The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is Jamdat’s take on the finale to the Tolkien trilogy classic. For the one or two people left on the planet who haven’t seen Return of the King yet, the film adaptation was filled with CG wizardry that gave you epic battles, breathtaking views and believable hobbit fiction. Running on the BREW platform, these developers cannot hope to serve the trademark visuals and special effects that have made the movie trilogy so memorable. You have to be realistic in your expectations. But they are able to take the formula that gave Electronic Arts a winning game and place it in a mobile setting.
Much like the game on consoles and computers, this is an action-adventure game that revolves around the principle characters of the trilogy. The game is divided into different levels that encapsulate the major episodes of the movie. As Frodo, you’ll be able to make your way to Mordor and scale the heights of Mount Doom. As Gandalf, you will defend the Gondor cities to buy time for a human retreat against Sauron’s evil hordes. All the major characters of the fellowship are represented here (well, the ones that are alive by the time of the movie). They each play differently from one another. For the little hobbit, it’s more about stealth than anything. All the levels are also well drawn with most recognizable landmarks and situations the players will relate to from the movie. The audio side is a bit more spartan.
Each plays differently from another. Like the other Return of the King titles, though, you can use other characters to go through stages you’ve already passed. This greatly extends the longevity of the game. It lets you try other strategies that you’ve honed with the different characters.
With eight levels, the pace of each outing is pretty good. As the game is more action than adventure, there are plenty of creatures for you to defeat. Some of your abilities (ranged and magic) are expendable so collecting items for replenishment is important. However, a melee weapon can be swung as many times as your sore fingers can press your cell phone. Overall, the game strikes a good balance between making the game too easy and making it passable. For veterans of games like Gauntlet, there’s enough fodder around so it doesn’t end up like a game of Resident Evil.
It can be said for many wireless games there can be quite a bit of stigmata from hard core gamers who chastise mobile offerings as being too simple; both in their looks and their depth. Perhaps the one thing that struck me the most about playing Return of the King is the fact that I never felt like I was at a compromise. The game just feels right and there is a je ne sais quoi factor that no self respecting gamer should pass up on.