LEGO Battles for Nintendo DS

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Lego_Battles_boxAs promised, I did get LEGO Battles for Fathers Day – so I wanted to share my enthusiasm for this game.  My sons have both been into LEGO for a few years – and of course, I played with them when I was a kid.

We have collectively played through all 3 video game series (as well as a few older PC titles like Lego Chess):

LEGO and Travelers Tales have done a phenomenal job of taking licenses and building them (pun intended) into video games:

The Star Wars titles (particularly TCS:The Complete Saga) is still one of my favorite kids games, and one I was looking at the other day as I still have a few Xbox achievements to unlock in it.  But all of the main scenes from all 6 movies are there, done in style and classic Lego humor.

The Batman game may be my ultimate favorite kids’ game – because the background is so universally accessible to kids, but it didnt follow a specific movie/show storyline.  It just made great use of all of the characters and elements.

The Indy game was well done (blog coming soon) as a faithful rendition of the movies.  But as my blog will complain about later – my 8 and 10 year olds got really uncomfortable in watching the first movie, so the others are off limits.  The game is better appreciated if you know the movies, so I am taking off points because the original story isn’t really for kids – but the game should be.

And we’ve played quite a bit of Civilization:Revolution (Xbox360) and Age of Empires III (Nintendo DS) – so building small pixilated, armies is pretty standard stuff.

Put that all together, and how can you not want this latest installment to the LEGO gaming series – exclusively for Nintendo DS.

Yes, you can build your own armies – from many classic sets including LEGO Castles, LEGO Space, LEGO Pirate, plus many other pieces and parts.  This is where the real charm comes in – no licensee to worry about, no story line to recreate, just fun with lego armies.  All of these LEGO sets are of course also available in plastic form in stores, so once you pick your favorite in the game – the kiddos can go get some of the them to play with in the way that all lego’s should be played. 

 

The game sets up with 3 different LEGO collections – Castles, Space, and Pirate.

In the game, it takes some cues from LEGO Batman in that you can play through a complete story as both the good guys and the bad guys (which becomes a little more relative, once you’ve played both sides).Lego_battles_r-0329-06

For Castle – you are both the king with knights and swordsman, or a wizard with a range of bad minion (dark ages style)

For Pirates – you are both the head pirate with different buccaneers, or the Governor of ?? with imperial troops (circa 1700’s)

For Space – you command several astronauts on a foreign planet, or the alien inhabitants

For each of the 6 storylines, you’ll have 3 acts which collectively give you 15 episodes to play per story – yes that’s 90 adventures in one little DS cartridge, not including free-play and multiplayer.

This is a real RTS (Real-Time Simulation), though on a kid-accessible and family-friendly scale – where you’ll eventually be building farms (for food), barracks (to make new people), and other battlements.  The tasks are well-defined and you’ll wander the map, soon finding baddies to battle, coins (currency for buying other people), and even mini-kits and red-bricks (both elements from the earlier games to unlock new stuff).

It is admittedly addictive and is easy to pick up during airplane flights, when have an hour to kill between meetings, etc. Ahem, and the kids will enjoy it too.  

As you progress through the three playsets, you’ll unlock new stories – and with them, the ability to unlock new characters – which you will want for Multiplayer.

 

Multiplayer lego_battles_DS_screens

Just like my sons and I can do on the floor, picking your favorite lego people and building your bases – you can do the same thing wirelessly between DS’s.  Yes, I know we still need to really play with our kids with tangible toys, but it isn’t easy to take that many pieces to a restaurant while you are waiting for the food to arrive.  So, this is a great way to appreciate what you have unlocked. 

Also, while some of the story-mode challenges have some twists, they are all pretty surmountable.   Battling another person really mixes things up – especially when your King (castle) can call in a starship transport (space) to drop some Imperial riflemen (pirates) and a ninja or two into the battlefield.  By mixing and matching, you can build your own exact army of favorites – without having to argue with your sons as to who gets the really cool knight with the silver armor.  Ahem.

 

Bottom line

This is a very family-friendly and kid-accessible battle game, with all of the armies and strategy that you want your 7-12 year old to be thinking about, but in bright and fun (digital) plastic.  The storylines are varied enough to keep you going for a good while, likely wanting to finish all 90 stories eventually, just unlock all of the people.  And multiplayer across DS’s is cool enough to make me forgive them for not delivering this on a game console – though I still want my 1000 Xbox Achievement Points.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Available for Nintendo DS

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July 8, 2009 · Jason · 4 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Game Reviews, Games for Dads, Games for Kids, highlights

4 Responses

  1. Carmen - October 17, 2009

    In the castle part of the game what is your christian point of view about the wizards and any thing that would go along with that part of the game?

  2. Jason - December 31, 2009

    When I look at Wizardry as it is depicted in games like Lego:Battles or even the Harry Potter series – I always look at the maturity of the gamer, as well as what might be mimicked by them and how the magic is presented within the context of the real world.

    In the case of Lego Battles, the wizard people are perhaps 3 millimeters tall and are simply characters, mixed between aliens and pirates. As they are just playable pieces, I would let any child of God or man play with them that can operate a Nintendo DS and has an interest in that battles/army gameplay.

    In the case of Harry Potter, I am much more careful. I read the books with my older son (after he turned 9) so that I could have first hand knowledge of what was in the pages. I made the choice after reading ahead in the first book and appreciable prayer. I wanted him to be challenged as a reader – and to be in the world and not so sheltered that he did not have connection points with his friends whom he could influence for the greater good. In his case, he had a very clear understanding of God’s true power in comparison to fictional storytelling and we discussed it periodically as he and I journeyed through the Hogwarts stories together. And even then, there are boundaries. We read all 7 books, but he has only been allowed to watch the first 4 movies. As the latter movies address issues that were not as prevalent or upfront in the books. My other boy is now 9 and I am not ready for him to start that path. While his prayer life is satisfactory, he does not have the same emotional makeup and groundedness that I can be comfortable with introducing what can be confusing explanations and delineations.

    So, Lego:Battles is a “Everyone” … if they like lego’s in person and they own a DS, let ‘em play !!

    Harry Potter is a “Individual Basis, for faith/maturity purposes” Once you believe that your child can clearly and definitively understand the difference between ficticious magic and God’s wonder, then the series provides some amazing reading and an immersive world that provides the context for some fun gaming, too.

  3. James Ramsey - January 3, 2010

    My son received LEGO Battles for Christmas and is stuck at a particular point.

    In the “War Machines” level, he cannot figure out how you destroy the enemy walls?

    Do you have any advice?

    Thanks.

    Peace,

    James

  4. Jason - January 4, 2010

    I don’t recall that level off-hand, but here is some general advice.

    Across each of the 6 storylines, there are 18 hidden Red Bricks (one per Act). These amplify your abilities, from faster building, to showing the map, to indestructable heroes. (similar to the Red Bricks in the LEGO console games).

    If you get stuck on a level, take a break and pursue one of the other 5 storylines. And after a few red-bricks, you will be supercharged and able to break through whatever was holding you back.

    PS> something that was not documented well is how to turn the Red Bricks on (they are off by default, even after discovered). Once in an episode, click the Start button. In the lower-left corner is a Red Brick. Click it and you will see the list of bricks that you have discovered. Turn each on and return to your story – super charged.

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