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Kids vs Goblins

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The kids are alright

Product: Kids vs Goblins | Developer: Stolen Couch Games | Publisher: Crescent Moon Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, RPG | Players: 1 | File size: 236MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
Kids vs Goblins iPhone, thumbnail 1
Role-playing games are known to cause ambivalence.

The idea of questing, carving your own paths, and gaining stunning abilities along the way might sound appealing, but the heavy chatter, complex mechanics, and frequently intensive grinding can deter newcomers from ever breaking into the genre.

As loose an example of an RPG as you can imagine, Kids vs Goblins does well at easing tenderfooted gamers into some of the genre’s staples without ever getting down to the nitty gritty.

For all ages

Shipwrecked on goblin-infested island, a trio of siblings don heroic attire and bear outfits in order to save their kidnapped baby brother from the hungry goblin king.

Despite its fairytale setting, Kids vs Goblins is a fairly light read. Cut-scenes are in short supply and the lack of voice action outside the narration makes its young cast less endearing than they should be.

The genre has been boiled down to its simplest elements with exploration, levelling, and other complexities cut from the usual RPG rulebook.

Instead of venturing around the island, you’ll frequent its six hostile battlefields, which vary in decor but lack tactical diversity.

It is here you’ll come under attack from the unrelenting hordes of goblins, crabs, and necromancers that you need to eradicate in order to progress.

Your three heroes come equipped with a choice of three classes - Attack, Support, and Heal - and each can take two special moves or spells into battle.

There’s no traditional levelling to propel you onwards, but gem stones you earn or find during missions become your currency for unlocking bigger and better moves.

Tactics advanced

For each level, there’s a handful of missions for you to complete, although only one or two of these will be required to unlock the next destination on your map. The problem here is that the variety of objectives totals about six or seven, repeated on each stage.

Each new arena comes with the same old selection. One mission sees you exchanging roles and spells every few seconds, while another casts you as the protector of two minions as they fight your battles for you.

For newcomers to the genre, Kids vs Goblins is a suitably accessible RPG. The simple touch controls let you double-tap enemies for your troops to focus on, and you can drag spells directly onto their targets.

Visually, the game suffers more than its fair share of technical hitches, from slowdown when things get too busy on-screen to one occasion where the characters disappeared into the environments, rendering them immobile. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is very good, resonating with each location and capturing the heroic themes.

Unfortunately, the book is closed as soon as it's opened. You’ll reach the castle and thwart the goblin king in just over an hour, and unless you wish to repeat levels with the same variety of missions there isn't much to do after the credits have rolled.

Kids vs Goblins has a lot in common with the Fable series. Its artwork could have been plucked from a Lionhead Studios filing cabinet, and the simplicity of its mechanics are comparable to Peter Molyneux’s efforts to dumb down the genre’s clichés.

And, as with the Fable series, those looking for an authentic RPG experience may find Kids vs Goblins's accessibility and brevity a little off-putting.
Kids vs Goblins
Reviewer photo
Tom Worthington | 9 March 2012
A nice icebreaker for RPG noobs, but this short-lived fairytale will leave experts looking for other page-turners
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