Lego The Lord of the Rings: Three Stars For The Elven-Kings Under The Sky [Review]

Lego LotR

I’ve always loved the Lego suite of licensed games more than most people do. They’ve always been the perfect storm for me: a unique combination of geekiness, humor, and obsessive collection and completion. Every time I pick one up, I don’t stop playing it until I’ve unlocked every character, found every collectible, and beat every secret level.

Lego The Lord of the Rings by TT Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $4.99

Needless to say, I am a fan.

The iOS version of developer Traveler’s Tales sweded version of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is out now; the epic 1.3-gig game contains Lego recaps of all three Lord of the Rings films, over 90 characters, and all the soon-to-be-dead orcs, goblins, and Uruk-Hai you can tap. And while the game is every bit as cute and collectastic as the other ones I’ve played, its easily confused controls bog it down a little.

That’s not to say that it’s unplayable, but you’ll have to muster all of your fandom and patience to really enjoy it.

I know I complain about touch controls a lot, but Lego LotR contains one extremely frustrating design choice. You have two ways to move your characters around: You can either drag across the screen like a virtual joystick, or you can just tap where you would like them to go. That’s fine.

But here’s how combat works: An enemy will come toward you, and you tap it to attack. That’s where the trouble begins, because you have to be precise with your taps to make sure that the game knows that you want to swing your sword instead of move your character. Fighting in these games has always been simple bordering on button-mashing, and a single encounter should be done pretty quickly. But over and over again, my character was facing the wrong way or moved when I wanted him to fight. It got a little frustrating, and the only reason I ended up not minding so much is that the game offers almost no consequences for dying. As in all the other titles, you just lose some money (Lego studs) and come right back to life where you were.

Its easily confused controls bog it down a little.

I was playing on an iPhone 4S, and I’m sure that the iPad’s bigger screen makes all of this way easier. But it felt like everything took way longer than it should have.

Regardless, I enjoy playing it. It’s a Lego game, so I pretty much like it automatically. But the success curve is steep, and the road to Mordor occasionally feels very long, indeed.

Lego LotRGame Name: : Lego The Lord of the Rings
The Precious: It’s cute, funny, and made of Lego. And Lord of the Rings is awesome.
The Tricksies: Controls are a bit dodgy on smaller screens, and actual dialogue from the movies sounds weird coming out of little Lego people.
The Verdict If you love Lego games and/or those movies, it’s a good buy. But one does not simply walk into Mordor; they miss a lot of sword swings and easy jumps on the way.
Buy from: App Store

Cult of Mac rating: 3/5

Related
  • pacifica

    The post begins: “I’ve always loved the Lego suite of licensed games more than most people.”

    … and I’ve always loved ambiguity more than most people.

  • Rob LeFebvre

    The post begins: “I’ve always loved the Lego suite of licensed games more than most people.”

    … and I’ve always loved ambiguity more than most people.

    Maybe he’s just being honest. Evan’s not that social a guy.

  • guyeverson

    I too was frustrated by the controls until I discovered that they were set to the default “casual” controls.

    In settings change this to “virtual” and you will get the joy stick and action buttons.

About the author

Evan KillhamEvan Killham lives in Nebraska and isn't interested in football, so he has plenty of time to play and think about video games. He has written for Bitmob and GamesBeat and sometimes, he even goes outside. But not too often because he's heard there are bees out there.

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