First things first. The Lego Movie videogame is a direct tie-in to the eponymous feature film. It follows the film’s plot almost exactly so if you haven’t seen the brilliant Lego Movie yet (why not?), you’ll want to hold off playing the game until you’ve seen it.
You’ll start the game mostly playing as Emmet, an everyman chugging his way through life until he accidently stumbles on a mysterious relic and finds himself as the Special; supposedly the only person capable of saving the world from the evil President Business. You’d be forgiven for thinking this “unlikely hero” story is a bit clichéd but its mix of cheerful humour coupled with non-conformist and anti-authoritarian undertones really hits the mark.
As the game progresses, you’ll find yourself playing as more and more characters from the film, many with their own special abilities, and after you finish each level, it becomes playable with any one of the 60-odd characters you’ve unlocked. Some areas are only accessible with characters you unlock later on in the game to encourage you to play it multiple times, characters including Gandalf, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern among others. Better still, if you play with your friend you’ll be able to create your own Batman vs Superman before Zack Snyder ruins it. Apart from the aforementioned cutscenes, the voice acting is not always done by the same actors as the film. Additional lines are provided by other voice actors and in the case of some characters like Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop, it’s quite noticeable.
If you’ve played any of Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games before, you’ll know exactly what to expect when it comes to their light-hearted take on their respective films. A lot of the charm and humour from previous Lego games comes from translating a live-action scene into Lego in comical ways. However, when the source material is Lego itself, it becomes a lot harder to put a different Legofied spin on things, especially when the film employs the same brand of light-hearted humour the Lego games are known for. As a result, the game follows the film almost by-the-book, with many of the cut-scenes straight from the film itself. It helps that the film itself is so good, but the gags don’t have the same impact the second time around when you know what to expect.
Gameplay wise, it plays very similarly to previous Lego games, with its mix of platforming, simple puzzle solving and child-friendly hack-n-slash-style combat. It still serves the purpose and works well, but if you’ve played many Lego games before the gameplay may feel a bit stale. There are some mini-games when you need to assemble vehicles or structures and there is even a DDR-style dance minigame so “Everything is awesome” will get stuck in your head again. One of the highlights is taking control of a roller-blading mech made out of bulldozers with Superman in tow, a sort of family friendly version of Titanfall.
But when the whole point of the movie is to encourage creativity and Emmet is forced to let go of his previous instruction manuals, the game is very restrictive as to what you can actually build. Your only input into creating one of the extravagant vehicles/structures constructed by master builders is highlighting the different Lego bricks with your cursor. It would have been nice to actually design and build your own vehicles for example but you can’t sadly practice what the film preaches.
So if you’re a Lego fan looking for another fun and enjoyable game to tide you over until Lego The Hobbit later this year, you won’t be disappointed with this game. Similarly, if you enjoyed the film so much that you want to experience it again but more interactively, you’ll enjoy this game too. But if you’re looking for a Lego sandbox that promotes the ethos of crazy creativity of the film, then you’re best off playing Minecraft.
Version tested: Xbox One
Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC, 3DS, and PS Vita
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