|Hellbent Games, Produced by TT Games|
| LOCAL WIRELESS
| Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
BUY NOW AT
TT Games (formerly Travellerís Tales) has done a great job turning beloved franchises into LEGO iterations. One could spend hours singing the praises of the likes of LEGO Star Wars or LEGO Batman. The fact that these games are well-designed and accessible to kids and adults has made the LEGO series of games some of the most endearing of the last few years.
Enter LEGO Battles. Diverging from the traditional licensed adaptation, producer TT Games and developer Hellbent Games has chosen here to instead appropriate a specific genre into LEGO form. The end result is a purebred RTS in the vein of StarCraft or Total Annihilation. As with so many other TT efforts, itís a bit on the simple side, but it works beautifully.
LEGO Battles contains all the ingredients of a classic real-time strategy romp. There are resources and the units that collect them, different buildings for making different units, buildings to increase support capacity, and defense towers. Different combat units are also in play, including unique hero-type characters for each LEGO group. In practice, the package plays out with great action-packed style, with players working actively to acquire resources, produce soldiers and attack enemies, all at the same time.
The game can be played in one of three different ways. The first is the storyline mode, which features six different races: king, wizard, pirate, Imperial, spaceman, and alien. The storylines for each pair (king and wizard, pirate and Imperial, spaceman and alien) run parallel to each other, and in some cases beating part of one storyline is necessary to open another storyline.
The other two modes are more of a diversion to the main storyline mode but they deserve mention. One is a free play mode which lets players pick and choose their side and their opponent in a free-for-all fashion. The other is local wireless play, which allows two players with the game to face off. Sadly, there is no online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi.
Thereís really a lot to like about LEGO Battles. The production values are very good; the visuals look good and the soundtrack is surprisingly epic. Controls are handled through a combination of touch screen and button use and they generally work well and are easy to use. The gameís locales between the six races help mix things up -- there's nothing like going back and forth between the high seas and Mars to keep things fresh. LEGO Battles also keeps things interesting by unlocking specific races and features in a progressive fashion rather than all at once. Finally, the game retains much of the trademark humor that has made the LEGO video game franchise so great.
That all said, there are also some hang-ups that limit this title. One relates to AI. Pathing, the bane of many RTSs, is hit-or-miss, especially when units have to circle around an obstacle or barrier. Often, the units just give up and stop, rather than continuing on, which can be a hassle to correct. Enemy AI is also pretty anemic for the most part, and veteran RTSers will probably clean up on the enemies without too much trouble. (On the other hand, the game will be more manageable for younger players.)
A second problem relates to control. The touch screen works well most of the time but occasionally will misinterpret an action. For example, tapping the screen is sometimes mistaken as a drag box, so instead of moving characters the game will deselect them entirely, forcing a player to track down the party and reselect them. Another control problem is more of an oversight and impacts the left-handed: fast screen motion attached to the stylus can only be triggered by holding the stylus right-handed and pushing the L trigger.
These problems are legitimate, but they are also not too different from the kinds of deficiencies that seem to exist in most LEGO games. And as with other LEGO titles, those deficiencies donít keep LEGO Battles from being an engaging, satisfying RTS experience, especially for younger players or those looking for lighter fare. If thatís your angle, then this game is a solid buy.
Staff Profile | Email
"Round 1! Fight!"