It's not as if My Life as a King is flawless, however. There are times when you can almost feel the reins holding you back, or when you'll suspect that this is a game that's actually pretty hard to lose if you follow the most basic hints. There are also plenty of niggles. Why do the wrong adventurers so often appear at a bulletin board? Why can you never find the Moogle who conceives new buildings when you want him? Why, when you use your morale boosting ability, does everyone disappear?
On top of that, it's clear that Square-Enix intends to make up for the relatively low purchase price - though bear in mind that this is the most expensive WiiWare game - through micropayments, charging you for things like additional playable races, buildings costumes and quests. You can enjoy the game perfectly well without these, but the obvious commercialism still rankles. Let the kids loose on this, if you have any, and you'll soon experience the horrors of pester power. And while you can play more conventional, grown-up strategy games many times over, I doubt you'd want to play through My Life as a King more than once or twice.
All the same, this and LostWinds augur well for WiiWare. This is a fine little game and one that throws the superficiality and low production values of many full-priced Wii games into sharp relief. The telling thing for me is that if you buy and enjoy My Life as a King, then you'll get more than your money's worth from it. It's not the biggest or most extensive strategy game around, but it is approachable, entertaining and very different from the norm.
An interesting departure for Final Fantasy, which turns the kingdom management sim into something small scale, accessible and fun and a good introduction for kids and casual gamers to the strategy genre. It's an auspicious launch title for WiiWare.