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Joystiq impressions: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (WiiWare)

Zack Stern

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King turns RPG gamers into a coach, vicariously living out the glory of dungeon quests by sending in adventurers. I saw the game at the Nintendo Media Summit and didn't understand the appeal. Aren't the quests the best part of RPGs?

If you think upgrades and management are RPG highlights, maybe you'll like My Life as a King. Your young character returns to an abandoned castle to reclaim his dynasty after his dad left in exile. Your job is to spruce up the place, adding new shops that attract and upgrade townsfolk. Some buildings just allow for more people to move in, while weapon shops, magic guilds, and other structures help advance your people.

But with limited coffers, you'll have to send these citizens on quests to raid dungeons and return with more resources to keep building. Force a weak party into a dangerous situation, and they'll crawl back, beaten-down and loot-free. Send a well-equipped party into battle, and they'll bring back treasure.

Gallery: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King | 9 Photos

That's the main mechanic of the game; you never leave the castle walls, trapped to mange your peoples' lives. I couldn't figure out how a story would be presented through this structure, but I was told that the roughly 10-hour game builds in its narrative, leading to a final boss.

Maybe if I played for a few hours, I'd get into the raid-by-proxy style. And simulation fans will enjoy building structures and maintaining the castle. But I'm cautious about My Life as a King.

Square-Enix didn't confirm a price or ship date, but previous news suggests it'll launch May 12 in the U.S. and cost $15.

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