Warner Bros has just launched LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes ($4.99) for iPhone and iPad. In this mobile version “LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes”, you will experience the same storyline as in LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and meet dozens of familiar characters like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Superman, Flash, Green Arrow and etc. Moreover, there are 80 playable roles in all and you can definitely get a lot of special and diversified gaming experience.
Once the game begins, veteran players might notice that this game shares the same opening scene with last year’s console platform game: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. Indeed, despite the variation in the title, this game largely preserves the core plot and gaming procedure of its console predecessor. The plot line isn’t based on any episodes from the comic books or movies. It starts with Bruce Wayne defeating Lex Luthor in the competition of man of the year award. Predictably, the Joker swoops in along with Batman’s other archenemies to sabotage the ceremony. Quickly changing into his batman costume, Gotham’s dark knight strikes again and starts hunting down the escaped super villains.
As an action/puzzle solving hybrid, LEGO Batman requires the player to perform a series of pretty complex moves that are normally preferred to be handled with a joystick. It does manage to simplify the controls to suit a touch screen though. The player can maneuver the character’s move by tapping a chosen destination or dragging a finger across the screen. Tapping while dragging with another finger will make it jump, and tapping on an enemy will make the character attack automatically. There are several possible consequences after tapping on an object: the character might destroy it (which produces more collectible studs), interact with it or build something new with it. The player does not have to make the call, just tap and the right thing will be done.
Basically, just by tapping around for a while, any player can get the hang of the controls. For those who prefer the old-fashioned way, the game provides another option with a virtual D-Pad. Nevertheless, the controls are easy to learn and get used to either way. Although it is not so great so in Joystick, it is still as good as it gets on touch screens.
The best feature in LEGO Batman is that there are 80 playable characters. A player begins with the two main heroes in Batman’s universe, Batman himself and his sidekick Robin. As the player progresses, he/she will unlock many more popular DC super humans, both the members of JLA and their evil counterpart. Tapping on the upper left character portrait enables the player to select and activate a character from the party panel for direct control, while the one not selected will become a friendly but not so bright AI partner who follows around during moving and auto-attacks during encounters.
Each character has its special powers and some of them can be equipped with multiple suits to gain additional abilities. Character’s special abilities and identity are essential concerning the puzzle-solving part in the gaming procedure. In some occasions, it would require a specific character to deal with specific objects. For example, Batman’s boomerang can be applied to certain gadgets, Robin’s acrobat skill can help to pass through unconventional entrances, and superman’s super strength can open heavy doors. This part of the game is both entertaining and challenging as it makes the player think, and meanwhile, it is not so challenging as to block the player’s progress. Even for those who are not so familiar with DC’s super human, the game provides enough information signs and hints so that these players can easily find the way out.
This game is free to play but carries in-App purchases. Players have a choice of purchasing single character and characters pack to unlock new characters anytime they want, so they do not have to wait for the unlocking of a certain character to return to a certain scene and solve a side quest. Besides, there are very few boost items available in the built-in shop. This game is all about brain and technique.
The downside about LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes is that unlike Lego Batman 2, which supports two-player mode and has been positively labeled as family-friendly, this iOS version only supports single-player story mode. Aside from the puzzles-solving part, the player will be mostly just tapping around, beating up the enemies and destroying the environment. The gaming content has been significantly reduced. But still, it is a game as finely-made as its console version predecessor. It enables players to explore Batman’s universe while experiencing the superpowers of dozens of other super heroes. Those who are fans of the dark knight/who haven’t tried Lego Batman 2 should definitely give it a shot.
All in all, this is an intellectually challenging game. But once you get yourself immersed in it, you can draw much fun and sense of accomplishment.