Mar 27, 2014
Lego has established a pretty good name in the medium of video games. Thanks to Traveller’s Tales and their ability to make charming platformers based off Danish bricks, there’s a certain level of expectation that now comes with a game that has the Lego name plastered all over it.
Lego Hero Factory: Invasion From Below doesn’t live up to quite that standard, but it’s fun and polished enough as it is.
There’s a fairly basic premise on which the game’s based around, which is to be expected given its likely aimed at those aged 5+. The story is as follows;
Robotic bugs sprout from the ground. You play as a bunch of Lego robot heroes. You shoot said bugs and then climb into bigger robots so that you can fight bigger bugs. Simple.
Gameplay takes the form of a wave-based platform shooter. The levels contain platforms and pitfalls to avoid, though lack any interactivity. Crates are dotted about and you need to open these crates to get what’s inside. What’s inside, you ask?
Well, the answer is powerups. You’ll find extra lives , speed boosts and ammo upgrades to make your waves that much easier to live through. The challenge of each wave comes in the form of little robot bugs. These bugs simply crawl and jump towards you, happy to ignore your laser shots to the face.
Once you’ve broken enough crates and have been lucky enough to three magical cogs, you’re now allowed to move onto the second phase of the game. The second phase seeing you in a big robot mech thing. The gameplay doesn’t change at all and it just looks like this is another toy you can buy. Cynical of me, I know, but no doubt the truth.
You still have to shoot robot bugs but your aim isn’t to collect magic cogs. When in your mech-suit, you need to concentrate on taking out the boss. Don’t get excited, the bosses are just as straightforward as the other enemies you face.
Cutscenes showing the heroes (available in all good toy stores) are shown between levels and contain something close to a story, but end up feeling like an advert. Then again, a 7 year old may love them.
Once you’ve completed your level you get the chance to upgrade yourself. These upgrades are rewarded for completing challenges in-game. Challenges such as ‘shoot 30 bugs in a wave’. So whilst you may want to get through the levels quickly, it pays to stick around and shoot a few robo-spiders.
Upgrades are run of the mill. Jump higher, shoot faster, more armour, etc, etc. They’ll all be needed as the game quickly ramps up the strength of the enemies you face in the story mode.
This difficulty ramp becomes a slight issue as when you die in story mode you have to spend a ‘credit’. You get a ‘credit’ every 10 mins and can only (by default) store 2 credits at a time.
So, you can either pay to not have to wait for the story mode to become playable or you can while away your minutes of waiting by playing in battle mode.
Battle mode is exactly the same as story mode though you only play against monsters you’ve come across in the main game. You still earn upgrade points though, so it’s worth doing, even if you’re not making any ‘real’ progress through the game.
So whilst the game doesn’t contain anything ground breaking and is hugely simple, it’s all done with a good level of polish that will no doubt please its intended audience.