LEGO is cool and it's good to see that
another generation are still creating their own masterpieces and are
unleashing their inner muse within them. Even better, the world of LEGO
has been successfully transferred to the gaming world with big hits such
as LEGO Batman and some smaller hits such as LEGO Bionicle Heroes. This
time it's the Nintendo DS turn with an interesting real-time strategy
entitled LEGO Battles.
Set in the classic world of LEGO which
features Pirates and Astronauts, the game is oozing with LEGO references
that actually look like real-world LEGO blocks from the basic yet
colourful environments to those classic LEGO characters and needless to
say, our first impressions had us reminiscing back to our childhoods.
The game does contain some story elements, albeit quite basic at times
such as protecting your kingdom from the undead or exploring the surface
of a planet.
The essence behind LEGO
Battles is a real-time strategy which allows players to build and battle
their LEGO through six different campaigns, each with their own themes
from different LEGO genres. Interesting enough these genres overlap each
other so don't be shocked when you're attacking enemy astronauts with
knights or ninjas. As you do progress, you get more access to different
units and thankfully so do the enemies to liven things up.
The creators make good use of both the
screens on the DS with the top screen used to display key information to
the player and the bottom display the battlefield which allows you to
control the pieces and environment. I was a little apprehensive when I
first heard about this game, however the stylus works perfectly with the
RTS genre and it was actually a pleasure to order units, build building
and engage in a variety of in-game options such as upgrades and even
spells for certain units.
Although the game is
reminiscent of those early RTS games, the analogy of if it aint broke,
don't fix it works quite well. Creating bases, upgrade units was
definitely the highlight for us, however the title becomes a little
complicated when you engage in battles.
Battles are a simple
enough procedure, just order your units where you wish them to fight,
however if they come up against a rock or a tree in the "wrong" place
for them, they keep trying to go through, walk in circles or decide to
stop. Unfortunately this throws a spanner in the cool gaming environment
and if you are not a patient person, than you might be better to look
elsewhere for your RTS fix.
When it does come to the
battles, you'll have a variety of different units to help with your
battles which does make things interesting as you pit different LEGO
eras against each other, however most units balance out quite well. If
you have a friend, you can even play LEGO battles wirelessly through the
DS multi-card, although we could not test this feature but I'm guessing
it will probably be a "tad" more entertaining than the single-player.
Graphically, the title is quite decent on
the DS that is oozing with LEGO stereotypes and clichés. The title is a
very colourful and the characters interact well with the gaming
environment in terms of looks, it's just their interaction with objects
that cause them to get stuck. Some great LEGO "sounding" sound effects
and an interesting score nicely rounds this title up.
Final Words? LEGO Battles is reminiscent of
those late 80's and early 90's real-time strategy games in terms of
gameplay but the most annoying aspect of the title is that the
developers could not master the path finding skills of the characters
which forces the gamer to monitor all their units. Unfortunately this
takes a healthy point off the final score that could have made LEGO
Battles a good game, rather than an average game for the professional
gamer. For kids, they will more than likely enjoy this virtual LEGO