LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes
£2.99 on Apple iOS
Oh LEGO, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
I first played the LEGO games on the PlayStation 2, with the Star Wars: Phantom Menace franchise and while I never really enjoyed the prequels-which-shall-not-be-named, I loved the games.
LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes sticks with the games’ winning formula of silliness and ease of play. You are Batman with sidekick Robin and you’re out to foil the Joker, who has interrupted an awards ceremony for Most Chiseled Jaw or some such, by blowing it up.
Using either Batman’s LEGO character or Robin’s, you play through by vanquishing various villains (vehemently) including Harlequinn and Penguin, while collecting LEGO bricks which can be used to unlock levels and other characters. When you lose four ‘hearts’, you explode into a heap of LEGO bricks and respawn, meaning yes, you can collect your own deceased remains as rewards; hmmmmm.
There are various things the characters can do to make things interesting, such as manipulate their environments by using grappling hooks, levers or simply beating objects up until they explode into bricks. You solve puzzles by playing instruments in a certain order, hitting a number of targets with your Batarang (!), building things to help you from destroyed objects, or utilising your character’s special powers, or suits; Batman collects an X-Ray suit, for instance, which allows him to see through walls and Robin collects a Magnetic suit which allows him to walk up metal walls (and on metal ceilings).
On an iPhone, the controls are pretty sticky and it’s hard to get Batman to move where you want sometimes; he will often overshoot or not recognise your taps onscreen to activate objects or stand in a certain place. This gets pretty dire on things like ledges of tall buildings and the Batcave, since when you fall off the main platform, you then have to swim all the way around the island to get back up again.
The screen size on an iPhone also feels way too small for this game; when trying to do things like hit enemies long range, which is a requirement of parts of the game, it’s very difficult to get close enough to see your enemy without getting bashed by their attacks.
However, the silliness, while not as priceless as the Star Wars series, is still there – it’s sometimes hard to tell which square LEGO characters are female aside from strategically drawn lines and eyelashes, the dialogue between cut scenes is pretty funny and in all, it’s a really simple puzzle game with some action thrown in.
The graphics are great, and the cut scenes in particular are nicely done, set out in comic book style, complete with melodramatic threats and terrible puns. The characters pull off special moves which are portrayed in slow motion and extreme close up. There are various levels in the game which can only be achieved with unlocked characters, meaning there are rewards for playing through twice, and the puzzles can be tricky without being impossible. Plus, there’s just something great about little LEGO guys kicking butt and looking brooding.
The game is quite expensive at £2.99 and seems to burn through the battery pretty well but it’s a fun offering from Warner Brothers to while away a train journey or two.