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Monday, January 28, 2013

Game Reviews

I confess. I'm a game addict. Sometimes. It has to be the right kind of game. I've spent way too much time the last couple of weeks conquering Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for the Wii. And too much time before that playing Lego Lord of the Rings. I love those Lego games.

I am horribly uncoordinated, always have been. Hand-eye is not my forte. I've always preferred games that didn't require coordination. I played RPGs on my computer where when you encountered a monster, you hit "F" for fight until it died. That's the kind of game I like. So console games haven't been on my list to play, other than the occasional bout of Tetris. (I'm still the Queen of Tetris at our house. Nobody's beaten my record of 234 lines.)

A few years ago, we got Lego Indiana Jones for our Wii. I fell in love. Here was a game I could handle. There were a few spots I had to get my son to navigate for me, but they were very few. The point of the game was to re-live the movies as Lego characters. Sort of. The game involves a lot of smashing and destruction, things I love to do in a game. The movie cut scenes were hysterically funny. The game added lots of little touches that just made it that much more fun. Indy has a special move with his whip that catches whatever female character is close and pulls her in for a kiss. He's scared of snakes and can't do anything if you get him too close to any. A frozen Luke Skywalker is hanging in the Yeti's cave. No, Indiana Jones did not encounter a Yeti. But he should have.

When Lego Star Wars came out, I was eager to get my hands on it. It isn't nearly as much fun. The play is a lot more complicated, for one thing. I've run into several levels that I can't pass no matter how hard I try. Several of them give me massive motion sickness migraines. And the silliness is mostly missing.

Lego Lord of the Rings lives up to Indiana Jones. It's not silly, mostly because the story is a lot more serious, but it does have some very funny moments. The game is huge, following the three movies/books in game play with a massive overworld of Middle Earth to explore. There are games and trophies galore. The characters are wonderfully animated. Gollum is the freakiest Lego I've ever seen. Game play isn't that difficult. Some areas took a lot of patience and dexterity to conquer, but they weren't essential to the game, only to getting every prize. The dynamic split screen made me dizzy until we figured out that you can change it to static mode.

Lego Pirates was exactly what I needed. Lots of pirate action, lots of silliness, a perpetually drunk Jack Sparrow, and not too complicated game play. Some of the puzzles took work to figure out, true, but they didn't require massive amounts of hand-eye coordination. The game really needs to played at least twice - once in story mode to unlock all the others, then again in free play so you can find all the hidden rooms and treasures. My only real complaint, other than that I want MORE, is the dynamic split screen. You can't set it to static. I recommend this game as a one-player, but only for that reason.

All of the games are rated E 10+ for cartoon violence and lego smashing. They are bright and happy colored, just like Legos. The games are entertaining without being so hard they frustrate all but the most determined players. Overall, I give them two thumbs up and 5-stars. Except Lego Star Wars. I have to rate that as a 3-star.

This article has a lot more information about the games, although it doesn't include Lego LOTR.