A Kingdom For Keflings, available through XBox Live Marketplace, is the game I've been hearing people ask for for years, and now it's finally here.
If you're a gamer who's played Age of Empires or Rise of Nations and wished you could just design your city in peace without worrying about fighting your neighbours, then this game is for you. If you're someone who's played Sim City and felt that managing budgets and approval ratings was taking away from the fun of just building, then this is your game.
In A Kingdom For Keflings you play a benevolent giant who's come to the aid of a tribe of tiny Keflings. The Keflings need to get a town built, and you're just the giant for the job. You'll chop wood, mine stone, and commission construction to get houses, schools and suchlike built. You can also put the little Keflings to work doing the grunt work for you - they're not very good at following orders but they're still faster than doing things yourself.
You make buildings out of components - a house, for example, might require a furnace, a bedroom, and a platform. As you finish buildings, you gain access to new blueprints requiring more complicated combinations of components. Your eventual goal is to complete the blueprint for the massive Castle.
There's no obstacles in A Kingdom for Keflings - nothing takes cleverness or skill. It's just a matter of time. With enough perserverance, you will get things built. You're free to arrange your town as you see fit, look for optimal configurations of Kefling workers, and generally wander around the place getting things done.
You can play as one of a couple of pre-made characters, but you'll probably want to ignore them and instead import your XBox Live avatar, which this game was specifically made to use. It's a great use of the avatar system, and the graphical styles of game and avatar mesh well.
You can also co-operate over XBox Live with one or more friends to build a town together. This is a vast improvement over the single-player game, but unfortunately there's no local co-op (online only), and most of the Achievements won't unlock in multiplayer.
A Kingdom For Keflings is a surprisingly fun game aimed at filling a largely unexplored niche, and as a social platform it's exponentially better. If it remotely sounds like something you'd enjoy, you're probably right in the target market, so download the free demo from XBox Live and check it out for yourself.