LEGO and Nintendo, they seem to like each other very well lately, LEGO City Undercover was a launch game for the Nintendo Switch and on September 27th, we get a game of the new LEGO movie: LEGO Ninjago and then there is LEGO Worlds. Other platforms have this game since March of this year and steam users were able to play this game in beta since 2015 but now it is finally here.
LEGO Worlds is Traveller’s Tales and the LEGO Group’s take on the whole ‘procedural generated sandbox game’ genre that has spawned many shameless copies of Minecraft, the game that defined the genre itself. Many people described Minecraft as a virtual LEGO creation engine when the beta released and wanted the LEGO Group to take notes and release a game like it, since LEGO’s main selling point has always been creating your wildest fantasies without limitations. Now, many years later, they finally released their own sandbox game.
LEGO Worlds starts off as an adventure game set in the LEGO universe. You’re flying through space in your little spaceship when suddenly your ship gets damaged by meteorites, causing you to crash on a small island in an unknown world. You have to fix your ship by obtaining gold bricks, which can be done by helping other LEGO figures or giving them a specific item. The more gold bricks you acquire, the more worlds you can discover and visit. While obtaining your first couple of gold bricks, you’ll also find multiple tools that are necessary for creating or destroying objects. After acquiring all the tools and a decent amount of gold bricks, the main focus of the game becomes inventing new creations and shaping the world to your desire. Finding the bricks and tools is basically the tutorial mode of LEGO Worlds and does a good job at explaining the mechanics.
The mix between adventure and sandbox game could have been handled better, though. At first, it works fairly well since the adventure part of the game is what gives you the necessary items for the sandbox part, but once you’re able to use the sandbox tools, there’s no real reason to keep playing the adventure part. For example, an NPC wanted me to clear a dungeon in order to obtain some treasure. Instead of entering the dungeon, I simply removed some walls and doors to create a path directly to the treasure. One could argue that this encourages different ways of playing the game, but it basically makes dungeons pointless. This problem can be applied to lots of quests that NPC’s give you, making them feel repetitive quite fast.
Luckily, the adventure part of LEGO Worlds is not the main focus of the game. A few minutes after starting the game, you are able to create objects and place them in the worlds you visit. Obtaining all the creation tools, however, will give you a LEGO toolbox that enables you to build your wildest dreams. The amount of unique bricks and pieces that you can use is incredible and shows how much work Traveller’s Tales has put into the development of LEGO Worlds. But it doesn’t stop there. Like I said before, you can ‘discover’ resources and then you use them. These resources are actually pre-built LEGO creations, made by the developer. These creations include bushes, trees, animals, houses, vehicles and much more. This is where LEGO Worlds shines the most. Literally, everything is made with LEGO bricks and encourages you to design new things or come up with new building ‘techniques’. The vast amount of different bricks also enables you to design very detailed objects, even on a small scale. Simply put, LEGO Worlds is a great LEGO playground for everyone.
The graphical quality in LEGO Worlds is the same as in other recently released LEGO games, down to the graphics options in the menu. The closest resemblance would be with The LEGO Movie Videogame since both games feature fully LEGO-designed worlds as opposed to realistic looking settings with LEGO objects in them like in most LEGO games. After playing for a few hours, I must say that LEGO Worlds looks great. The colors, in particular, are popping and are used well. In other words, LEGO Worlds is a pleasant game to look at.
The sound effects of objects or characters themselves are nothing special, but the soundtrack features some great tunes and helps to bring out the sense of adventure in you. There is also a narrator, who explains to you the mechanics of the game and guides you in the right direction when you’re stuck. The narrator sounds great and reminds me a little of the narrator of the Little Big Planet games. Fun fact, the narrator is voiced by Peter Serafinowicz, who was the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I.
And now we’ve come to the biggest problems in LEGO Worlds. The menu layout when playing the game is confusing and uses a mouse pointer, even on consoles. To be fair, mouse pointers in console games can work, if the UI is designed properly, like in Destiny. However, in LEGO Worlds, the menu is obviously designed for computers and seems hastily ported to the console versions. Does this make the game unplayable? No, but it does make it a pain to use on consoles.
The controls themselves during gameplay are also not that user-friendly. They do their job just fine when you’re running around and punching things, but if you want to build something, you better prepare yourselves for lots of frustration. Placing bricks is easy enough, but say you want to color them. You pick the paint tool, which is a canon-like device that shoots paint at the object you’re aiming at. You can paint piece by piece, or multiple pieces at once by shooting a big blob of paint at a zone of a specified size. Here’s the problem, you can’t accurately paint multiple pieces at once. You’ll often paint objects you didn’t want to paint because your specified zone wraps around the object. So now you have to choose, painstakingly paint piece by piece or randomly paint objects you didn’t want to be painted. Luckily, not all the tools have this kind of problem, but it does hurt the experience of the game.
If you compare the Nintendo Switch version between others you can see the difference but I have to say it is very minimal but after all, a game based on building with bricks is most likely not too intense when it comes to graphics. If you have both consoles, I would suggest going for the Switch version because this is a fun game to play on the go.
If you are into building things with LEGO you will probably love this game, and however this is not my cup of tea I kind of liked it the first few hours unfortunately after that I got bored. I think LEGO Worlds is more aimed at children who like other games in the genre.