While I was late to the party, I have now played enough titles in the LEGO series to know the score. Each game, while using widely different source material, always boils down to the same gameplay, albeit with a few tweaks here and there. For the most part, they were still enjoyable despite the developers sticking almost religiously to this years old formula. However, the latest LEGO title to appear on consoles is changing things up. LEGO Worlds takes what we know of the series and transforms it into something much bigger. Many have heralded it as "LEGO Minecraft" but does it offer as much freedom as we may have originally thought?
LEGO Worlds takes out the need for a story and places you in the shoes of a nameless intergalactic traveler exploring the stars. With different tools at your disposal, you are given free reign to discover a plethora of worlds and you are then able to explore them at your leisure. Previous games did offer a sense of freedom, but it was always somewhat limited due to the story or source material of the game in question. With all of that now out of the equation, player agency is the name of the game and it is rather refreshing at first.
You aren't given total freedom right from the very beginning, though. Tutorial worlds of sorts navigate you through the basics, presenting you with numerous creative tools to unlock the game's full potential. Coming to terms with a different kind of LEGO formula can be a bit confusing in the first couple of hours, as you aren't too sure what to do, but once you get into the swing of things and are let loose, it's an enticing experience. TT Games has given the game a diverse amount of themes and aesthetics, and discovering a new one brings with it a wave of excitement and genuine desire to explore. When you encounter larger worlds, you will also find many different themes overlapping one another and connecting, so one minute you will be traversing arctic mountains, and the next you will be wandering through lush woodland on the other side of the peaks. This gives worlds a fresher feel as you continue to travel through the galaxy.
This is out there somewhere. You just have to search for it.
To really get the most out of the many worlds in LEGO Worlds, you have your trusty rocket as well as a range of creative tools. Your rocket gets you from A to B and your tools have a multitude of purposes to put your own stamp on the world. The discovery tool will gather up every new object, creature, character, building and vehicle that you see and add it to the never-ending catalogue of items for you to then place wherever you like. Another important tool is the build tool. This will allow you to use every type of LEGO brick you have unlocked and shape them into whatever wacky creation you can conjure up. It can be a little difficult when it comes to making brilliant creations, but for the more imaginative among us, the option is there. Other tools such as the paint gun and landscape tool give you even more ways to get inventive and it is certainly fun to play around with all of these.
Even with a game such as this, there is a progression system in place. Your rocket isn't at its full potential from the get-go. Instead you will be required to fetch as many gold bricks as possible to give you and your rocket the means to go further, both geographically and creatively. This is the main aim of the game; you will traverse the many worlds, hunting down gold bricks to then add to your collection. The bricks can be found in one of two ways, either through discovering them in chests scattered around the world or by completing different quests for the people that inhabit the world. The easiest method by far to get these bricks is by finding chests. Many of these chests are buried deep underground so the landscape tool will be of great use. Quests, on the other hand, revolve around building things, collecting a group of creatures for someone, taking a picture of a particular item or animal or saving someone from a group of enemies before they die. Unfortunately a lot of these quests can be tedious to carry out as you simply don't have the resources to complete them. Killing off enemies is the easiest of the bunch, but if you or the character you need to save dies mid-battle, then the quest is failed and the gold brick vanishes. Many quests also will have little or no obvious reward apart from studs, so you may regularly find yourself running through the world and not really knowing what to do, simply because you haven't yet got the item that so many people require.
The more you find, the more you can build.
Aside from hunting for gold bricks, there is the rare occasion that a world will be the host of a town or dungeon. Towns aren't all that special as they amount to a number of buildings, benches, cars and people walking around. However, dungeons are a worthwhile endeavour if you come across one. These labyrinths harbour a treasure item if you make it through, but there are many traps, enemies, twists and turns between you and that treasure. There is the option of "cheating" and digging your way right to the bottom, but if you do it the old fashioned way, they are surprisingly challenging, as death causes you to potentially lose inventory items. It adds an element of challenge never before seen in a LEGO game, and they are a refreshing change to brick collecting.
The other feature on offer in LEGO Worlds is to create your very own world. This is where all the items, materials and buildings you have collected fully come into use and your creative mind can unleash its imagination. However, the major downside is that to even access this, you must have collected a hundred gold bricks. The chest method of doing this makes short work of a large number, but it seems that once you reach around ninety gold bricks, chests are not a viable option and searching for them becomes much tougher. It is a laborious process and the repetitive nature of going from world to world for these bricks may cause you to wonder if the reward at the end is even worth it. The game would have benefited much better from this feature being available after a tutorial rather than an overly long slog to a hundred bricks.
LEGO titles have never fared all too well when it comes to bugs and glitches, and unfortunately this game is no exception. While glitches themselves don't crop up in the usual sense, the game's performance regularly struggles to keep up with the player. Lag and framerate issues are problems that seem to happen at a moment's notice, and the worlds can even fail to pop in as you navigate through them, causing you to hit an invisible wall before the area manages to load before your eyes. It's not necessarily a game that needs full immersion to enjoy, but if nothing else these regular occurrences hinder the speed at which you can grab gold bricks.
There's a lot of world out there, but the question is... has it all loaded yet?
The achievements of LEGO Worlds are a peculiar bunch. There are 61 in total, and they are a mix of natural progression, discovery and random tasks. Ones which are of note are the multiple achievements for finding legendary bricks. These can only be uncovered on the largest available worlds, so it won't be a quick and simple task. Accumulating a billion studs will be the worst of the lot this time around, as the game doesn't appear to have stud multipliers. Absolutely no one has unlocked this achievement at the time of writing, so if you want the full 1000G, you will be in for the long haul.
SummaryLEGO Worlds can be a bit hit-or-miss. The game has switched up the series' formula and it is refreshing to be let loose and explore the vast amount of worlds on offer. The freedom that comes with all of the creative tools makes for an enjoyable experience as you explore and the addition of dungeons adds a new layer of challenge that LEGO games have never seen before. With all of this exploration, though, comes regular lag and slow texture pop-in. This causes the long hunt for gold bricks to be an even longer one but it's nothing exceedingly drastic. It's a disappointment that to create your own world you need to first amass a great number of these bricks, meaning that a feeling of repetition will creep in eventually. Despite these issues, hopping into your rocket and soaring through the galaxy for more discoveries can still be a worthwhile adventure.
- Many different worlds to explore
- Freedom to take and incorporate whatever you like through creative tools
- Added challenge through dungeons and loss of items
- Can become repetitive
- Regular lag and and slow texture pop-in
- Create-a-world feature locked behind a long hunt for gold bricks
EthicsThe reviewer spent 15 hours exploring many different worlds and grabbing as many gold bricks as possible. 40 of the game's achievements were earned in the process. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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