THE LEGO MOVIE -videogame- [Review]: Everything is…Decent!

It’s now common knowledge that The LEGO Movie has taken America by storm. Brick by brick, the film has built up some mighty box office numbers, bringing “awesome” joy to families, movie buffs and the curious alike. And with any hot WB property, comes a LEGO tie-in game. The difference between The LEGO Movie Videogame and the rest? A deep message.

But you’re all here just to smash stuff, right?

That you do, if you’re not already yet burned out by simplistic 3-button controls, skin makeovers of cherished pop culture figures, and puzzles that should feel oh-so-fracking formulaic by now. If you played one LEGO game, you’ve played them all; but if you really really enjoyed one LEGO game, then…you will likely enjoy this one too.

Benny and The Bats.
Benny and The Bats.

What The LEGO Movie Videogame also offers differently from other LEGO games like, say, Batman is (not Batman, of course) a certain, specific nostalgia factor: the classic LEGO. Before LEGO was smart enough to make money off of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, 80s babies like your very own Monsignor were building our own “Empire Bricks Back” (shit, you don’t know how many hours I spent creating my own pirate and medieval versions of “Black Brick Sails” and “Game of Lego Thrones”, respectively). So it was nice to see a game faithful to the original LEGO properties; one that felt extra special when joined by the likes of Benny the Space Guy (voiced by It’s Always Sunny‘s Charlie Day) and the Ghost of Vitruvius (Morgan “Fucking” Freeman), instead of more popular modern-day choices like Green Lantern or Gandalf.

Sadly, with great generic power comes even easier gameplay. The only real challenges had were a few bugs, and, unfortunately, I’m not referring to the Lord President’s mechanical, evil kind. No, I had to reset the game at least 3-4 times because a damn cutscene wouldn’t appear when it was supposed to. That made my 10-12 hour campaign experience, oh, just a tad bit longer.

Cool thing about LEGO games, especially if you’re more the casual gamer (a Wii-type player if you will), there’s always plenty of replay value in store. Unlocking secrets, finding gold bricks, buying more generic freaks (some of my favorite oddities of the 90 playable were Lizard Emmet, Yeti, and, heh, Fembot).

Uh, yeah!
Uh, yeah!

I’d also highly suggest playing this with friends, coworkers or landlords, as AI teammates — like every other LEGO game before it — do nothing more than stand around when your character gets bizzy; I’m shocked when someone other than My Little Unikitty is actually fighting! Surely doing everything can get tedious after a while.

As for the missions, they all look gorgeous. Like the film, everything is made out of Lego. Traveller’s Tales does quite the “bang up” job with all the level detail, with perhaps my favorite of the 15 levels being Cloud Cuckoo Land. It’s quite the spectacle. And while my time spent playing LEGO Movie was on the Xbox One console, it’s difficult to say whether the next-gen port made all that much difference visually other than a handful of impressive warp sequences. The cinematic cutscenes look great, of course; but besides the fact it’s footage straight from the film (so make sure you go see the movie first, unlike yours truly), these moments appear oddly slowed, almost glitched.

Call it: motion not captured.

In addition to the times where your character may get stuck or have difficulty flying over areas where he or she should, LEGO‘s tropes will come off to you as either dull or triumphant. Building vehicles and other gadgetry actually feels real because of this game’s classic simplicity. As it should! Emmet (Chris Platt, reprising his “Mr. Ordinary” protagonist from the film) is in the construction business, after all.

The LEGOFall Beta came early for some.
The LEGOFall Beta came early for some.

Speaking of contraptions, perhaps the most fun you’ll have playing TLMVG is with MetalBeard. He’s simply Pacific Lego Rim meets Pirates of the Titanfall Caribbean. This mechanical swashbuckler can swipe and stomp everything in his way. He’s only a disappointment when you have to switch to another character, even if it’s Superman.

Another new addition to the LEGO lore is the Pac-Man-inspired game-in-game. At first, Benny’s hacking is a nice break from all the smashing, but after the 4th or 5th time, you’d wish this little sequence reverted to the likes of Pong or Frogger. Snooze.

But look, kids. The LEGO Movie Videogame is a fun ass time. There’s enough humor, challenge and beauty to recommend this to everyone from the the most LEGOgamaniacs to mere fans of the film. If nothing else, the game serves as a nice “greatest hits” package of classic LEGO lore (besides the Avengers one, of course!).

If you don’t mind the fact that everything is decent, that is.

3.25 (out of 5) LEGO.
3.25 (out of 5) Lego.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LEGO Movie Videogame available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii-U, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.

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