If there is one absolutely infallible truth about life it is this – YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO PLAY WITH LEGO. That goes doubly true if you’re a guy, I’m 36 and saving up for a LEGO Ewok Village to which I have no shame whatsoever. In LEGO’s ever expanding universe they have made the huge jump onto the big screen with the wildly successful (and rightfully so, it’s great) ‘The LEGO Movie’ and if ever there was a movie that was pretty much tailor made to support the movie to video game tie-in then this is it. The difference here is that in rather atypical fashion to most tie-in games this one is actually pretty good. Whether you’re 9 or 99 you should have no shame if you want to dive into this video game adaptation of a fantastic movie.
If you’ve ever played a LEGO game in the past (who hasn’t by now) you’ll know right from the start how this all works. Apart from following the unique plot line of the movie, which holds up very well in this transfer, you’re doing all of the same things you’ve ever done in every LEGO game to date. You’re going to frantically collect studs while searching for hidden red bricks. You’re going to earn gold bricks and unlock characters so you can go back and free play levels that require their special abilities to unlock your prizes. It’s a tried and true formula that has worked for the LEGO series right from the start. When the big addition was made to add voice work to the LEGO games it was the little push the games needed to really hit the spotlight. There are a couple of mini-games that are unique to The LEGO Movie game that are fun to play such as a Pac-Man-esque hacking game or the Instruction Set Builds but for me the stand out was the goofy rhythm-dance mini game with the movie theme song.
When you look at the fact that Tt didn’t change much to make The LEGO Movie Videogame stand out from any other LEGO game it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. In a way it’s following the old adage of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and regardless of not being overly innovative it still stands up. Clearly though what holds it together is the story itself. Following Emmet Brickowski you’ll see him find the legendary ‘Piece of Resistance’ and embark on a chaos filled journey through the worlds of many of your LEGO franchise favourites. If you haven’t seen the movie before you play the game you’re going to spoil it for yourself for sure. While the game obviously doesn’t carry every line of the movie in it you’re still able to quite easily piece everything together for the most part. There’s cut scenes direct from the movie tied into everything to help fill in most of the blanks that the game leaves out. That being said the game doesn’t spoon feed you everything. If you watch the move before jumping into the game you’ll likely get much more out of your experience.
For a game based solely on a movie it’s amazing how varied the levels end up being. In the interest of being spoiler free (you’re welcome) I don’t want to divulge too much but the fact that the story takes you to different realms allows for every level to have its own unique flair and characters. The genius of the LEGO licensing team has opened up so many amazing avenues for them to take their story in. Whether it’s a Wild West escape on the rooftops of a moving train or a superhero fueled battle with a giant mech (take that Titanfall) it’s always something new and entertaining. Seeing as it is based on the movie the campaign is short and sweet but the plethora of unlockables and hidden areas are going to keep you coming back for more.
What makes the LEGO Movie Game charming is the additional banter and wit of the characters that was created just for the game. Listening to Emmet and Wyldstyle go at it or listening to Batman posture and act like a self-centred buffoon makes for comedy gold. Vitruvius, using his ‘blind courage’ ability is often hilarious as you put him in precarious situations that he’s completely unaware of. You’ll find laughs everywhere from every character in fact. The game is humorous on so many levels and appeals to a wide range from kids to grown-ups… either that or I’m just a really immature 36 year old. Not only that the characters in the game are either voiced by their actual actor counterparts or amazing sound alike actors. I couldn’t for the life of me tell the difference but when I did a tiny bit of research into the game’s voice actors not one of the original actors is listed. Regardless, if you can’t even tell the difference then you know they did an amazing job of adapting it to the video game.
If you compare the movie scenes to the animation in game you’ll very easily be able to see the difference. The game looks good, no doubt about that, but with the power of new consoles behind them it would have been nice to see an attempt to add some of the texturing and detail present in the movie. Still, the game is bright and colourful and doesn’t suffer from much in the way of tearing or anything like that.
While the game does a good job of adapting the movie to the game it isn’t without its faults. There are many areas where platforming is awkward resulting in death upon death just trying to make a single jump. As well there are a lot of times where objectives aren’t quite as clear as they could be. I know that most gamers are capable of critical thinking and can figure things out for themselves but a core demographic and target audience for this game is children and there’s certain to be a lot of whining for help from the younger set. All in all there’s nothing game breaking to complain about though and regardless of these little hiccups I found myself smiling the entire time I played.
As reviewers we’re always looking for ways to be critical of a game we play. At times I think it’s important to throw that out the window just a little bit and I like to ask myself one simple question; Am I having fun playing this? There is no doubt in my mind that the answer to this question is yes. While they didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel (well, in one scene they kind of did) this installment in the LEGO series of games does what LEGO does best and it’s purely fun to play. Now if I could only get this stupid song out of my head…..