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iPhone App Review: LEGO Batman: Gotham City Nights

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Continuing the popular LEGO series of video games, you can now play LEGOs on your iPhone. Well, kind of. LEGO Batman: Gotham City Games capitalizes on the franchise by developing a version for your pocket.

Gotham City Games is a collection of mini-games. The literature claims 16 different games, but many of these games are the same games, just with different themes. There are two modes: story mode and free play mode. In story mode, there is a weak story about defeating the villains of Gotham, told in comic panels. I stopped reading them because they were borderline nonsensical. In free play mode, you can scroll around a 3D map of Gotham and choose games at will. Most must be unlocked first in story mode.

Games are a mixed bag of classics and more specialized, including a shell game, pinball, bowling, skeet shooting, sliding puzzle, and a boxing-themed, Simon-esque game (you watch the pattern and repeat it). There's also "Plug the Leaks" , in which a system of pipes keep springing leaks and you must place your fingers over the leaks until they stop or you will drown.

Other mini-games include “Fear in the Sky”, which has you piloting the Batwing though a field of enemy planes. Use the accelerometer to maneuver the Batwing. A fatal flaw in this game is that you cannot control your own firing – it fires automatically, which makes it hard to fight off the near-solid wall of enemy planes. “Bomb Surprise” has The Scarecrow dropping Jack o’ Lantern-shaped LEGO heads. You must tilt the iPhone side to side, maneuvering the paddle to catch the bombs and protect your force fields. For “Batarang Skill Shot” you tilt the iPhone left or right to guide your Batarang through targets. In “Helicopter Getaway” you guide the Joker’s helicopter through the skies while collecting Lego studs and avoiding stacks of bricks and police choppers.

Control response for each games varies. The accelerometer games are far more responsive than the touch games (especially the shooting ones). Graphics are great with their bright colors and smooth animations. It's very stylized – LEGO meets Batman meets neon (everything has a weird, glowy neon quality to it). It’s cute stuff, but honestly doesn’t have a lot of replayability. The games themselves are not particularly innovative. They are good for maybe a half-hour total play time. I tried playing some of the games a few weeks after my initial play time, and couldn’t make it through a single game.

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  • Leo

    Thought this would be like the video game on the playstation. But it’s not.

    No stars!

  • mike dimitrelis