LEGO is amazing isn’t it? A toy that has stood the test of time and seems to be as popular today as it has ever been. When the LEGO Movie was announced there may have been a bit of worry that a film could be pulled of, but it seems pull it of they have, with the film being hailed as something of a modern classic in animated films.
This leaves a bit of a conundrum, as we have a fantastic film, games tie ins with films are generally awful, but LEGO games are good. So where does this leave The LEGO Movie Videogame?
Whilst not developed by the main TT Games studio, it is still made by a team within, namely TT Fusion and the game does follow for the most part the basic structure of other LEGO games, such as LEGO Indiana Jones, Marvel Superheroes, Harry Potter, etc. You have your main hub and various levels for you to complete. However, it does standout on its own and has a slight different overall feel.
The aforementioned titles, as well as the others in the vast library have blending LEGO aspects, with more ‘realistic’ design. As you go through Hogwarts, there are areas that aren’t made of LEGO, but are more natural in the visual department. This isn’t the case here, everything in the game is made of LEGO, the floor is LEGO, buildings are all made of LEGO, everything! This really does set it apart from the other games.
It’s not just in the visuals that this happens also, as a rule, the existing LEGO games have characters that tend to move quite smoothly, but here the game follows the films style of having characters move around like the LEGO itself has been animated using stop motion. Now this isn’t as prominent in gameplay as it is in cutscenes, but it is noticeable compared to other games, as we really picked up moving from Marvel Superheroes to this. There are some clever techniques involved too, that again give the game a feeling of being a playset rather than a real world type setting, such as the tilt-shift style focusing on buildings in the background.
As said, gameplay tends to follow the tried and tested formula of LEGO games. Smash this, build that, do this to get that. It is still simple to play and ideal for families to get involved with. It introduces a few new elements though, such as the master builder, who can select elements from parts of the world to build something useful, as it is needed for a particular task, or the need to find instructions and select the right pieces to build a specific thing. The use of instructions is brilliant, if not just for a gameplay perspective, but just for the smile it will give you as is something synonymous with LEGO building, especially with the specific sets you can buy.
The humour from the film comes across brilliantly to the game and without a famous well known story or set of characters to use, the fact they have managed to get the humour to work without well known points of reference is a testament to the writing team. That said, if you haven’t seen the film, we would suggest going to see it before playing the game, so as not to ruin anything for when you do see it.
This is a shorter experience than previous LEGO titles, with a lot less to do outside of the main levels, the hub is nowhere near as vast as New York in Marvel Superheroes, or as fun to explore as Hogwarts in Harry Potter, but that really doesn’t matter. Being condensed works here, as this does follow the film, it would have been difficult to push beyond that at this stage and could have become tedious, thankfully though again the balance is right.
Once you complete a level it does open it up to Free Play, where like the other titles, you can go back with your pick of characters to unlock all the secrets and finish of those parts previously unobtainable on the first run through. This delivers a much more focused playthrough than you get in the previous titles and concentrates on the co-op play that TT Games excel in.
The LEGO Movie Videogame isn’t the best LEGO game on the market, but it is a fun title and one that you will get a good few hours of enjoyment from. What’s more, is that playing with the kids will bring you so much joy, especially as they grin and laugh their way through and pick out moments from the film as they play. As a tie in to a movie, it is one of the better efforts and for that should be commended.