Legends of Chima is latest toy line from the purveyors of the popular plastic bricks, and this free iOS download is the first of three tie-in games. Although we can understand why there are three games in the pipeline, seeing as they’re all due on different formats, we can’t comprehend why a game which has a seemingly rich mystical back story has been given the subtitle ‘Speedorz’. That sounds like a name Rustlers would give a new line of microwaveable burgers or similar re-heatable treat.
Nevertheless, that slightly irksome part of the game’s title refers to the vehicles that the characters use to get around the kingdom of Chima. One-on-one races are the order of the day, with the idea being to collect as much ‘Chi’ (read: mystical orbs) as possible. Chi is collected in a number of ways, with the foremost being to hit targets and smash into obstacles such as stacks of boulders placed haphazardly on the track. At the end of each race there’s a short animation of the two characters going head-to-head (quite literally considering a collision is involved), with the victor then performing a spot of break dancing in celebration. Sadly, that’s about the only time the humour we’ve come to expect in the LEGO games is present.
Handling is reminiscent of the early Wipeout games – the slightest touch of a directional button sends the Lion-o alike lead character Laval careering from one side of the track to the other. Thankfully the Speedor isn’t slowed down to any significant amount when hitting the side of the track. As a matter of fact, due to iffy collision detection most obstacles can simply be passed through.
At the side of the screen there’s a boost bar to fill up which is then activated by dragging down a ripcord icon. When to use it wisely is one of the few nuances to learn. Where there are a few targets on the track to hit, for instance, you’re better off slowing down to give time to manoeuvre from one to the other. Learning the tracks does take a little bit of time, with emphasis on the word ‘little’ there. Each cup features just one track, albeit one that has different paths depending on which rival you’re up against. Two other cups are planned at a later date, presumably via a free update.
It is at least a pretty good looking game for a freebie, and although the frame rate chugged in places on our humble iPhone 4, it’s a zippy little number too. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few assets from it were recycled for the PS Vita and 3DS Legends of Chima games.
Ultimately though, whereas the likes of LEGO Batman and LEGO Star Wars feel like labours of love – right to the point where adults can find enjoyment in them even without a child in tow – this tie-in feels like it exists simply to promote the toy line. There are a few more original elements to it than we were expecting, but just because a game has a few unique ideas doesn’t automatically make it a decent experience.
iTunes App Store: free