As you progress through the game, you can have an increasing but limited number of LEGO characters in your “Posse”, and you can switch between these characters with a quick tap of the Triangle button. But you also get to keep a huge library of LEGO Characters, and these can be swapped in and out of your Posse almost as easily at any point during the game.
Each character has different skills, and in order to complete the game, you’ll need to switch frequently between characters to make use of their special skills. WyldStyle, for instance, is good at jumping and environment traversal acrobatics. Batman has his famous grappling line, which he can use to pull distant objects into range. Vitruvious can do magiccy things, and only Unikitty can build and destroy rainbow objects.
Our hero, as in the movie, is Emmet, an ordinary Joe Shmoe - but he has the typical LEGO workman’s ability to fix things with his wrench - an invaluable skill as you progress through the game.
I’ve already mentioned the importance of smashing scenery items for the points they rain down on you, These points take the form of the “dots” that lock LEGO bricks together. They come in different colours, with silver being worth least, gold more, and blue most of all. The things is, when you smash an item, the dots are spewed across the screen, and you have to spend time moving around to collect them. But if you use a player with a ranged weapon - Batman or Vitruvius for instance - you can target and destroy several items at once, and the dots are delivered straight into your score-bar.
On some levels, Cloud Cuckoo Land for instance, deformable items are located right on the edge of platforms, and while you cannot simply walk off a platform edge, sometimes when performing a kick move on these items you can fall off the platform - using ranged attacks prevents this as well as letting you collect dots quicker.
Throughout the levels you'll find a range of instruction sheets - collect these and you’l be able to do a Build Project. This involves selecting the correct LEGO brick at the right time to complete the build. Take too long and your points awarded for the build reduces. Once you’ve built the thing, you can often put it to good use. Gold LEGO items can only be destroyed by a laser cannon - one of the items you can build. Silver items can only be destroyed by explosives.
Building things from LEGO Blocks has always been a part of the LEGO games, but integrating the construction in this active way, rather than just passively watching a character whip something together is much more true to the brand’s plastic-y origins.
As you progress through the game, you’ll also get the opportunity to enter and use various vehicles. Sometimes this is purely for transportational reasons, and at other times it forms part of the storyline. For instance, in the very first scene, using a car or van is a very effective way of smashing things and collecting dots.
You’ll also be given the opportunity to do side missions as you go through the game. Pay attention though, because I found that if I did not make a note of what the mission objective was as I spoke to the initiating NPC, there was no easy way to get this information later. I would wander past the character, who would ask me if I was going to complete the mission - but I had no idea what the mission was, or how to find out.
This lack of help with side missions is pretty much the only serious frustration with a game that, although its difficulty level is set for younger players, is entertaining, fun and colourful enough to appeal to players of all ages.
+ Most accurate game recreation of a movie yet
+ Large, fun main mission with plenty of side-action
+ Great co-op multiplayer
- Very linear gameplay
- Side mission objectives sometimes unclear
SPOnG Score 4/5