Pirates, knights and aliens ... all in one game. Sound like too much for the tiny Nintendo DS?

Well, "Lego Battles" manages to squeeze a lot of action and a lot of fun into its small package.

The title — developed by Hellbent Games and produced by TT Games for Warner Bros. — is a light strategy game. Most strategy games on the DS are content to let you take turns with your foe as you slowly slog your way across the battlefield. Not "Lego Battles." It offers an active real-time simulation that keeps you on your toes.

The game play is simple, but very satisfying. No complex menus. No waiting for turns to unfold. Just tap on the screen with the DS stylus once or twice and your units scurry off to do your bidding.

For most activities, you tap on a unit or building to open a very small menu and then select the desired icon. However, some key activities don’t even require that much effort. For example, all you have to do to harvest resources or attack enemies is tap on a unit and then tap on its destination.

Of course, your foes are also more nimble away from the turn-based battlefield, which keeps the game very lively.

In the campaign mode, you start as the monarch of a small kingdom under assault by skeletal soldiers. You then sail the seven seas as a pirate captain before taking on the challenges of space flight. In each case, you play as both sides in the conflict, which means you can play through six stories with more than 90 different levels.

The different scenarios offer a good variety of units: dragons, knights, alien queens, tribal chieftains and even ninja masters. And the heroes get an interesting selection of special attacks. For example, the king can create earthquakes, the wizard can throw fireballs, the spaceman can fire a big laser and the pirate captain can unleash a "monkey swarm."

In addition to the campaign mode, the game offers free play for those who don’t want to get bogged down in a story. It also offers head-to-head competition over the DS’s wireless connection.

"Lego Battles" once again shows how much fun the blocks can be, even in a digital world.

Platform: Nintendo DSOn the Web:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now