Nintendo DS Review: Lego Ninjago

Should Lego stay or should it Ninjago?

Not content with the traditional platforming, adventuring games that are the Lego games, along comes a new Lego game which has another go at the RTS genre. Confused? I would be too with a game that uses Ninjas and actually has text boxes telling the story other than the usual goofing around of Lego characters to explain what is going on. So can this be the start of a new direction for the Lego franchise or should it go away?

Lego Ninjago has a typical hub to go from level to level through the story and 2 different campaigns to choose from. Each level has the usual collectables like studs, bricks and mini-kits scattered around, so nothing new has changed there…although the gameplay is dramatically different from the likes of Lego Star Wars as it’s switched to playing like an RTS. You’ll drag the stylus over what units you wish to move and tap where you want to go and to attack enemies. It handles like your very average RTS and it doesn’t offer any real challenge, but it’s not too bad in short bursts.

I wasn’t aware that TT had previously made a similar playing game in Lego Battles, so if you’ve played that…then it should be familiar. I guess the confusion came over the name since it’s just called Lego Ninjago: The Videogame here in the UK but it can be mixed up with Lego Battles: Ninjago, it was a bit confusing to say the least. I guess the real problem with Lego Ninjago is that it has quite limited replay value; you’ll have to hunt down collectables, use different characters to access certain areas of the game and buy items with the studs you gain, but there aren’t that many stages when compared to the bigger Lego games and it shows.

You can test your skills in the Battle Mode challenges and compete with friends and family via local multiplayer, but it’s all been done before and a lot better than this. I think if anything, I’m confused as to why the game doesn’t handle like a traditional Lego game and not a mixture of it and Lego Battles. Surely it would have been better to have a standard Lego game that perhaps added in stealth sections and great combat instead of being an average RTS? Just a thought…It also doesn’t help that the game looks very average as well, even for a DS game. It looks bland and dull, plus the “fog of war” can be a pain for those wanting to explore for collectables. Music is a letdown and the traditional Lego humour seems to be absent with this one.

The Verdict

Lego Ninjago is a disappointing attempt at bringing the series into the gaming world. It doesn’t make much sense as I can’t imagine many kids playing it for long and it’s rather limited anyway. Stick to the traditional Lego games for the best fun and sneak past this…

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