Most movie-licensed games pale in comparison to their film counterparts, largely because the developers had to rush to meet strict deadlines. That isn't the case with The LEGO Movie Videogame, which stands tall alongside the successful film of the same name.
In the game, players control a variety of characters from the film, including main hero (and repairman) Emmet, blind but brave Master Builder Vitruvius, the athletic WyldStyle and even Batman, among others. Over the course of the game, over 90 different characters can be unlocked, which adds significantly to the replay value.
Building Upon Strong Gameplay
The LEGO Movie Videogame is the latest from Travellers Tales, the long-time LEGO-based developers who worked with such franchises as Marvel Super Heroes and the upcoming Lord of the Rings spin-off, The Hobbit. With an original title in place of a long-standing franchise, there might have been concern as to which direction the game would go. Thankfully, the team was more than prepared.
LEGO Movie has plenty of variety going for it, as each character serves a special purpose to help players move along through each stage. Emmet, for instance, can fix machinery and drill through certain structures, while Vitruvius shows blind courage when crossing over gaps that other characters avoid, merely because they see the danger involved.
On top of that, the new Master Builder segments are fun - if a bit simple. Select characters highlight three items in the environment, including enemies, and put together massive structures within the blink of an eye. This is a sight to behold, especially on PS4 and Xbox One, when the blocks go flying like crazy.
Other mini-games play their part as well, including a piece-selecting blueprint game where making the right choices could result in a huge LEGO coin pay-off, as well as a Dance Dance Revolution style game where construction workers jam out to the always-enjoyable "Everything is Awesome."
It all ties together into a familiar yet fun gameplay experience that fans of the movie will enjoy.
Putting on a Show
In addition to the fun LEGO gameplay, Travellers Tales put together a virtual world that fits right into the film's universe. The level design, while mostly point A to point B, offers plenty of challenges along the way, in addition to hidden goodies like blueprints and gold bricks. Each level looks great, from a street chase through Emmet's hometown to a wild train escape in the Old West.
On top of that, the animations are cute and distinctive. Unikitty, the guardian of Cloud Cuckoo Land, hops along on her "U"-shaped legs with just the right amount of charm, while Batman runs around with gusto, flinging his toy Batarangs.
For good measure, Travellers Tales also brought in most of the film's cast to voice their characters, including Chris Pratt as Emmet and Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius. Some of their dialogue comes straight from the film, but they add original lines as well. Freeman's sarcastic barbs about crossing over open flames are hilarious - and that's just one of the many highlights.
There is a quick word of warning, though - film clips are included in the game, so beware of spoilers if you have not seen the movie.
The End Already?
Ultimately, The LEGO Movie Videogame has one problem - the adventure comes to an end far too soon. There are only 15 levels, and aside from journeying through stages again with new characters and locating hidden secrets, there could've been so much more.
Thankfully, there is one saving grace- a cooperative mode. A second player can jump in and help out for some fun co-op gaming. It features split-screen support that allows players to explore on their own paths, without being confined to a single part of the stage. It's a welcome feature, but its also important to stay on the same page and complete objectives, so more gold bricks and bonuses can be collected.
Not Your Typical LEGO Game
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is still the best LEGO-licensed game money can buy, due to its action-packed stages and variety of familiar heroes. However, The LEGO Movie Videogame is easily a close second, with its diverse characters, fun scenarios and terrific presentation. Fans of the film and parents looking for a game to play with their kids shouldn't miss out on this adventure. Like the movie's main song, everything is awesome.
GAME's Verdict: 7/10
- Entertaining presentation throughout, including voice acting from the film's stars
- Plenty of unlockable characters and hidden goodies for up to two players to find
- Gameplay varies between platforming stages and fun mini-games
- Ends too soon
- Doesn't offer much in terms of replay value
- May spoil the movie for some people