NDS Review: LEGO Battles – A Few Bricks Short of Being Mediocre

A departure from its typical 3D platformers such as LEGO Batman and LEGO Star Wars, TT Games latest title for the Nintendo DS, LEGO: Battles is a throw back to the real-time strategy games of the mid-1990s.

In fact, you can describe LEGO: Battles as part Warcraft 2 design, part Command & Conquer AI path-finding and with touch screen control thrown in for good measure. And having said that, it can be a world of pain for some.

legobattles

Divided into several acts, you get to explore different themes of the LEGO universe. The first act mimics Warcraft in a sense you are leading a bunch of medieval foot soldiers and knights against an invading army of undead skeletons.

The game follows the tried and true method of resource gathering, base buildings and creating units to kick some ass with some concessions considering that it is on a handheld console. There’s nothing much of a tech-tree to begin with (you can basically build anything from the start, provided you have the money/blocks to do so), and you don’t get to create teams out of your troops.

The latter can prove to be troublesome in pitch-battles and you’ll be scruying around the map looking for your units. This is confounded with really poor unit path-finding (the Command and Conquer comparison wasn’t a compliment) and while the enemy has no problem walking from one end of your base, your units will get stuck at obstacles and like a piece of lost mail, simply doesn’t arrive at the destination!

The missions are run-of-the-mill RTS conventions, but one thing the developers forgot was that the game is on a handheld console. Because of this, LEGO Battles is an exercise in frustration especially when you’re required to defend your base from a pitiful trickle of enemies for 10 minutes without the option to save mid-game (and you are supposed to hunt for the enemy bases after the 10 minutes have passed).

Graphic-wise, fans of LEGO Batman and LEGO Star Wars will certainly miss the on-screen 3D action as LEGO: Battles opts for a flat, Warcraft-2 like look. The minifigs and buildings do not really look like the LEGO pieces that we know and love, which is pretty disappointing.  If TT Games were to come up with a sequel, perhaps 3D graphics presented in an isometric manner (ala Warcraft 3) would be a better choice.

Yup, there are probably better RTS games out there, and I wish that LEGO Battles would have been a better game to recommend as it hardly does its genre and its source material any justice. If you are diehard fan though, LEGO Battles is available at Play-Asia, click here for details.

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