Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: Action
Release Date: 11/14/06
Building on the success of LEGO: Star Wars and LEGO: Star Wars II, Bionicle: Heroes is coming very soon. Based on the most popular line of LEGOs ever, this title takes the same basic formula that was such a hit with the Star Wars games and transfers it to a different universe. Naturally, there are some changes to be made, but mostly the same gameplay will be present.
One of the reasons for the familiarity is that this is the same developer (TTGames) and a lot of what is changing is the LEGO line being used. Instead of the “old school” blocks the Bionicle range is being employed. What makes this title of special interest for Bionicle fans is that several ranges will appear in the game. Not only will the latest line be included, but some of the older models as well, mixing things up.
If you are not familiar with the core gameplay of LEGO: Star Wars (and you should be, shame on you) the idea is that players take on the role of a character, collect different LEGO pieces, and progress from one level to the next. There are of course puzzles to figure out, but they are all built around LEGO pieces and won’t be too terribly taxing on the brain (remember who the primary audience for this title will be).
It is the collecting of LEGO pieces that really takes up a lot of the gameplay here. There are destructible items, which, when destroyed will “dump” a number of pieces. The idea isn’t to collect 100 of the same piece in order to unlock a new level. Instead Bionicle: Heroes has players collecting thousands of pieces, which will be used to purchase upgrades to the characters, levels, etc.
Along side the normal rewards for collecting enough pieces, there is a bar alongside the collection meter which, when filled up allows the player to enter Hero Mode. You can probably imagine what Hero Mode entails (such as being able to take more hits) but the big advantage is getting past certain specific puzzles that need to be triggered by Hero Mode.
One example we were shown had the player in an open area on a beach blasting creatures and collecting LEGO pieces. In order to progress there is a large pile of LEGO pieces all in one color (gold) blocking a cave. By entering Hero Mode, those pieces lifted up and out of the cave, formed a creature which aids the player for a short time, and leaves the path ahead clear.
Where LEGO: Star Wars had a large number of film characters to unlock, there will be less with Bionicle: Heroes. Instead of switching out characters, there will be several masks placed throughout the level for players to collect. Each mask, naturally (as in the Bionicle world) has its own power. Players will be able to, when the proper mask is collected, fly, swim withstand heat, etc.
Making Bionicle: Heroes even more friendly for the core target audience is the death penalty. Rather than having to start a level over again, players will respawn earlier in the level, and if a specific task that requires a mask is lost, that mask will also respawn. There will be a total of 13 different masks to collect throughout the game. Targeting is also an easy affair with sight beams coming out of the eyes on screen pointing at what the player is… well, pointing at. When targeting, the game “auto-locks” to enable strafing. It’s all designed around being as friendly to the core Bionicle audience.
With 10 hours to complete the game (though not at 100% - that should take approximately 20 hours) this isn’t going to be one of those games that kids pick up but never finish. There are plenty of incentives for players to get through to 100% with loads on Bionicle information to check out and unlock. For those that are into the line, Bionicle: Heroes is shaping up to be one very nice game.