Play On: The LEGO Batman Movie App.

Are you Game?

There I was, browsing through my LEGO Life newsfeed, and the announcement leapt out at me: The LEGO® Batman™ Movie App, now available for download.  So I visited my App Store of choice and tracked it down.  It had the right price: this App is free, with no claim of in-app purchases. But what would the cost be?

The opening splash screen give you some options for where to start. You can choose to watch videos, read about the Lego sets, play the game,customize your vehicle or purchase upgrades in return for studs that you collect around the game..

Let us start with the game…

The game starts of interestingly enough: Select your character: Batman or BatGirl with the promise of many others to unlock as you gain the universal unit of LEGO®game currency: the stud.  And run.  Just run. Dodge, jump over, or slide under obstacles. Occasionally, you may gain the use of a vehicle – initially the standard Batmobile from the movie, but able to be customised – and crash through barricades.

Start with Batman and Batgirl unlocked, and unlock other suits in return for studs.

Swipe left and right to dodge gates. Continue reading

Play on: LEGO City My City 2

As I browsed through my mobile platform’s App Store recently I came across a LEGO game that was new to me, the somewhat awkwardly titled LEGO City My City 2.  Having missed both the placement of a colon and LEGO City My City 1, I had no idea of what to expect.

Perhaps more correctly LEGO City: My City 2, this is an app bundling various LEGO City  games for your favorite mobile platform.   Unless your favorite platform is Microsoft Mobile… If you prefer to play on desktop, you can find them here.  Th play experience is superior on the mobile platform, as the games are already loaded and ready to go!

Construction missions and Games are based around this year’s LEGO City Subthemes: Police, Prison Island, Fire, Airport and Volcano Explorers.  First you select a mission to complete – a number of bricks are required to be collected to complete these missions – building a new fire training facility, rebuilding an airport and so forth.  There are then a variety of mini games to play in order to gain studs.  Studs are gained by passing over them in the game field, completing the mission in the allocated time, and also a time  bonus.  Studs are converted to bricks at the end of a game.   The current exchange rate seems to be 10 studs to the brick.
img_2371 Continue reading

Play On: Updated Adventures in Elvendale and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros Apps

Sorry about the relative quiet on the blog this last week: if you have been following the Rabling Brick on Instagram or Facebook, you would have noticed that I am currently away, and I have taken some minifigs with me… And then something happened:

There I was minding my business, and browsing the iTunes store, and I checked out this weeks updates.  Two excited me.  These include updates to LEGO Elves: Elvendale Adventures and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros. I reviewed both of these apps earlier in the year, and while both were enjoyable, Mighty Micros appeared to have a couple of bugs in it.  Elvendale adventures was satisfying, but had limited content.

Elvendale Adventures 2.0

This is touted as a major upgrade: At the end of version 1, the Elves confronted Ragana Ragana the Evil Elf Witch who had kidnapped the Queen Dragon. There was some exciting dialog at the end of the four Elemental sequences, with Ragana capturing the dragon’s essences.  I was hoping our new sequence would result in a greater revelation as to the underlying story.  The levels involved here are of a higher difficulty than the previous levels.  Some of the tiles to collect have special powers: one type clears portions of a row, another changing all of the tiles adjacent to a certain element: great for collecting that element, not so helpful if you have two or three of these elements close together, because they will turn the other to a simple elemental piece,losing its power, and ability to be collected. Both of these pieces are required to be the second or later tile collected in a move.  Multiple ‘power pieces’ can be collected in the course of a turn, and this becomes necessary as the number of tiles needing to be collected increases significantly at the higher levels.

Oncompleting the leves, there are none of the conversation bubbles that occurred in version one, and unfortunately this continues through: when the levels are completed, there is no dialog, or expostition of the storyline.  Which is a shame, because it did make completing the singleplayer game well worth while with version one.

A further upgrade in 2017 is also teased.

elves update.png
The opening screens have been updated
elves update2.png
Some of the new action from version 2

All in all I enjoyed the upgrade to the game, but I do feel that removing the cartoon dialog boxes has detracted from the overall experience. My other gripe with the game is that while you are selecting the level to play, it is a little difficult to discern the ones you have completed, compared to those to be done. Still, if you like a casual game and have finished the first version, this will give you a couple of hours of diversion. All it will cost you is time…

LEGO DC SuperHeroes Mighty Micros 1.1.198

LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros has one of the most unwieldy names of any App that I have seen.  But it is fun, fast moving and a little bit amusing in all the right ways.  It has

mm1
Hopefully I can unlock this soon!  Let me know if you manage to.
mm2
Stickers!  I am a little over stickers!

also been a bit bit buggy: I have been failing for months to unlock the final ‘sreet layout’ – this version promises bug fixes, as well as enhancing game play through the addition of stickers to unlock with achievements, including activities in the BatCave, as well as number of crashes into witches hats/ studs/ lamp posts and goodness knows what else.  I am yet to unlock the elusive final level to complete… but if if fixes this problem, it will certainly be worth the bandwidth required to download it!

But will the addition of some additional achievements to unlock enhance its long term playability?  It will become all about the grind, which could become fairly uninspiring for all but the most determinined completionist.

 

In Conclusion

Both of these games have been great little time wasters with different limitations: Elvendale Adventures is teasing to much towards unknown content at this stage at the end of the day, and LDCSHMM being to hard to pronounce or spell, plus the game feeling like it was only about 85% finished.  These new updates improve functionality and hopefully allow the bugs to get ironed out.  Time has prevented me from attempting to unlock the mystery street map at this time: we will see how we go with time.

Now if only the LEGO Marvel Superheroes Mighty Micros could be simply produced. I would never get productive work completed again…

 

Play well

 

Play Well

 

NEXO KNIGHTS: Phygital Survey Results

IMG_9812

So: UK Voted to leave the EU, the US Republicans have accepted Donald Trump, the Democrats accepted Hillary Clinton and the Australians returned the their conservative Government, with a reduced majority.  If these results show anything at all, it is that you should not squander your right to vote, because you can’t rely on your fellow citizens doing what you might be expecting of them.

So… How did readers vote on their experience of multimodal NEXO knight experience?  Of course, half way through the process here, the world was swamped by Pokemon Go, possibly the ultimate phygital experience…

As such, responses were limited, but give an insight into how things are proceeding in my limited audience. Continue reading

Play on: NEXO Knights and Portmanteau words

Image (c) The Lego Group

Lets get Phygital!

So earlier in the year, Nexo Knights was unleashed on the world.  A castle sci-fi mash up theme with weird angular pieces, a garish color scheme and an associated cartoon. Then the sets hit the streets, to a generally positive reaction: certainly the sets have.  With their novel angles, distinctive colour scheme and an soon to be seen cartoon, marketing people were starting to use this strange new word.  Phygital. A portmanteau word: Physical play, linking in with with a digital experience: Or…some way to get the kids to play with the toy, because there is an associated video game and TV show. The NEXO Knights were set up to be a triple media experience: Lego sets, that interacted with the video game; A cartoon that inspires children to use of construction toy; A video game featuring characters from the cartoon, set up as a quest based battle game with powerups. Powerups you collect through obtaining lego sets, other merchandise, and watching the cartoon.

The Rambling Brick has already had a look at some of the new pieces and sets associated with NEXO knights…inspiring many of our early blog posts. You can see them here, here, here and here.

But… how about the other aspects of the phygital world? Specifically the less physical and more digital. The animated series is self explanatory: the characters are developed, and grow over the course of the first series- some more so than others.  These help to guide set based play, and provide stepping stones for a child’s own story telling.  It is far more a Kids’ Show rather than a Family Show, particularly with the brand of story telling involved. There is also no doubt, looking at the characters that this is a LEGO series, with the graphic style being very minifig oriented.  The game however warrants a look into in its own right. Continue reading

An Unexpected System Problem: What I learned from 71204: LEGO Dimensions: Doctor Who Level Pack

Public health advisory: This post contains extreme trivia regarding illegal connections for various LEGO pieces.  And Doctor Who. Whilst all care will be taken by the author, the rambling brick accepts no responsibility for the exacerbation of any obsessive symptoms that develop after reading this article.  You have been warned.  And yes, I’m feeling fine, thanks. But perhaps I should get out more!

I like Doctor Who.  My first exposure was on a black and white television in country Victoria, sometime in 1975.  Episode 3 of Planet of the Spiders. Pertwee’s swan song.  Four weeks later I had my first experience with Tom Baker: the end of episode 3 of Robot.  Hat. Scarf. Teeth.  Between this, and an early reading experience based on a seemingly infinite collection of Target novelisations I was hooked(before downloads, legal or otherwise, blu-ray or DVD, we had VHS and Betamax video tapes.  These did not yet exist.  The only economical way to re-experience Doctor Who was through reading books, frequently written by Terrance Dicks as well as other writers, that documented the Classic version of the Television Series. Books are what we used to read before audio books did the process automatically for us…)

Should I even tell the English readers of this blog that in the late 70’s through to the end of the Sylvester McCoy run, Australians had Doctor Who on television, around 6:30, Monday to Thursday? For most of the year.  We experienced repeats.  Mainly Pertwee, T Baker, Davison repeats, but repeats nonetheless.  You didn’t even need to read the novel to know what happened if you missed the first broadcast. No. I shouldn’t tell them.  That would be cruel and unusual. And then they’s mention our last Ashes defeat. Repeatedly.

IMG_8812Fast forward forty years, and the news breaks on LEGO Ideas: after years of an inferior brand having the Official Doctor Who Construction Toy License, there is now to be an official LEGO set.  Released in time for Christmas 2015, it featured the TARDIS, the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi versions of the Doctor in minifigure form, along with Clara Oswald, a Weeping Angel and a Dalek.  This occurs almost in parallel with the release of a Doctor Who Level Pack for LEGO Dimensions, a ‘toys to life’ video game, that only appears to cost $AU125…but really costs much much more.  This pack features Doctor Capaldi, the TARDIS and K9.  Then there came a Fun Pack featuring a Cyberman and a Dalek.  Possibly the only time ‘Fun’ and ‘Cyberman’ can be legitimately combined in a sentence.  Daleks had previously appeared in the phrase: ‘Hours of fun with this new Remote Controlled Dalek.’

This is not a thorough review of that Level pack.  It’s not even an attempt at a review with a significant word count.  I will say that it is fun. If you like Doctor Who and have Dimensions, you should get it. If only for what happens when you use the Doctor in normal game play after playing through the Level.

But this is not that story.  This is a story about table scrap and and a serendipitous discovery. Continue reading

Play On: Ninjago Skybound

IMG_9442

So… having never invested in Ninjago as a theme, it seems to have taken up a little more of my time than originally planned this year.  So, having looked at a couple of sets, I thought I would (once again) succumb to the message on the side of the box… Free App: Available on iTunes or Google Play.  So, while Mighty Micros is an arcade racer, and Adventures in Elvendale is a colour matching casual game, Ninjago: Skybound is a platform game.  The opening screens reveal that the Ninjas’s souls, except for Kai, have been captured within the djinn blade of the evil  Nadakhan.  Kai must pass through a number of quests to rescue his friends. Continue reading