LEGO The Lord of the Rings

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
LEGO The Lord of the Rings App Poster Image
Darker rendition of the fantasy classic a little stale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

LEGO The Lord of the Rings wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Ease of Play

The controls are fairly intuitive. Characters respawn when they're killed, so there's no real way to lose (although you lose 'coins' when you're struck down). 

Violence

No blood or gore but a whole lot of fighting. Weapons include swords, axes, and magic. Plenty of grunts and "hack 'n slash" sound effects. When characters die, they simply break apart into Lego pieces.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

In-app purchases are available, ranging from $1 to $5. The game also has full-screen ads for other Lego apps. Further, the game ties in to the LEGO Lord of the Rings toy and building sets, which are advertised in the instruction booklet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Patrons hold mugs in a medieval-style tavern.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LEGO The Lord of the Rings is an action/adventure title set in J.R.R. Tolkien's imagined universe and rendered in the classic toy blocks. There's plenty of fighting but not a whole lot of violence, since the characters simply break into smaller blocks when they die. The story follows the popular movies closely, meaning important characters die, though not nearly as violently as they do on-screen. Parents may want to be wary of the cross-marketing, as it blends gaming, the films, and a huge toy line into a single entity.

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What's it about?

Playing as the character of your choice, you'll walk around Middle Earth, dealing with its dangers and delights, including solving puzzles and attacking orcs. Players can choose between virtual controls (a virtual thumbstick on the bottom left and touch buttons on the right) or touch-based controls (simply touching the screen where you want to move and attack). Preferred methods will depend on the user, but the virtual controls cluster the buttons very close -- especially close if you're playing on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Players unlock new characters as they move deeper into the game and can pay to unlock others using studs, the little currency blocks you collect while playing. 

Is it any good?

It's important for fans of the console version of LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS to realize they're not getting the game they know with this version. Based on the Nintendo DS version, this is a stepchild of sorts for the franchise, missing some of the features that made the console version a hit. It's still a fun game, but it has some weaknesses. 

If you're expecting the humor that usually accompanies Lego games, it's a bit harder to find here. With the source material so dark, the developers adopted a more serious tone. And if you'd like to play a fraction of a level at a time, forget it. "You shall not save" (mid-level) seems to be a theme. Sounds are mostly lifted (sometimes obviously) from the film's soundtrack. And if you don't know the LOTR story already, you won't have a clue as to what's happening. The action is what you've come to expect from a Lego title, though: The schtick is getting a bit stale, but it's still pretty good. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about epic tales such as the Lord of the Rings saga. Why is it fun to get immersed in a whole other world? 

  • Have your kids try to recreate their favorite scenes in the app by acting them out. 

App details

For kids who love fantasy

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