We're a bit surprised that Travellers Tales is making a DS exclusive game in the shape of tactical action game LEGO Battles. But we are very interesting to find out what it's going to be like. Hopefully considering the pedigree of many of the handheld versions of the LEGO games, it should be ace.

So we got hold of producer Phil Ring to find out more.

Pocket Gamer: What can you tell us about the inspiration behind LEGO Battles?

Phil Ring: We wanted to introduce gamers to a new style of LEGO gameplay so "build and battle" was a very natural next step.

We also wanted to create an original story using the classic LEGO play themes as our inspiration and to give players the opportunity to mix up characters from different LEGO worlds.

Why did you decide to include the LEGO Space, LEGO Castle, and LEGO Pirates characters?

There's nothing cooler than putting different LEGO themes against each other in a big battle to see who would win. These sets are full of really interesting and fun characters and vehicles, so of course we wanted to include them all.

How does the interaction between these different themes work?

At the start of the game you only have access to one theme, but very quickly other themes and characters become available for you to collect and switch in to your squad. So after a short amount of time you will have a large selection of characters and special weapons to play with.

We also have some special hero characters which are a little more hidden and will require you to search a little harder.

Is it correct to see the game as a RTS-RPG hybrid?

There are elements of RTS and RPG gameplay in LEGO Battles, but it's a much more fast-paced arcade experience designed for handheld fun.

How does the interaction between base building and your squad of characters play out?

As your collection of characters gets bigger and you start to play with the characters, you'll soon decide on how you want to play the game.

You might decide to build a stronghold with lots of towers and walls and build your army slowly; or you might go for of an attack strategy and build more unit production buildings to get your squad ready for battle faster. It really depends how you want to play the levels.

Control is obviously an issue with such games, especially on a small screen, so how can you control and group your forces?

The controls were really important for us as we wanted to make them accessible for everyone. The DS stylus is an effective tool for navigation and selection. Players can select single units, multiple units and have the option to create a group which can be called on with a single button press.

Players can also cycle through their available characters using the A and B buttons which allows them to command individual units with ease.

How does the resource side of the game work?

There is one currency which the players uses to build in the LEGO world and that's LEGO Bricks. Players can get bricks from two ways, either harvesting trees or from building a mine. It's a really simple system, but gives you lots of opportunities for different battlefield tactics depending on the availability of resources in each area.

You've mentioned six distinct story lines so what sort of twisted LEGO enemies will we be up against?

You can go up against Wizards, Trolls, Ninjas and Space Criminals, just to name a few.

How will balancing work in the multiplayer modes and will internet and local modes both be available?

Each unit has its strengths and weakness and there is no one unit which is stronger than the other so players can select the units which best suit their style of play without having to worry about their army not being as good as a friends. DS Wireless play is available for up to three players.

Finally what do you think is the most impressive thing about LEGO Battles?

The size of LEGO Battles is really impressive as with 90 single player levels, Free Play and multiplayer modes, there's a lot for the player to do. But I think the most impressive thing is when you take your custom army against a couple of friends armies in multiplayer mode. Having Dragons and Spaceships battle against Trolls and Pirate ships is just incredibly cool!

Thanks to Phil for his time.