:35

    WARNING: you may forget about every other game in the world for hours when you get into it LMAO >_>;;

    EDIT (again XD): this has got to be the best out of the Crystal Chronicle's games I've played so far^^

  24. callumh Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 23:07

    does anyone now how youre supposed to complete the temple dungeon cos i got no clue

  25. ibarnaby64 Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 16:16

    FFCC:MLAAK is. the. best. Wiiware. title. ever.
    ...end of.

  26. DragonLordZ Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 17:40

    This is a brilliant game! everything just clicks, plus its advanced and immemsley relaxing at the same time!

  27. The Sandbag Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 17:53

    This game rocks. I have only got to day 15, and i am gald i bought it. i bought all the downlaodable content except for one of the buildings, and i didn't regret it.

  28. The Sandbag Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 17:53

    This game rocks. I have only got to day 15, and i am gald i bought it. i bought all the downlaodable content except for one of the buildings, and i didn't regret it.

  29. The Sandbag Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 17:54

    This game rocks. I have only got to day 15, and i am gald i bought it. i bought all the downlaodable content except for one of the buildings, and i didn't regret it.

  30. Zio144 Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 19:14

    :D

    Damn, this surprised me, got addict easily.
    Oh, yeah, i forgot how too switch adventaures jobs between warrior etc. can someone tell me plz?

    U select the castle when posting to the frog bord and then u select the job u want and the go to the frog bord and there will be adventurers wanting to change jobs.

  31. Zio144 Thursday 22nd May 2008 at 19:15

    :D

    Damn, this surprised me, got addict easily.
    Oh, yeah, i forgot how too switch adventaures jobs between warrior etc. can someone tell me plz?

    U select the castle when posting to the frog bord and then u select the job u want and the go to the frog bord and there will be adventurers wanting to change jobs.

  32. greg0707 Saturday 24th May 2008 at 08:09

    A reasonably fair review.
    Although it is quite slow,I would not see this as a critism,the game is meant to be a relaxing,peaceful and enjoyable experience.If the game was set out at a faster pace it wouldn't be the relaxing game that its praised for being,also it makes it more rewarding,as instead of instantly having a huge city,you have to put the hours in to develop your kingdom.

  33. Ubahquiet Sunday 25th May 2008 at 01:38

    Downloaded: 5.30 AM yesterday.
    First stopped playing(Turned off): 4.15 AM the next morning.
    Days traversed: 103
    DLC: Several things, just need Sacred Shrines, Lilty Huts and Selkie Huts.

    Yeah...I'm a crazy addict.

  34. hec290496 Sunday 25th May 2008 at 19:58

    only 88%? has martin gone mad at least 93% the days are short coz u can only do so much in 1 day
    i think that the ability to download add-ons is a great idea

  35. WwhiptailwW Thursday 29th May 2008 at 20:27

    does anyone now how youre supposed to complete the temple dungeon cos i got no clue


    Is that the one where it keeps 'shape shifting?' if it is, what I did was sent a party of two thieves, a warrior and a white mage every day for about 3 days and the next day while i was selecting the behest, it said ' the temple has stopped shape shifting'. hope this helps :D

  36. insanity cheese Friday 30th May 2008 at 15:28

    I'd buy this game for Ł30. It's that good, but when you defeat the Dark Lord, you can't carry on the same file! I got pretty annoyed at that.

  37. Muir Friday 30th May 2008 at 22:23

    I too love this game. Its really great to just chill out with...if you have a spare 3+ hours, that is. You start playing then look at the clock and you think 'whoa I've been playing this all day! Im late to work (or whatever)!'

  38. ScottGilbert Monday 2nd Jun 2008 at 17:53

    I.NEED.THIS.GAME.
    but i only have Ł30 and i want smash bros brawl. AARGH!

  39. Winston99 Thursday 5th Jun 2008 at 14:46

    I just bought this game yesterday and i have to say, it is brilliant. It is very addictive and there are loads of things to do in it. I just hope Square-Enix make a sequel!

  40. Xexix Sunday 9th Nov 2008 at 12:46

    So addictive. My sister was begging me for hours to play when I finally manage to take my hands from the controllers. Now I'm trying to pass the time here while she plays...

    I only got it yesterday and I'm on Day 51! I need to get a life, lol.

  41. tom98321 Tuesday 28th Jul 2009 at 13:12

    This game gave me endless hours of fun and still is, what an amazing game. Probably my best download yet.
    Little Kings Story sounds simillar, thats definitely gonna be on my top games to buy!

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