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LEGO The Lord of the Rings' transition to iOS is impeccably smooth, even if you'll miss out on some of the more exciting moments from the Mac version. Guiding Frodo Baggins and his crew of heroes on the path to Mordor works amazingly well on the smaller screen of an iPad or iPhone — and when the ring is finally cast into the fire, you'll still want to return to the fold to grab all of the elusive collectibles in Free Play mode.
Spanning all of the major events in the film trilogy, LEGO The Lord of the Rings takes a pleasantly somber tone in comparison to other LEGO games. The subject matter is given a great deal of respect, albeit with occasional sight gags like Gimli scratching his backside, or swords replaced with bright yellow bananas. The new touch controls are terribly awkward — such as using two fingers to jump — but the option for on-screen virtual controls works surprisingly well.
Every scene from last spring’s Mac version is included, but some of the gameplay is slightly more condensed. A battle against the Witch King, for example, removes the challenge of an enemy dragon and turns the fight into a simple melee affair. That’s kind of a bummer, but standing on its own merits, LEGO Lord of the Rings is still a blast to play. Some collectibles can only be accessed in a second playthough, and finding enough little LEGO caps to unlock playable characters is reason enough to revisit each level.
The main draw, of course, is slashing orcs and solving situational puzzles by assembling LEGO bricks. While your party members do an adequate job of assisting with tasks like simultaneously opening door switches, it's hard not to long for some type of multiplayer component. The Mac version at least offered local co-op play, but you're totally on your own this time around.
The bottom line. LEGO The Lord of the Rings may not match its much pricier Mac counterpart on features or gameplay depth, but it's still the best LEGO game on iOS by a wide margin.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later
Actual dialogue from the film trilogy. Tons of replayable content. Great hack-and-slash gameplay.
No co-op play. Missing some of the Mac version's finer moments.