In the 360 and PS3 versions of the game, the story is told through super cute cut scenes that link the many levels together. In the DS version, the story is told through cartoon stills which cycle as if you're reading a comic book. They're not as good of course, and at times feel too long as they trudge through the plotting of the bad guys, but they get the story job done.
As far as story goes, it's a predictable affair - all of Batman's enemies have teamed up to break out of Arkham Asylum and plot to wreak havoc on the Gotham streets. They team up into different groups and head off to cause trouble. The Bat sign shines high in the sky, and Batman and Robin set off to sort everything out.
While you start the game in the Batcave, it won't be until you've finished the opening Gotham Streets level that you'll have the chance to do anything meaningful there. Once you do you'll be able to jump into the first level in other Hero chapters as well as unlock a secret path to Arkham Asylum, which allows you to take control of the Villains and play through their levels. It's nice that you're able to access so much of the game's content so soon after starting, and should appeal to people who are more interested in the Joker and Two-Face than the Dynamic Duo.
One of the best things about the LEGO titles is that there's so much to collect and unlock. It's the same with LEGO Batman on the DS. There are three Hero chapters, with five levels each and three Villain Chapters with five levels. That's 30 levels in total, maths fans.
From the Batcomputer in the Batcave you can use your collected LEGO Studs to buy new characters to use in free play (once you've seen them in a level), buy extras, watch already seen story sequences and buy hints (although we doubt you'll need them). You can also create your own LEGO character to play with, using one of the unlocked characters as a base. The more characters you unlock, the more options you have with customisation.
While for most fans it will be the single player that's of most importance, there is a multiplayer function that allows you to play through the game's levels with a friend just like you can with the home console versions. Both players will need a copy of the game to make it work - there's no online play. As with the other versions, indeed any LEGO game, it's better with a mate.
LEGO Batman on the DS is a solid offering that captures the essence of what makes the LEGO games great. It doesn't make particularly good use of the stylus, and the graphics won't blow you away, but if you're a Batman fan you won't find a better Batman game on the system. If you're a fan of the LEGO games and you're hungry for more, then the Caped Crusader has got you covered.