LEGO, the invention of Danish toy manufacturor Ole Kirk Christiansen, is still one of the most popular things with kids and even adults. Next to the blocks themselves LEGO also has had quite some success already with adaptations of Indiana Jones, Star Wars and in the future even Harry Potter and Rock Band.
In LEGO Battles our yellow-colored plastic blocks indulge in different stories that play throughout the centuries, fighting with dragons and knights, to laser-shooting space heroes. Contrary to the many other LEGO games the inspiration for once wasn’t gotten from a specific movie or book.
The concept is pretty simple: play tactical with a small group or build a large army to defeat the enemy. The makers tried to bring some variation with various missions going from searching for some sort of scroll to protecting your castle. All nice and fun but you get almost equal missions with each story which makes the game very repetitive very quickly.
And just as with so many other games these days there’s achievements you need to get. Sadly enough there are no rewards like unlockable characters for these achievements but you need to finish entire acts of the story to get access to such things. The devs could have just as easily ditched this entire part as it doesn’t bring any additional value what so ever.
Luckily there’s a LEGO shop where you can buy things like maps and concept art with LEGO studs (little blue blocks) which you find throughout the story. Also cut-scenes can be watched again here and they’re certainly worth checking out.
LEGO Battles is in views equal to the old Age of Empires series on PC. You can build walls and towers for defense, or crush an enemy with an oversized army. It’s too bad though, that you can only select nine units at the same time. When these are too stupid to follow the road and get stuck between some branches and other objects this can lead to major frustration levels. Especially when you start with an army of nine units and finish with only three yellow guys you’ll be tapping that DS screen furiously with your stylus!
As in any story there’s also a hero present here who can help himself or others with his magical powers. This pleasant addition makes that you don’t fall on your face against an enemy that quickly as your hero can heal all other units. Don’t lose him though, as that often results in a major loss.
The difficulty degree is quite alright. It’s not too hard to finish a mission well but you’ll have to replay a couple as the enemy can sometimes surprise. A small downpoint is that the difficulty can’t be changed and this makes it sometimes a bit too hard for the smallest amongst us.
LEGO Battles is a fun addition to the collection of Age of Empires games of strategy fans. I would even dare to say that LEGO Battles is better than the DS version of that games which looks more like a game of chess than an RTS.