LEGO Star Wars in 2005 should have been terrible. Not only was it based on some dubious cash-in sequel filmmaking by George Lucas, but it was also clearly a marketing ploy for a new range of children’s toy.
Against all odds however TT Games pulled out a masterpiece, combining accessible co-op play with some challenging set pieces and family humour. Since then two Star Wars sequels have been released, followed by Lego games based on Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean.
With a formula in danger of becoming tired and repetitive then, this week sees an attempt to revitalise it with the release of Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (7+, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS, 3DS, Vita, £24.99-£34.99).
It is the first game in the Lego series to feature full voice acting, as opposed to the comedy miming of previous titles. It is also evolving the game play into a more ‘open world’ idea, where players can explore Gotham City together or separately, breaking the whole city into Lego bricks to use to build new suits and objects.
Batman and Robin are joined by Superman and The Justice League as playable characters, and the graphics look to have had a polish. Expect a lot of parody, puzzles and hours of fun. Also released tomorrow is Pro Cycling Manager 2012 (3+, PC, £19.99) in which you train a team of cyclists for a season of 180 official competitions.
It’s difficult to see how the game will appeal to non enthusiasts of the sport, but hopefully the developer Cyanide is better at strategy than arcade games - last years Tour de France on PS3 and Xbox 360 was clunky and impenetrable.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (18+, Xbox 360, 39.99) finally gives owners of the Kinect motion sensor something of real substance.
Players pilot a futuristic mech (pictured) using a controller, but also interact with the environment using their own body.
Standing lets you open the top hatch of the machine and look out, and reaching to the side allows interaction with co-pilots.
Given that the developer From Software was responsible for the hard Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, expect a real challenge with this one.
Finally this week, the St James Centre branch of beleaguered high street chain GAME has announced it will be participating in Sick Kids Save Point, the games marathon to raise funds for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation in October.
Tom Freeman organises Sick Kids Save Point. Find them on twitter @SKsavepoint