|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hellbent Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Although I am a huge fan of the LEGO series of video games, I have to say that I was a little bit nervous about LEGO Battles. The movie-based LEGO games garnered most of their charm by referencing classic franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Could a non-movie based title still manage to be funny and engaging? Well fortunately, the answer is yes.
LEGO Battles is a huge real-time strategy game that spans six of the LEGO universes from the toy line. These universes include a medieval fantasy land, a space station, and even a pirate ship. Each universe has its own story mode, and while the stories generally involve something simple like defending the kingdom or finding parts of a treasure map, they each have very cute cinema scenes at the beginning of each level. These cinematics are very funny, and they are done in the style of the movie focused LEGO titles.
But enough about the story and the cutscenes, the real meat of this game lies in its RTS gameplay. The strategy in LEGO battles is not especially complex, though it is two-fold with combat and construction elements. You will start most levels with two units: a hero and a builder. You can move forward with just these units, but you probably wont get very far.
In order to succeed, you will need to build a lumber mill, harvest resources, build farms, and eventually barracks for soldiers. The construction element actually reminded me of the building sim Kingdom for Keflings, which isnt a bad thing. But, I have to say that I was very surprised the construction element was so prevalent in an RTS game.
Once you are finished fortifying your bases, you will then need to seek out and destroy your enemies. Although you will be given divergent goals like finding an item or power crystal, or destroying a certain base, the way in which you accomplish this goal is generally the same: gather up your troops and attack!
But like any true RTS, there are, of course, caveats to your success. Most missions will be led by a leader or hero, and keeping this singular unit alive will be vital to your success. In addition to this prime directive, you may need to keep your troops to a certain number or accrue a specific amount of bricks during gameplay. Although none of the success conditions are terribly backbreaking, they do add a nice third element to the game besides the construction and combat.
Of course, since this is a LEGO game, there are plenty of collectibles hidden throughout the levels. These collectibles appear as either blue studs or yellow treasure boxes, and gaining enough of these can help you unlock new characters modes and even purchase concept art and maps from the LEGO store. The collection element has always added a lot of replay value to other LEGO games, and LEGO Battles is no different in this regard.