LEGO Batman Preview: The World's Greatest Florist

As Batman constructed bouquets of flowers out of the remnants of destroyed roof fixtures, LEGO Batman producer Richard Earl said "There's a lot of things Batman will do that you won't see Christian Bale do in [The Dark Knight]."

Indeed, the world's greatest detective embarks on a much more lighthearted adventure in Traveller's Tales LEGO Batman, the latest in the developer's series of franchise-warping adventure titles. At a demonstration at the Warner Bros. booth at E3, the general atmosphere exuded less of the dark and harrowing action and more of the slapstick that the LEGO games are known for.

Unlike many other previously released Batman games, LEGO Batman isn't directly tied to any specific film or television adaptation—it draws from several forms of media featuring the Caped Crusader. But the goal, added Earl, was to create a universe that retained its ties to the series while maintaining its own unique style.

"We're genuinely trying to make a LEGO Batman universe," he noted.

Much like previous LEGO entries based on Star Wars and Indiana Jones, the emphasis in LEGO Batman is on simple, accessible platforming action, with drop-in and drop-out multiplayer—the kind of game that anybody can pick up and play. Batman and loyal sidekick Robin both feature relatively basic controls, boiling down to jumping and attacking, with a few new tricks and power suits available as the game progresses.

But the real departure in LEGO Batman is in the sheer volume of content; the game comes packed with two modes for both the heroes and villains, featuring 50 levels a piece with intertwining stories. While Batman and Robin shake things up in the hero block, the villain levels are utterly awash in characters and scenarios, with at least 17 playable baddies such as Penguin, the Riddler, Bane, Catwoman, the Joker and Mr. Freeze, among numerous others.

Though the villains lack the swappable power suits of their heroic counterparts, each of them are equipped with abilities and weapons that promise a different experience. The Riddler can control the minds of his adversaries, shifting the player's control to the victim, pitting Gotham police officer against Gotham police officer. The Joker comes equipped with an electrified hand-buzzer and double Uzis, while his associate Harley Quinn can double-jump.

Once all of the 50 levels in either campaign are cleared, the levels can be played in free mode, allowing players to pair up their favorite characters in cooperative play across any stage of the game.

"With [LEGO Indiana Jones], everyone wanted to play as Indy. It was hard to get them to care about other characters. But in Batman, I think everyone's going to have a favorite," added Earl.

The game's humorous elements are further heightened by the licensing of Danny Elfman's 1989 Batman film score for the game's soundtrack, adding an epic sound to an otherwise ridiculous, almost Vaudevillian cascade of wackiness. Compound these elements with the hallmarks of the LEGO franchise—such as Mr. Freeze using discarded Lego pieces to construct a drivable ice cream truck—and you have the makings for a riotous experience.

If you like Batman, it's worth a look—same if you dig Traveller's Tales' LEGO franchise. If you're a fan of both, it's a must-play.

LEGO Batman is expected on store shelves this fall for the Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii and Nintendo DS.