The recent paucity of original content on this blog has been contributed to somewhat by picking up LEGO Friends: Heartlake Rush and allowing it to distract me from writing for a week or so. In return for this, I feel obliged to review it.
Inspired by the ‘Design a Friends Go-Kart’ competition running on LEGO Rebrick, I downloaded Heartlake Rush, an endless runner game. Here, you can take the residents of Heartlake City out for a drive: dodging obstacles, accumulating studs and gathering prizes to complete missions. Heartache Rush is available on both iOS and Android platforms for free. As a bonus to parents being nagged to the point of exhaustion, there are no in-app purchases!
You start the game by selecting your character: there is the range of the five friends: Andrea, Stephanie, Olivia, Mia and Emma, as well as Liam, Stephen, Ethan, Daniel (trapped here in his Hot Dog Suit) and Emily jones, on sabbatical from Elvendale! Each character has their own specific car. The figures depicted are shown following the 2018 design update.
Further characters can be unlocked after gathering an ever increasing number of studs. You can take any unlocked car out with any unlocked character, and apply any set of decals. Unfortunately, this is the extent of customization.
Your car travels in one of three lanes, with a swipe on the screen moving your car from one lane to another. An upwards swipe makes your car jump, and a downwards swipe allows you to duck under gates and certain barriers. On my iPhone, the upwards swipe occasionally brings up the control centre, pausing the game. As I am generally trying to jump over an obstacle when this happens, it can become a bit of a tricky situation.
Obstacles to dodge include vans, buses, road signs, barricades, planter boxes and what appear to be large wooden shipping containers. Some moving obstacles include vans, buses and motor scooters.
An upward swipe will clear low barricades, shipping containers and vans. A further upward swipe can get you high enough to clear other obstacles, or jump from a van onto the roof of a bus. You can switch lanes whilst jumping.
Each character has a challenge to complete to unlock decals for their car. It generally involves gathering a number of prizes in a single run, Similar challenges must be completed to advance each level.
As you travel, you gain points for distance travelled, studs collected and prizes gained. Daily accumulation of 10000 points results in a 2500 point reward.
Running over Olivia’s robot, Zobo, results in your car being converted into a jet, soaring above the streets of Heartlake City. For a brief period you are invulnerable- able to collect studs and prizes without fear of crashing. Before long however, you return to earth, the wings fall off and your car returns to its normal state.
As you level up, some of the moves, become harder to execute, due to less of a gap between vehicles, and prizes seem to become a little less common. The speed that the world races by at seems to increase a little as well.
Crashing into an object results in your driver turning back at looking at you with varying degrees of incredulity!
The game play is quite engaging, and every time I played a level, it is slightly different to the previous play, although the content becomes a little repetitive after a while. That said, the variation in ‘missions’ keeps each level fresh, even if the nature of each level is a bit repetitive.
A bit of variety
If you get weary of zooming throughHeartlake City, you can vanish down the portal and visit the realm of Elvendale.
Flying through the forests is a little different compared to the mean streets of Heartlake City. You can fly on the eagle, air dragon or lion! There are golden spiders and bats to dodge while gathering Elvenstars. This subgame is time limited, and crashes into bats and spiders will reduce the time available (again, collecting a glowing ring/sphere/orb gives you the boost of speed and the ability to knock creatures out of the sky with impunity for a second or so).
I find myself comparing this game with another LEGO endless runner type of game: the LEGO Batman Movie. I found the game play here felt a little less repetitive, which is odd given the type of game is almost identical. Perhaps the bright color palette makes it easier on the eyes than the black, Black and BLACK colour scheme of LEGO Batman.
The sound of the engine of the car is also more bearable than the stamp – stamp- stamp of bat-feet funning along the course, especially if the music is turned off.
LEGO Batman Movie offers a greater level of customization: not just upgrading to a more appealing Batsuit, but also upgrading the vehicles that you can use- buying extra options: weapons, tires, parts of different TLBM sets I would love to see the ability to upgrade aspects of your car in a future update- perhaps to coincide with the go kart subtheme later in the year.
I find it interesting that this is a more appealing game for me than the LEGO Batman Movie endless runner game – perhaps more obvious progress and brighter colour scheme works better for me.
This game has stolen hours from me in the last week. I feel as though progress is simpler that with other ‘endless runner’ type games, and I have a greater sense of satisfaction playing this than other similar games in the past. If looking for a way to pass a bit of time, with no fear of inadvertently spending lots on in -game purchases, you could do worse thing with your time than play Heartlake Rush! I give it 3 out of 5 arbitrary praise units.
Have you been distracted by a LEGO Branded Casual Game? Or do you prefer your gaming to be independent of your favourite plastic brick? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time…