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Lego Batman

February 20, 2013

I like Batman. I also like Lego. (Disclaimer: I am indeed a large manchild) As a Christmas present from my girlfriend, I have to say the choice is inspired.

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Lego Batman is a Batman game. In the Lego universe, where things can be quickly deconstructed and rebuilt into something else, usually much cooler. You play as Batman (or Robin but who wants to be Robin?) as he tries to foil ALL THE BAD GUYS after they all escaped from Arkham Asylum at the same time. The game is split into three stories, focussing on the Riddler, Penguin and Joker’s latest capers.

Each of these three chapters are split into five levels, usually ending in a boss fight with one of the villains working with one of the three baddies above. I was impressed by the range of villainy on show (to the point of confusion when they dredge up Man-Bat and Killer Moth). The levels are your standard Gotham/Lego-themed platforming, with occasioanl batches of goons in need of justice. There is also token vehicle level, one each for land, sea and air. In order to advance, Batman and Robin can swap suits to gain new abilities such as gliding, sonar and magnetic boots et al.

In addition to these fifteen levels, there are fifteen corresponding levels for the villains, involving their capers before Batman showed up to spoil the fun. They follow the same basic formula, swapping goons for police and batsuits for fixed inherent abilities. Mr Freeze has a freeze-ray, Joker has a hand-buzzer, the Riddler has mind control (Since when?!). This helps extend the life of a fun but rather short game.

This is a family-friendly Batman (Compare with Batman: Arkham City). When characters “die”, their lego models are just deconstructed, no worse than a four-year-old on a rampage. Much of the violence is the traditional biffs, bangs and wallops (which is still fun when its 10 Vs 1 against the Bat). The levels are sprinkled with humour and fun little peccadillos. Robin exists as comic foil. Because that’s what he is.

Yet despite this, the Joker uses double machine guns. That’s…that’s ok, is it?

This is a fun little diversion, with the exception of co-op play. The camera forces the two players to share the same angle which, like all compromises, pleases no-one. While it lacks the scope, pathos and epic vision of other games, other games with the Batman name, but what is wrong with a perfect piece of fun every now and then?

P.S. And for my birthday, I have gifted with Lego Batman 2. I am a Manchild with a wonderful girlfriend.

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