Like the earlier A Kingdom for Keflings, A World of Keflings is a collection of virtual building blocks that add up to an experience, much like playing with Legos or Tinkertoys. However, if you're in the mood for some relaxing city building and don't object to micromanagement, hanging out with these Smurf-like minions in their Lilliputian realms can be rewarding. Younger gamers should really enjoy their time here, and even more grizzled types might take some pleasure from the easygoing activities on offer as a break from more action-oriented fare.
Developer NinjaBee hasn't changed things all that much from A Kingdom for Keflings, though. Gameplay is virtually identical to that of the 2008 XBLA release. You play the role of a giant dropped into a world of munchkin Keflings, simple little guys who speak with a high-pitched voice like Beaker from The Muppet Show, and mispronounce words as often as Tony Soprano's crew. They need a lot of help with building their kingdoms, so you stomp around as an oversized general contractor collecting blueprints, gathering resources, and cranking out various structures. Everything is simplistic and easy to accomplish. Keflings can be picked up and dropped on resources like wood, stone, ore, and so forth, and they can even be tasked with hauling the goods to various processing facilities. Much of the game revolves around setting up assembly lines where the minute guys do things like chop trees into logs, cart them off to mills where the wood is processed into planks, and finally schlep these materials to a factory where they can be turned into components that make up the game's various buildings.
Gameplay isn't really goal oriented, at least when it comes to traditional city-building game objectives that can be won or lost. Here, the play's the thing. There are no timers, no starving populace to feed, and no enemies to battle. All you need to do is talk to various people and accept easygoing building jobs, which lead to more building jobs that lead to making a castle for the king that ends the game. You complete all of these tasks at your leisure while grooving to the easygoing acoustic soundtrack, strolling around the cartoonish maps and occasionally booting a teeny Kefling across the landscape or smashing a building to bits just because you can. It's a very relaxing experience that most recalls playing with building blocks as a kid.
A few basic options have been streamlined while others have been expanded. The option to play as an in-game giant has been dropped, for instance, in favor of forcing players to use their Xbox avatars. It's not a big deal, but it's hard to understand why the developers removed the giants from the original A Kingdom for Keflings. Arctic and desert lands have been added to the original game's forest kingdom, livening things up with differently themed buildings and new oddball Keflings. Micromanagement complaints have been addressed. Construction screens now show tiny hammers that let you know what you need to build to finish current structures, so you no longer have to flip back and forth to the blueprint. Special bigger Kefling assistants, such as Bob and Doug from the winter land, now follow you around and carry building components to work sites, so you don't have to run back and forth hauling them yourself. They can even complete buildings if you get them started. And local co-op has been added to bolster the online cooperative play, which is a real help if you want to speed things up and build with the assistance of a friend or play with other members of the family.
None of these changes make A World of Keflings feel any different from its predecessor. The new snowy and sandy maps aren't utilized that much. You bop into them through magic portals for mere visits to build a couple of structures or collect something and then head right back to the sylvan kingdom that hosts the majority of the campaign. The maps really could have been filled out better; though even in these abbreviated forms, they serve as a nice break from the forest. Objectives remain the same. You still construct the same old buildings that get more complex and require more steps with gathering and refining resources as the campaign shuffles along. Micromanagement is still an issue. Having help from the likes of Bob and Doug is a great idea, but they waddle around so slowly that it's generally quicker to ignore them and haul just about everything yourself. They can assist with larger projects, at least, or when you need to travel some distance lugging components to a building site. On these latter occasions, you often find your buddies right behind you as soon as you set a component in place, which nicely cuts down on running back and forth.
So the end result with A World of Keflings is the same laid-back and almost Zen-like sandbox building play as found in its predecessor. That's a little disappointing because there was room here to beef up gameplay with additional management tools, more expansive new lands to explore, and more varied construction goals. This just treads water, with only a few noteworthy tweaks made to the basic structure of the game and the addition of a local co-op option that boosts the game's family appeal by letting parents play alongside their children. Still, if you were happy with the first game, this more-of-the-same sequel provides enough additional Kefling craziness to keep you building for some time to come.