Console and PC gamers each have their respective arguments in believing their mode of playing is the best. Whether it's stellar graphics or getting the full home entertainment experience, these are elements an iOS enthusiast can't fully lay claim to. But there are huge advantages of adventuring with a tablet, and Lego Lord of the Rings showcases one of the iPad's prime strengths.

For initiates to Lego Lord of the Rings, it's a retelling of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as interpreted by the Lego universe. Famous as well as pivotal lines from Peter Jackson's classics are heard throughout the game, as players solve puzzles with the help of a merry band of hobbits, Strider, and various other figures from the epic tale.

Players can choose a casual control or a virtual console to navigate the party. Tablet experts should be fine tapping their device without using any available icons, and I prefer this choice since it gives a clearer view of this wondrous Tolkien/Lego environment. Console loyalists or fans who love pressing buttons shouldn't be deterred, as the virtual controls are easy to manage as well. Whatever mechanic you choose, just remember the left side of your device is for walking. Swing a sword, jumping, digging, fishing, and building lego objects are all activities done on the right side of your device.

Since my hobbits had a traumatic encounter with wraiths, they're in need of a respite. Frodo is currently thinking happy thoughts with some quality harp playing.

Although Lego Lord of the Rings is far from complex, part of its appeal lies in the method of moving from one stage to the next. Each member of your group will have a set of specialized skills, and employing different characters within certain stages gives the app a high level of variety. For example, during one sequence you may need Samwise's brute strength as he punches various objects into different lego pieces. Once he's done, you can use Merry Brandybuck to cast a pole and catch some fish. After food is placed in a pot, click on Sam's icon have him carry the pot to the fire.

The title also has the huge advantage of following a classic narrative that's filled with adventure and pure emotion. On a visual level, having an epic storyline allows the app to contain an expansive visual scope, and although it may never each the heights of a pure PC or console experience, it's still a pretty sight to see.

The biggest reason to download this app centers on the trilogy's sheer transcendence. Its themes of friendship, brotherhood, and courage in the face of tragedy still resonate, and to truly get an up close and personal feel for the game, a bit of iOS intimacy is encouraged. Put on your headphones, attach them to your iPad, and listen to the wonderful dialogue and the trilogy's still compelling score. Most of the hours I've spent on the app have been during the din of night, lying in bed, and luxuriating in the Lord of the Rings trilogy one more time. Even though there's a bit more lego building and swiping at unknown objects this time around, the gripping storyline refreshingly stays intact.

There is a world to live beyond one's own Shire. Just ask Frodo. He knows the way.

Lego Lord of the Rings is an outstanding app which remains faithful to Tolkien's masterpiece while carving out own vision. There is no mystery behind The Lord of the Rings' success, but that doesn't make any of the game's many puzzles less interesting. It's an intricate balance with breathing new life into a seemingly perfect franchise, but leave it to Lego to put all of the pieces together.


App Store Link: Lego Lord of the Rings for iPhone & iPad | By Warner Bros. Entertainment | Price: $4.99 | Version: 1.0 | 1.37 GB | Rating 9+

9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating