Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: LEGO Battles

8:00 PM on 07.11.2009 // Conrad Zimmerman

I would have thought by now that more developers would be capitalizing on the Nintendo DS for RTS games. The touchscreen input method should lend itself handily to designating targets and directing troops. And the pick-up-and-play nature of the device would be perfect for short skirmishes between friends while waiting for transportation or in a line somewhere. Now that I've played LEGO Battles to considerable extent, I completely understand why.

Keep on reading to find out for yourself.

LEGO Battles (DS)
Developer: Hellbent Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. & Traveler's Tales
Released: June 9th, 2009
MSRP: $29.99

LEGO Battles is a simplification of the RTS genre. All of the basic conventions exist. You create worker-class units to gather resources and build structures. Different buildings produce different types of units, from basic infantry and ranged fighters to artillery. Hell, you even have to build farms to increase your maximum number of units and hero-class characters are there to provide a little magical oomph.

LEGO Battles

There are even a lot of the most common commands you can give to troops. Setting up rally points for emerging units is easy, and you can give commands to units to patrol between two designated points. At heart, it's a dumbed-down clone of Warcraft III. And there would be nothing wrong with that if there were not for a number of really annoying problems.

The biggest issues come from the interface. First, the touchscreen is really imprecise. You'll constantly be intending to select one troop (or, using a double-tap, troop type) and wind up selecting something totally different which is standing a little too close. And there is no convenient way to deselect troops either. Your options are to either select a different troop -- which if you selected the wrong guy the first time probably won't go much better the second -- or drag the stylus over an area where there are no units.

The latter method runs you into another problem: The small screen size makes it painfully difficult to keep track of things and, if you're moving large groups of soldiers, your units can positively dominate the screen real estate. It's even possible to lose track of units in the midst of a battle, as you pan around with the D-Pad trying to pay attention to whether you're winning or not.

LEGO Battles

LEGO Battles has both single and multiplayer. The single-player experience has a staggering amount of content, with six full campaigns of over a dozen missions each. Campaigns fall into three settings: a medieval war between a king and an evil wizard, a battle between a pirate captain and the leader of an armada and a sci-fi war twixt a space heroine and an alien hive. Apart from aesthetics and changes in combat emphasis between land, sea and air, they all feel pretty much the same.

The nice thing about the campaign is that missions tend to be brief affairs, perfect for playing a quick skirmish in five to ten minutes. But, owing to the family-friendly nature of the title, none of them are particularly challenging for even a non-veteran player of the RTS genre. As a result, the gameplay starts to feel stale two-thirds of the way through your first campaign.

And, since it's a LEGO title, the requisite amount of collectible items are present. Each campaign mission has twenty blue studs hidden on the map, as well as the trademark minikits. Finding these items will unlock various cheats and special characters but it's such a pain to do so that it hardly seems worth the effort. Many of the studs on a map are hidden beneath resources, meaning that you have to pretty much deforest the entire map just to find them all. It's very tedious and not fun at all after you've done it once, let alone dozens of times.

LEGO Battles

Multiplayer offers quite a bit more for players. There are three game modes available, which amount to destroying your enemy's hero, destroying everything they have or beating them to collecting a pre-determined quantity of resources. Up to three players can participate in the multiplayer and the games can get pretty hectic, but the troop cap of twenty units and the less clear limit on maximum buildings restrict strategies significantly.

The best feature of the multiplayer is the ability to customize your armies. Prior to the beginning of the game, you are allowed to mix and match units from all the campaigns. Every unit has unique stats, so the basic warrior in the Black Wizard's army is going to be considerably different from the one found in the science-fiction setting. The level of control over how you configure your army is great except for the fact that you'll have to have played through all of the single-player campaign to unlock all of the units.

So, the multiplayer, which should be the strongest aspect of the game, winds up crippled by its requirement that you drag your way through the less-than-enjoyable single-player component. Players who have not gone through this gauntlet of slow-moving pain will be at a distinct disadvantage to those who have, also, as there's no restriction placed on using troop types your opponent has never seen. The variety available to a completist unbalances the game and can spoil the fun for others.

LEGO Battles

I really wanted to be able to recommend this game for children who have yet to be exposed to the RTS genre of gaming, but I just can't bring myself to it. The controls frustrate, the missions bore and the multiplayer has the potential of being quite unfair. While the basic idea is sound, the failure to implement its features in a compelling way makes LEGO Battles one you can easily skip.

Score: 3 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

Forget it

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
EdgyDude smiles upon thee, Thou hast backed the new Indie, Indivisble. (They're 98 percent there!)
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Project M isn't dead. It only truly dies when you let it die in your heart. Remember MvC2?
Project M is gone. One less Smash game to suck at!
Torchman avatarTorchman
RIP Project M.
JayfromtheSun avatarJayfromtheSun
Have a [url=]Harvest Moon 64 Review [/url].
Parismio avatarParismio
I thought it my PS Plus would end at November 30th, but it turns out it ends at the last day of December... Well alright then.
Alright guys, check this out; I'm going to write a paragraph, double space it, enlarge the font, then put a cover letter page over it and hand it in to the professor. What do you guys think?! I am best riter. #iwantareallife
TheCrazyEven avatarTheCrazyEven
Valve has lost almost all my respect: [youtube][/youtube]
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I wish more cartoony games would come out. Nintendo makes plenty but there should be more high quality games with whimsy. Where's Jak IV? A proper Crash? Anything that doesn't just involve mashing one button? Realism is fine, but there's a LOT already.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Okay, that's Fallout: New Vegas done. Can't wait for the next one to come out.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I'm new to Ultra Street Fighter IV and I suck and I still dig it a lot
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
R steepled her fingers and smiled as she looked over at S and Z. "We have stopped two shipments of breasts from making it to America as well as Europe, meaning those will be added to our boob coffer. In time, all the breasts shall be mi... I mean, ours.."
siddartha85 avatarsiddartha85
I finally backed Indivisible. After hearing about Red from Transistor, I played the demo again. That platforming is solid and I'm used to the combat now.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Man, I completely forgot how awesome Pokemon Black and White's soundtrack is. The Vs. Trainers theme is probably one of the best I ever heard, if not the best in the entire series: [youtube][/youtube]
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Indivisible's campaign is over $1.4 million! just a little more!
Dum, dum, dum! Another blog bites the dust! And another done, and another done! Another blog bites the dust! #RIPtumblrbecausefuckit
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Ugh, I've been sick for what feels like 3 weeks. If I die I leave all my games casket because they're mine. Stay away! *hiss, hiss*
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Apparently the upcoming Tri-Force heroes update makes the local-play only items possible to get for everyone. That's pretty great!
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What youtubers y'all watch? I need more.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing For Glory earlier today, some guy beat me and changed his name to "ifukdu_up". I won next round and he changed it to "ILETUWIN". I then 2-0ed the little sucker, and he left the lobby. I took great pride from this incident.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -