Lego’s first foray into the videogame industry took place in 1997, with Lego Island for Windows 98, but it wasn’t until developer Traveller’s Tales took over in 2005 that things started to pick up heat. It was in 2005 that Lego Star Wars was released, and created the style of Lego videogames that we know and love today. However, all the games that followed, (Lego Indiana Jones, Batman, Lord of the Rings etc.) were all existing franchises that were reimagined in Lego. Now in 2014, alongside the release of The Lego Movie, the first original Traveller’s Tales Lego Videogame has been released.
The Lego Movie Videogame pretty much acts as an alternative to the film, since all the relevant scenes of the film are used as cutscenes in the game. Luckily the stellar cast of voice actors for the movie also lent their voices to the game. This includes, what in my opinion, might actually be the best casting decision of all time: Will Arnett as Batman. Any fan of 30 Rock or Arrested Development knows what I mean. This doesn’t mean to discredit the other voice actors, who do a great job making the game feel alive, even the voice actors who aren’t Morgan Freeman.
The first factor I’m going to address is the look of this game. It looks pretty great, but not amazing. There are some breathtaking moments every now and then, for example: falling through the portal and the ascent into Cloud Cuckoo Land. The design of the levels, although slightly flawed by glitches that might get you stuck for quite a while, is actually rather well done. Special bricks are colour coded and routes are usually easy to follow. When not in an active mission, players are free to roam around the realms that they have unlocked, of which there are only four. Sometimes it’s not quite obvious where you have to go next, and that is rarely to do with bugs. It’s usually more to do with not being able to tell where the indicator is pointing due to the camera being semi-fixed. When playing two player co-operative, dynamic splitscreen can be enabled, and although it looks cool, the change of perspective might make you feel very slightly queasy. Dynamic splitscreen is an option that can be disabled, however, so this isn’t really a permanent problem. When in free roam mode, the method that is used to lead you to your next mission is displayed by an ethereal trail of green studs that relocate to wherever you are. This can be really helpful but might not be easy to spot the first time.
The gameplay is what you’d expect from a Lego game and more. More minigames and side quests are available alongside the main storyline, the main quest itself is only about 20% of the actual game. This is no Skyrim, but it’s still one hell of an adventure. Each group of characters have their own special skills that help you continue the main storyline or unlock special items in previous missions that were unavailable before. The main quest is only about 6 hours in length, which is admittedly a little disappointing. The game boasts characters such as Gandalf and Superman, whose roles in the game are pretty minimal. The realm known as Middle Zealand (which is where all the Lego Lord of the Rings Universe exists), is only mentioned and seen in the distance, but never explored which is quite sad. However, the missions that are designed for the game are full of brilliant level design and are a lot of fun. The game itself is filled with it’s own sense of humour and doesn’t rely on the film to make it interesting.
This recent entry into the Lego Game franchise is definitely a success, with a wide range of characters for you to control and a lot of hidden secrets, the re-playability is significant enough to validate your purchase of this game now. If you haven’t seen the film, don’t worry, this game will immerse you in the Lego Universe more than the film can.
The Lego Movie Videogame was released by Traveller’s Tales for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Playstation Vita, Wii U and 3DS on the 14th of February 2014.