Disclaimer: There’s a very catchy song called “Everything is Awesome” that goes along with the movie and game. It is sung numerous times throughout each. I will make zero reference to it in this review for the sake of your sanity and mine.
Over the past years, a number of franchises have been made into Lego games, and in recent times that number has gotten a little overwhelming. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, and more have all gotten the blocky treatment — now to go above and beyond previously established properties, we have a movie made completely out of Lego–and with that comes The LEGO Movie Videogame, the LEGO game based on the LEGO movie. Although the movie doesn’t focus on any one license that the games have covered in the past, you can find some of the more iconic characters from them spread throughout the game.
The story follows a character named Emmet Brickowski, a construction worker in Bricksburg, the brickiest town in brick brick…sorry…in which the game begins. When he uncovers a red block relic known as the “Piece of Resistance” during a build, he is set upon by Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) and his force of police officers led by Bad Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) who want to take it from him. While the gameplay is nothing new for a LEGO game, the characters are what make this game stand out and set it above past releases.
The dialogue is clever and quirky, and the quick quips characters make when you least expect them can be downright hilarious. At other times characters such as Superman deliver poking jabs at themselves in a knowing way and it is a refreshing change to how they act in most other presentations. To make the characters even more likable, each retains their voice actor from the movie.
Not only the two previously mentioned, but also Morgan Freeman as Vitruvious, a blind old wizard; Charlie Day as Benny, the retro-70’s LEGO spaceman; and Allison Brie as the Unicorn-Cat hybrid called Unikitty. Other than the main characters – which there are tons to play as in the story mode—there are loads more to unlock as you progress that can then be used in the Free Play mode–another staple of the LEGO series of games that lets you use any character in any area.
The game is in almost all aspects the exact same as any of the recently released LEGO games. You go around and smash everything in sight to release studs that you collect, and in the process uncover objects that need to be rebuilt in order to solve puzzles and progress through the level. There’s no reinventing the wheel here — if you have played a LEGO game in the past, then you know what you’re in for.
As you play through the 4 worlds, each of which have multiple levels to explore, you can do so alone or with a friend through couch co-op and the crafty split screen that separates as characters go farther away from one another and reattaches when they come back to the same vicinity. Sadly, there’s no online co-op to be found so if you want to go at it with a friend, being on the same console is the only way.
The few differences found within this game from past LEGO games are minimal at best. Only certain characters can rebuild multiple required pieces. These are called “Master Builders” and basically have you uncover three pieces of an object which you can then build into larger pieces. The idea is the same as building the smaller objects that still bounce and jump; it’s just more lavish in its presentation.
You will also need to collect LEGO instructions in each level which you will then be able to take to a build station. Once the station is operated, a mini-game is played where you will need to select the next piece that is needed for the object being built. The faster you do it, the more studs you will receive as a reward.
I will say that I have not been a huge fan of LEGO games in the past. They are too repetitive and tedious and don’t bring enough innovation from one title to the next, however The LEGO Movie Videogame was a fun experience– with some limitations. It was still tiresome and monotonous through a lot of the story mode, however at times the problematic issues went further than just doing the same thing over and over.
There were also bugs that reared their ugly yellow heads and made the game unplayable in some moments and at other times, caused it to just downright crash. Sometimes the game would inexplicably get stuck during an in-game cutscene and not progress. It would stay focused on the NPC that had given you info and then just sit there forever, no matter what I tried to do. This actually happened one time at the same place in both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One versions of the game.
Other times characters would get stuck behind objects and just run in place. Switching to the character did nothing and since you needed that specific character to solve a puzzle in order to progress, the only solution–when you were able–was to destroy the character and have them reform in another place.
Even with the problems that have always and continue to plague LEGO games, and the odd “crashes” that this game served up, I enjoyed it, even though my pleasure was almost entirely due to the dialogue and voice acting, not so much the actual gameplay contained within. It would also be wise to keep in mind that if you have already seen the movie, then your mileage may vary with how entertaining the game will be. As enjoyable as it is the first time around, the game rehashes much of the same story and may not be so interesting to play through having already experienced the best parts on the big screen.
Title: The LEGO Movie Videogame