Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, 3DS, PC
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 3
Price: $30-50/£25-35/€40-60 (Depending on platform)
Unless you’ve been living under a Lego brick for the last few weeks, you’re probably aware of The Lego Movie. This ambitious, original theatrical release comes with its own original videogame, with its own unassuming title: The Lego Movie Videogame. But how does this new Lego adventure stack up? We’ll tell you everything you need to know in Anime Courtyard’s review of The Lego Movie Videogame.
Emmet Brickowski is an ordinary construction worker who loves his ordinary job, his ordinary apartment, his ordinary friends and his ordinary life. Oh, and he’s also an ordinary Lego figurine. That all changes when inadvertently becomes “The Special” and is tasked with saving the entire Lego universe.
Along with his new found friends, the energetic Wyldstyle, the blind wizard Vitruvius and Batman, Emmet must travel through weird and wonderful Lego locations to stop the tyrannical Lord Business from using his mysterious super-weapon, “The Kragle”, and freezing the world of Lego in place forever.
If you’ve already seen The Lego Movie then you’ll find no surprises in its videogame tie-in. The Lego Movie Videogame follows the plot of the film almost exactly; joining together major plot points with fifteen individual levels interspersed with hub worlds and generous amounts of movie footage. Those still waiting to see the film need not be concerned, however, as the game only reveals the very basics of the film’s ending and omits latter plot twists completely.
Considering the success of Traveller’s Tales’ previous Lego titles – the majority of which were based on popular movie franchises – it’s easy to speculate that The Lego Movie Videogame would somehow suffer from its ties to an entirely original movie. Fortunately the complete opposite is true, and the vibrancy, creativity and sheer ridiculousness of the film shines through at every possible moment of the game’s “Story Mode”.
For example, where else can you see Batman get weirded out by a magical, rainbow powered uni-kitty? Where else can you see an Egyptian mummy drive an ice-cream van through a wall? And where else can you see a gravelly voiced, bum-bag wearing cat-lady throw stinky fish at robot cowboys? Nowhere else – only in The Lego Movie Videogame.
Traveller’s Tales’ tried and tested beat ’em up/platforming/casual puzzling gameplay returns with only minor tweaks to the basic, yet robust, formula. As usual, players can chose from a small selection of characters when smashing their way through The Lego Movie Videogame‘s Story Mode, but can unlock, purchase and play as a wide variety of characters during “Free Play”. Specific character abilities, such as women being able to jump higher and construction workers being able to repair machines, are required to progress through levels and uncover secrets, and also ensures that players will get to directly control at all major characters at some point or another.
New to the game are a small handful of uninspired minigames and the far more entertaining hub worlds. Each of these intermediary levels are based off classic Lego sets including Lego City, Lego Wild West and Lego Octan – as well as “Cloud Cuckoo Land”, which is constructed from every type of Lego imaginable. These hubs offer a fun, challenge-free opportunity to try out new characters, cheats and other unlockables, and are full of neat little secrets that require an assortment of characters to find.
As with gameplay, anyone who has played previous Lego games by Traveller’s Tales will know what to expect from The Lego Movie Videogame‘s visuals. The bright, bold levels, well animated characters, and copious amounts of Lego explosions return, but with the added sheen expected of a game released at the start of a new console generation.
Traveller’s Tales have also introduced a new animation style in which Lego bricks and other pieces do not bend whatsoever. Additionally, every single object, building and environment is made entirely out of Lego – even the fire, water and explosions. These changes were likely made to keep The Lego Movie Videogame‘s presentation in-line with the film, yet they have the added bonus of introducing just enough realism to give the impression that The Lego Movie Videogame‘s world is simply Lego through the eyes of an imaginative and charming child.
Unfortunately, the visual and technical intensity of the on-screen action comes at a cost. At times there’s too much going on to see and control characters properly – a problem that usually occurs during fights with large groups of enemies. This problem is accentuated further by uncommon yet unavoidable slow-down issues and The Lego Movie Videogame‘s dynamic co-op split screen which, while often helpful, is cumbersome during combat.
From the to the eccentric, boppy tunes of Cloud Cuckoo Land, to the over-the-top Country & Western music of “The Old West”, to the lumbering, electronic bass buzzes of Bricksburg – which, incidentally, reminds me of the soundtrack for Blast Corps – The Lego Movie Videogame score is not only listenable, but is as fun and care-free as the movie it was originally written for.
Voice clips from The Lego Movie have also been brought over to the game, meaning gameplay is absolutely littered with well delivered, super-cheesy puns that’d make even the most stone faced players crack a smile. It’s a tad unfortunate then that during gameplay, the majority of vocals become buried beneath other sound effects. With no option to rebalance sound levels, many players will have no choice but to resort to enabling the pun-ruining subtitles.
The Lego Movie Videogame‘s fifteen story levels are an absolute blast to play, but even though they take a good handful of hours to get through, there’s little reason to go back. Fans of Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games will know, however, that where Story Mode ends, Free Play begins. This allows every level to be played with any of the 90+ unlockable characters in order to find previously inaccessible secrets.
Most of the unlockable characters are humorous enough, such as Abraham Lincon, Shakespeare, and Lord Vampyre, but many are simply alternate costumes for main characters. This wouldn’t seem like such an issue if not for the presence of Warner Bros.’ Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Gandalf. It’s true that these characters appeared in The Lego Movie, but a few more cameo appearances from other Warner Bros. licensed characters wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Furthermore, previous Lego games based off classic movies gave players the opportunity to create amusing, non-canonical scenarios such as Voldemort and Harry Potter teaming up and Chewbacca defeating Darth Sidious at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI. But the ability to create fan fantasies doesn’t transfer well to a completely original title. As such, The Lego Movie Videogame‘s Free Play mode doesn’t come close to being as fun as it was in previous games, or its own Story Mode – especially when Free Play removes all voice acting and cheesy puns.
Although this may be coincidental, major bugs were only encountered upon beating Story Mode and moving onto Free Play. On numerous occasions the The Lego Movie Videogame wouldn’t recognise that tasks had been completed, meaning that a level – and less frequently, the entire game – had to be restarted. It’s always disappointing to see such glaringly obvious bugs make it through testing, but hopefully they can be patched in later title updates.
- The humorous and entertaining storyline of The Lego Movie shines through the game
- Vibrant aesthetics, great presentation and charming new animation style
- The Lego Movie Videogame is fun – fun, fun, fun.
- Free Play mode isn’t as engaging as in previous titles
- Major bugs present in Free Play mode
- Minor frame rate and sound balancing issues
Like the bold new film it’s based on, The Lego Movie Videogame a silly, over-the-top, family friendly adventure with enough wit and character to engage players of all ages. Traveler’s Tales have further refined and perfected their tried and test gameplay formula with great results. The game is easy to pickup, a joy to play and dazzling to watch. The post-Story Mode game content isn’t as strong as in past Lego games, but still offers a great deal of additional content just so long as no bugs turn up to ruin anything.
Otherwise, it’s hard not to agree with The Lego Movie Videogame: Everything is indeed awesome.