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A story cobbled from great pieces but lacking in cohesion and pacing, May 20, 2019
This story is an interesting mix. So many of the concepts it has are great: how do men and women with power like Gods of different elements find a way to defeat someone who is almost impossible to reach in their domain?
Betrayal, love, power, it's all here. A mysterious library, a maze to navigate.
But there are a few key flaws that I believe the author could improve on for the next game. If they fix these kinds of things, I think they could make truly awesome stories.
First, the pacing is off. The things that break up a story are compelling plot twists and choices. The most boring part of the game is first, and it's marked by a single choice in a sea of 'continue' style links. Incredibly momentous events are marked and gone in a moment, but a long march with stats and a maze search take up a large chunk of the game.
Second, cohesion. Are you a tender romantic or a ruthless conqueror? Both. Do you seek the favor of your partner or destroy their world? Both. Is your brother a power-hungry madman or a gentle friend willing to step aside for you? Both.
I feel like these problems could be solved simultaneously by adding significantly more choices. These choices wouldn't have to branch the game; the author has already showed the capability of writing such choices (like flavoring your brother's personality, affecting stats, or navigating). You could even have meaningless choices that have a small paragraph in response but don't affect anything else. Then you could react to crazy stuff and make those moments longer.
2 people found the following review helpful:
Classic fairy tale with a few interactive elements, January 6, 2019
More than any other game in IFComp 2018, The King of the World resembles a classic fairy tale. The game begins with a father telling his two sons a legend about three powerful stones that were once combined in a crown, giving the ruler power over earth, water, and sky. The ruler was betrayed, the crown was broken, and the stones were separated. After the father finishes telling the legend, the story reveals that (Spoiler - click to show)he has one of the three stones, and he plans to pass it down to the older son.
There are four chapters in all to this story. In classic fairy tale fashion, you (mostly) play as the the younger son. You goal is to find the crown and the three stones and potentially become the king of the world.
The King of the World is choice-based, but there aren't very many choices. The vast majority of my clicks were to "Continue" and give the next few paragraphs of the story. As far as I can tell, each chapter has just one choice or one collection of choices. The choices do affect what happens later, although I'm not sure how much. In particular, there's a place in Chapter 4 where (Spoiler - click to show)the older brother saves the younger brother. If I had made a different choice in Chapter 1 I suspect this might have turned out differently.
The game tells you explicitly when it prints text that depends on a previous choice, which is an interesting mechanic. I'm not sure what I think about it. I like knowing that my choices mattered that much, but it does make the story feel less immersive.
A few quibbles: There's a maze in Chapter 3 that could have been made smaller or cut without sacrificing story. Also, the event that leads to the choice in Chapter 1 seems like a small thing to have such a huge effect on the game's later events. My main critique, though, is that I would have liked to have had more choices in this game.
If you're looking for a classic fairy tale with a few interactive elements, then you'll probably enjoy The King of the World.
- AKheon (Finland), November 20, 2018
- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 16, 2018
- Sobol (Russia), October 18, 2018
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