If you haven’t yet seen The LEGO Movie, you really should get to the cinema if it’s still showing, or at the least give it a rent when it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray. It’s much easier to get away with watching if you have children, as you can keep up the pretence that you went with your offspring whilst secretly enjoying it yourself. A bit like the guilty pleasure that is Lego games really, and of course we have the obligatory movie tie in title here. Is it Good Cop or Bad Cop?
The handheld versions of LEGO games saw a change in direction with the release of LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes, where you can actually die, cannot jump unless you are a specific character and has a completely different mission structure and experience to the console version. If you have played the Marvel title, you will be right at home here, although this time round it seems a little more enjoyable.
The evil Lord Business aims to conquer the Lego world using the mysterious Kragle, which he plans to use to fuse the plastic creations permanently into position. The only thing the can save he world is the “Piece of Resistance”, yielded by the “Special”. When this mystical piece is actually found by Emmet, a construction worker with no special qualities at all, the Master Builders in the Lego Universe find themselves in quite a pickle and a race against time to save the day. Thankfully, this enjoyable romp of a movie has translated well to the handheld, with familiar takes on the movie events playable across 15 chapters with three sections in each and upon completion you are treated to segments of the movie which act as cut scenes to the next chapter. The majority of the missions are your standard LEGO fare, top down environments with destructible blocks and puzzling gameplay requiring specific characters to solve.
These are not the only mission types, though, as you also get falling style missions (akin to Gandalf’s stages in LEGO LOTR) and driving missions too (as in LEGO Batman 2) to break up the monotony of the same mission type. This variety does break up the play nicely as well as (in places) playing along nicely with the film’s plot. The missions themselves will not take you very long to complete, depending on your skill you are looking at four to six hours. The longevity is supplied by repeated failure when dying (and a lack of checkpoints) and the challenges, with each mission having ten objectives for a total of 450. Many of these being time based or character specific and therefore requiring multiple mission plays to complete as with the usual LEGO title mechanics.
There is a large selection of characters to choose from, but the abilities here will be quite familiar if you have played previous titles. Emmett, as a construction worker, has the ability to use a pneumatic drill to break through areas and a spanner to repair parts, whilst Wyldstyle is acrobatic and can jumps across bars and scale walls. Vitruvious can move far-away items with his staff and Benny the 1980s spaceman can float across gaps. In an improvement from Marvel Super Heroes, you can now have more characters in your party during your first play through (albeit still only one on screen at a time) and during free-play have full control over who comes along via a character wheel.
The game controls well enough, with a combination of touch screen mechanics and physical controls. You can move tour character around with a tap on the screen, but this is not particularly successful. Changing character and activating your characters special move are the other touch commands, whilst the face buttons serve as your attack, ranged, dodge and interaction buttons. Visually the game is on a level with other LEGO titles, nothing special or out of the ordinary, but functional. It is worth noting that of all the LEGO games I have played, this feels most like the plastic pleasures that hurt your feet in the night. The game is also “blessed” with extracts from the “Everything is Awesome” tune that accompanies the movie upon completing each mission. It soon irritates!
As expected though the usual detractions apply here to act as deterrents. The game is far too expensive for what it is; a simplified and cut back version of the superior console experience and it suffers from too much familiarity with the LEGO Marvel title – which was only released in November. It is reasonably enjoyable and fun and of course will be a simplistic platinum, if that is your thing and well worth playing if you can find it at a cheaper price, enjoyed the movie or have younger ones.