What do you mean, free?
So there you are, tidying up the box after putting together you new Lego Elves Dragon set, and there on the box is printed a happy little notice: Free App. In my experience no App is Free. They cost time. Sometimes a lot of it. It depends on the level of challenge, the replayability, the interface, the novelty, and the engagement in the underlying story. This one seduced me on most of these aspects.
The game opens with Emily Jones, human interloper in the world of Elves, once again activating her portal and being transported back to Elvendale. Here she encounters her friends from the previous series, and meets Ragana, the Dark Queen, who has imprisoned the Queen Dragon. And here you set off on your quest with the Elves, to find the elven symbols that will allow them to charm each of the elemental dragons. Gameplay
Each Elf needs to pass a series of challenges, ultimately bonding with the dragon that matches their particular element (Water, fire, earth or wind). The game involves a symbol matching challenge, with a requirement to match up symbols correlating with specific elements, in a given number of moves. There are barriers in your way, and some can be destroyed by having a chain of symbols matched next to them several times. Scoring is on the basis of length of chains, as well as the number of unused moves left at the end of the challenge.
After completing the basic challenges, each elf is then required to charm their dragon: Get the requisite number of ‘steps’ to the bottom of the screen, but not so quickly as to get too close to the dragon before you have charmed it – collecting the charm pieces by connecting a 3 or more in a row (including diagonal) next to it, 3 times.
These challenges are simple in the first few levels, but rapidy become more challenging to complete. Unlike DC superheroes Mighty Micros, where I could complete the majority of levels on the first attempt, some if these levels required multiple attempts to succeed in completing them. That was possibly the only time these Mighty Micros and Elves were compared in the same sentence…
Style and Story
The graphics in the animated/clip scene sections is of a similar nature to the Lego Elves cartoons, and gives a good general overview to the story behind the Dragons wave of the Lego Elves Sets. I had the opportunity to preview the second half of this wave these at a toy fair earlier this year, and I was already excited to know they are coming. This game has helped me to buy into the underlying plot line a little more. There is a lot of positive dialogue between Emily and the Elves, encouraging the unsure, praising success . Ultimately, the confrontation between Emily and the Elves, against Ragana results in some of the best shattering of the 4th wall I have ever seen in a casual game. You can see it on our spoiler page, as well as the shock ending…here
There is very little lego specific branding in the game. As you clear tiles from the screen, studs wash up towards the score board, but otherwise elements are only really encountered after charming a dragon and taking it for a fly. Pieces that are accumulated during this phase can be placed in the amulet.
The game play, and animation in the game is smooth, the color combinations pleasing and the music appropriate for this sort of casual game. It is easy to pick up, not so easy to put down, but once it is it can be readily resumed. Navigating to new levels is done by scrolling through the land scape, and touching on level icons. There are also multiplayer levels, playable on the one wi-fi network. It is far more a casual game than an arcade style game.
I would expect this game to appeal to the target demographic for Lego Elves – that is to say, humans old enough to communicate clearly and build easy to moderately challenging builds, as well as adult fans of casual gaming (AFOCGs ???). While quite replayable, there are a finite number of levels (36 in total), so it’s a game you can complete in a few hours if you are determined.Don’t play this game if you need to race, or shoot at things. However there are small, simulated fires and explosions when you match up symbols. These can be quite satisfying, especially as you clear a screen in one move. The music can be quite relaxing, unless you aren’t the person playing the game, in which case it becomes grating and irritating. Please use headphones, for your own safety.
If you are a fan of the Bubble Burst, Snake, Candy Crush Saga or Aurora Feint (my personal favorite for the first 2 years I owned an iPhone), and you wish to catch up with the mythology behind Lego Elves, I would recommend this game. It’s price is certainly extremely reasonable. I wonder if there will be a sequel?
Have you played Lego Elves Elvendale? What did you think?