Lego games on consoles are mostly really enjoyable, but as proven recently with the release of The Yoda Chronicles for Android, the brand doesn’t always attach its name to winners. The problem with the Star Wars-themed game was that it was slow, frustrating and deathly dull, certainly not what you’d want for the kids at whom it was aimed. So, step forward another Lego game for Android, and this time it’s based on Lego City. Called Rapid Rescue, you play a member of the coast guard who must rescue silly tourists who’ve got themselves stranded out at sea.
The action is viewed from the top down, with a slight 3D effect, and the game is essentially a version of all those familiar line-drawing apps, such as Flight Control and Jaws. This means you must guide your vehicle towards the hapless holiday makers by tracing a line on the screen, avoiding the obstacles, and navigating through the islands. Your performance is measured by the amount of stars left on the timer when you rescue the last person, and as usual, you’re aiming to have three on the scoreboard.
There are gold Lego bricks floating in the water which extend the time you have available, but as there are often multiple people to rescue, it takes some crafty navigation to collect them at the right point to maximise the amount of stars. Whirlpools and currents can help or hinder your progress, sharks block your path, plus there are several vehicles at your disposal – a jet ski, speedboat and a helicopter – to help finish the level in record time.
Right, the first thing you need to know about Rapid Rescue is it’s better than The Yoda Chronicles, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be winning any game of the year awards. For some reason, Lego has decided the game doesn’t need any instructions, and players must work everything out themselves. Normally, this isn’t much of a problem, but Rapid Rescue has several little foibles which are quite baffling. The scoring for example, makes no sense. You start with no score, and must work up to three stars by collecting blocks in the water; except collecting them doesn’t always make any difference, and when it does, you’ve no idea why.
This gets very frustrating, particularly on multi-vehicle levels, when it seems like things should be done in a certain order, but as the game never gives you any hints, it’s all guesswork. You end up accepting a one star score – which you get for rescuing all the people, so you can’t fail – just to move onto the next level, making you question the point of playing at all. There’s also no indication you can use the helicopter when it turns up in the game, and you’d only know it does something because of reading the blurb on Google Play, but at least it tells you to tap on the sharks to make them dive underwater.
For a game which will mainly appeal to young Lego City fans, it gets very difficult later on. Well, each stage can be passed without trying, but if you want to grab three stars, it can be a serious challenge; at least it is without a clear idea of how to play properly. It’s a shame really, as for the first ten minutes it’s quite good fun, and just a little more care and attention would have made it a really great freebie game.
Playing Rapid Rescue is simple, as all it takes is a swipe across the screen to guide your boat, and the menu is the usual identikit system seen on everything from Angry Birds to Cut the Rope. The audio is good, with a catchy, rocky soundtrack, but the effects aren’t all that great, and oddly play at a higher volume than the music. Graphically, Rapid Rescue is relatively basic, but it is colourful and the Lego Minifigures and vehicles resemble their brick-built counterparts perfectly.
Lego City Rapid Rescue is free to download, and played without a problem on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet. It should keep young Lego fans happy, but the lack of instruction may frustrate those who want to do their best.