You know what kind of video games that I always like? the various LEGO games made by Traveler's Tales. However, the one thing the LEGO games never did was actually base an entire game around the concept of using the eponymous brightly colored bricks to build whatever the heck pops into your imagination. That is, until Traveler's Tales decided to take a page out of Mojang's book and make this...
LEGO Worlds. It can best be described as Minecraft meets, well, LEGO! But does this promising concept make for a good game? Well, that's why you're reading this review, aren't you? To decide whether this quirky sandbox game is worth your money?
The story of LEGO Worlds is very barebones, to the point where you can hardly call it a plot. Basically, you play as an EXTREMELY customizable LEGO Minifigure as he/she explores a galaxy made entirely from LEGO bricks, whilst collecting treasure such as weapons, new characters to play as, and Golden Bricks used to upgrade your spaceship so you can visit bigger, more varied planets, all so that your Minifigure can become... A MASTER BUILDER. It doesn't go anywhere deeper than that, and it's mostly an excuse to get you exploring the near-infinite world.
Now while the story is very barebones, the gameplay is LEGO Worlds' highlight. You explore randomly generated worlds using a tool you get from one of the three MANDATORY tutorials known as the Discovery Tool to scan objects, vehicles, animals, and some characters (more powerful characters, like the Vampire King or the Dragon Wizard require a list of criteria to be fulfilled before they become scan-able). After an object/creature/vehicle has been scanned, you can spawn in as many of that object/creature/vehicle as you like (or until your game dies from having to render a large number of one thing all at one time).
there are also TONS of collectibles in this game, from the Golden Bricks to the various weapons you can find in treasure chests scattered throughout the world(s). However, my biggest gripe with the game comes from the combat. While there is combat in this game, it isn't really fun. Namely, the fact you can't strafe while aiming projectile weapons such as the the Cowboy Pistol or the Megazooka means you have to shoot blindly and pray you hit the thing you're trying to hit, or stand perfectly still while aiming only to get rushed down by an angry club swinging troll (or blown to pieces by a dragon). And using melee weapons ultimately comes down to "mash the Square Button like a madman to win every fight!". I do appreciate the slight strategy as far as preparation goes, since certain enemies take more damage from certain weapon types than others. Example, Zombies take extra damage from explosions, while WereWolves take extra damage from weapons made of Silver (Silver Daggers, Silver Bullets, etc). But seriously, how can I NOT strafe while aiming!? But another combat gripe I have and I know I sound like one of those "Stop Having Fun" guys plaguing the meta-game over at the Pokemon fanbase, but this game is WAY too easy. Yes. Even with the clumsy and awkward combat system, LEGO Worlds is also somehow the easiest LEGO game ever made. First of all, when you die, the only penalty is you lose a handful of Studs, which is an in-game currency used to unlock various scan-ables once initially scanned with the Discovery Tool. You respawn literally five feet from where you died, letting you jump back into the fray, and while I understand that this is a kids' game and as such you have to make some compromises to make sure that kids don't get mad and rage quit at a game designed specifically for their demographic, I have been spoiled by the likes of Monster Hunter and fellow sandbox game Terraria and have come to expect at least a decent challenge from most video games nowadays.
The biggest draw of LEGO Worlds is the ability to build virtually anything you want. Although, the game does give you a warning when you first turn it on to avoid building structures that are, shall we say, rude and offensive/scandalous? So please refrain from doing so. It IS a children's game after all. Anyway, something I LOVE is there is an IN-GAME terraforming tool that's available very early into the game. This is a GOD-SEND for building. With Minecraft you either had to terraform by hand or with a fan-made hack (the latter of which is legally impossible on the Console Edition. Sadness). With Terraria (another game I have and will review in the near future) there is a terraforming tool, but it's unlocked so late into the game that you probably won't need it by then due to just terraforming by hand in that game. So LEGO Worlds does terraforming tools right, by giving them to you in very beginning, something more open-world sandbox games with an emphasis on creativity need to do. It also has an in-game way to copy-paste your builds (or just structures you think look cool but aren't scan-able), which is also nice.
You can also spawn in entire structures if you find the building instructions for the structure. Said structure can be edited, exploded, flooded, buried, flattened, drowned in lava, and many more ways to alter it for better or for worse to your hearts content. You COULD build everything by hand, but it's much slower, and very frustrating, because for some reason, not all the bricks you can use are unlocked straight away. To unlock more bricks, you have to find, track down, and tackle gremlin like monsters called Troublemakers who carry brick types you can build with. Only problem with this is Troublemakers spawn randomly (though fairly often it seems), but there is a high chance that Troublemaker will have a brick type you already have, thus wasting your time. There is a VERY SMALL chance that Troublemakers will have a Golden Brick instead of a normal one, which is totally worth the effort.
The main reason you want Golden Bricks is because you can visit larger worlds that will (hopefully) have rarer biomes (50+ hours into my playthrough and I'm STILL discovering new biomes on a regular basis!) but once you have 100 Golden Bricks, you can create your own Custom Worlds, where you can literally pick and choose everything in the world, what kind of biomes appear, what kind of NPC's, what kind of enemies, everything. And given the nature of how to unlock some of the more elusive characters, vehicles, and creatures, some things can ONLY be unlocked once you have a Custom World.
The game also has both local and online co-op,
so you can play with your friends, sweethearts,
random strangers, brothers, sisters, parents, and
those wacky neighbors that you may or may not have.
One of the most glaring issues with LEGO Worlds is how glitch-y the game can get. Which is especially surprising considering that this game was in Early Access (a kind of business model for video games where the general public can play the game while the developers are working on it so they can see the development of the game first hand) for two years, and while the final product does run more smoothly than the Early Access version, it's baffling how the final product has SO MANY kinks in the armor, so to speak. Some of the glitches are admittedly kind of humorous, like enemies getting stuck inside treasure chests, thus making the treasure chest slightly resemble a jack-in-the-box. Others are frustrating, such as automatically teleporting to the surface while trying to explore a cave for seemingly no reason, and perhaps the biggest offender being you can get "stuck" with the Discovery Tool permanently equipped, which effectively takes away your ability to build, or fight, or explore, thus forcing you to restart. Here's hoping Traveler's Tales patch in some bug-fixes in the near future, as the game would be a thousand times better if the glitches weren't there.
On to visuals and music. LEGO Worlds does sport a nice aesthetic, seeing as how literally everything is made of LEGO bricks. The Sky? LEGO-ized. The Ground? LEGO-ified. The Water? LEGO-ed. Even the clouds are made of LEGO! The individual biomes are also nice to look at, even if the biome names are a little on-the-nose (Weird Woods, the horror themed biome, Lawless Lagoon, the crime/swamp themed biome, and Dessert Desert, the candy themed biome, are the real standouts in this department). My only complaint about the presentation is I wish there was a way of identifying which biome is which, due to how similar some biomes are to others (Dusty Dunes and Playful Prairie practically mirror each other, Fantasy Forest and Whispering Woodland are almost identical save from have a slightly different style of tree, etc) aside from the Narrator telling the name of a biome when it visit it for the very first time. Another gripe is how the game has a tendency to lag when entering underground dungeons or if there is a lot of stuff going on at one time. But on the plus side, the trademark sense of humor Traveler's Tales is known for made it into this game. Some of the weapons and characters and ESPECIALLy the animations are really funny in a kind of slapstick kind of way (the playable version of the WereWolf acts curiously like a puppy dog rather than a fearsome beast, you can ride almost any animal you see, even they are smaller than your character, and by far the best one is how one of the weapons you can get is literally a Pie Launcher). As far as music goes, it has surprisingly good music. I love how each biome gets it's own theme, but the best parts of the soundtrack being the Weird Woods theme, due to capturing the (slightly campy) spookiness of early horror films, which is fitting for the biome that is based entirely around the concept of classical horror, the Main Menu theme, which is weirdly catchy thanks to the heavy use of saxophone, and the Western theme, because who doesn't love a good old fashioned showdown at High Noon?
Overall, I give LEGO Worlds two scores, actually. Depending on how you like to play open-world sandbox games, your enjoyment of this game will vary. If you are the lot that likes adventuring and becoming progressively stronger, then with a 6/10, this game is not for you. There are open-world sandbox games out there that make adventuring loads more fun (and much less glitch-y), But if you simply like building things out of LEGO Bricks, then I give a 8/10. This game is not perfect, and has quite a few issues, and your enjoyment is largely dependent on how you like to play video games in general. That's true for any open-world game (or any game that is non-linear in design). LEGO Worlds is at it's best when you are building with the surprisingly intricate construction system, but sadly, it's at it's worst when you go off adventuring for the things NEEDED to make the construction system work. Additionally, this game is a NIGHTMARE to 100%, due to hundreds of unlockable characters, creatures, vehicles, objects, weapons, and a shockingly large number of biomes to explore (don't forget everything is randomly generated so you could have the worst luck in the world trying to find whatever it is you are looking for). So basically, only get this game if you want to drop $30 like it's nothing, absolutely LOVE LEGO, or just want a open-world sandbox game with a very in-depth building system.