Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games have always managed to provide plenty of action and chuckles at the same time, but with LEGO Batman 2 this was improved tenfold by the use of voice acting and the introduction of Lego Superman to the mix.
Not only is Superman a great character in his own right, allowing you to fly around Gotham and Metropolis, but he also instigates some of the best moments in the game, thanks ot Robin’s hero worship and Batman’s grudging respect for someone he doesn’t always see eye to eye with (Super-power envy, anyone?)
Now TT Fusion, Travellers Tales sister developer, have ported the handheld version of the latest Batman game to iOS and I’m pleased to say that they’ve done a fantastic job in the process.
While previous LEGO games were fun, with LEGO Batman 2, the gameplay has evolved. While it still keeps the standard build, collect and work to the next checkpoint element, the different suits and characters now really come in to their own during puzzles and work alongside the characters’ own strengths in solving levels that now feel far more logical and consistent. Robin’s chemical cleanup suit gets a good airing, as does Batman’s electricity suit. Superman, being the guy he is, doesn’t need a suit but Traveller’s Tales have still created a balanced character who can use strength, laser beams and freezing breath but who doesn’t have a projectile weapon and can’t latch on to hooks.
The other heroes; Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Wonder Woman, don’t appear until right near the end of the story mode, but then Lego games have never been just about the story, despite this one being so exciting. In fact, there are plenty of other heroes and villains to collect long after the story has been completed, including fan favourite Nightwing.
Graphically, this version is as pretty as the console one, just without as much glitz from the cut scenes. While the levels may be cut down, the artwork certainly isn’t. Likewise, the music score from Danny Elfman for Batman and the classic John Williams tune for Superman are intact and just as great to hear coming out of your mobile speaker as they have ever been.
Unfortunately, the controls do let the side down a little. The default touch controls help make life a little easier, with taps to build or fight and swipes to throw objects, but they need careful pinpointing, which can be difficult on a small screen. The virtual controls work better for movement, but not so well for puzzles. It’s really a case of picking one and seeing how you get on.
In the console version, the game’s hub of Gotham City forms an open world map. For mobile, just as with the handheld versions, this has been scaled down to a more traditionsal level-by-level structure and the Batcave as a central location. While it would have been nice to have the sections where you drive (or fly, in Superman’s case) around the city, it’s still an impressive feat to fit these sized levels in an iOS game. We’re talking hald an hour to complete some of them.
Those who favour completing a game 100% will have to grind hard to find all the figures and bricks. For others, there’s an In App Payment option which lets you unlock characters earlier. It’s well balanced and you can choose to play the game either way, so there’s no qualms about how IAPs are used here.
Aside from the awkward controls, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes is a wonderful achievement on iOS, giving players a complete game experience that they can play anywhere.