Reviews// The LEGO Movie Videogame

Posted 21 Feb 2014 12:27 by
LEGO’s thing for the last few years has been to take a popular movie and make a Construction Block set based on it, and then take that Construction Block set and make a video game of it. Typically someone had already made a video game of the movie beforehand.

But this time around, LEGO has turned everything on its head. Instead of making a game of a Construction Block kit of a someone else’s film, LEGO has made its own movie - and a bloody good one it is too. And then, true to form, they’ve made Construction Block kits of the movie, and a game featuring those same characters. But this time, it seems so much fresher, more exciting and more vital than when they are simply making blocky Indiana Joneses, or bricky Batman.

Let me be clear, I’m not usually a fan of this kind of brand extension. I understand when Galaxy might want to make chocolate cakes, or Yorkie might want to do chocolate chip cookies. But take it too far, Louis Vuitton fork lift trucks for instance, and it seems like the avarice of capitalism.

I also see why you might take a Marvel comics character and make a movie, but I can’t see why you would then take that movie, and make a video game featuring characters that look like they were made out of plastic bricks. I mean why plastic bricks, and not bacon? Bacon tastes nice, and it doesn’t hurt like hell when you stand on a piece of it in bare feet.

But who am I to question the wheel of industry? This model has served LEGO well, and it has gone from near financial collapse 10 years ago to being the world’s second largest toy company today. But still, games that look crap on purpose! We’ve spent years moving slowly towards graphical realism in gaming, and now we’re going back to what are basically, huge great pixels and limited colour palettes. C’mon folks!

The strange thing is that for all this graphical primitivism, the LEGO game is actually the closest a game has ever looked to the movie that inspired it. The LEGO (Building Block) Movie Game is, in places, indistinguishable from the LEGO Movie. The same goes for the story too. The game is not one of your free-roaming “sandbox” affairs! Instead you are pushed relentlessly through the scenes and the story of the movie in an on-rails linear fashion.

Sure, after completing any level, you can then replay it in “free Play” mode. But you cannot roam around the environment freely, GTA-style. And although the game is linear, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do. A huge amount of the scenery is deformable and, if like me you love games like Ratchet and Clank for exactly that reason, you’ll quickly love the LEGO Movie Game too.

But smashing things isn't just good cathartic destructive fun, it has two purposes. Firstly, it fills your special bar. Once that’s full you get to play a fun rhythm-timing side game. And two, the points you collect can be used as currency to purchase more LEGO Characters.
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