I’ve been a fan of LEGO since I was a child, and created mech suits, and giant mecha to do battle against the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. So when the opportunity came to check out an infinite LEGO box, in LEGO Worlds, I jumped at the chance and wrote a preview about it.
Unfortunately, given my lack of visual imagination I didn’t really play much as it went through Early Access. So when it was finally released, I was surprised to find a story mode had been added -- at least a loose one. Your adventure begins when your spaceship crashes onto a LEGO world, and you’re given the basics across three different types of environment.
After that you’re told to go out and help people across the LEGO universe -- it might be to create a specific building, find an item or rescue someone. You’re after gold bricks to unlock more items and access to bigger worlds, though they aren’t as easy to come across as you would like. Some people require you to do multiple tasks for them in exchange for a gold brick, meaning you will have to build something, find stuff and rescue someone before they give you a gold brick.
But don’t worry, this isn’t an RPG -- you get paid in other ways for your services. Sometimes it’s as simple as some cash and unlocking a new character to scan, other times it can be new builds. Occasionally it’s new bricks, because of course you need more collectables.
You find new bricks the same way you find new builds -- by completing tasks, or finding them in treasure chests. You can also find them by capturing Troublemakers, who run from you while carrying a brick. Getting them unlocks the brick type -- unless it’s a gold brick, then it just gives you a gold brick.
However, you didn’t come to read a LEGO sandbox game review for my description of random tasks. You came to find out about building! Well, unfortunately that’s where the game lets itself down. I don’t know if I’m building wrong, but using a mouse and keyboard doesn’t seem to be the way to create structures. Even with the steadiest hand in the world, bricks move one stud to the side, and occasionally are several studs away, but until you move the camera angle they look exactly in the right spot.
You can copy and paste, so when you manage to make a straight line or two, you can copy that and paste in as many as required. Thankfully you can copy entire structures, including floor tiles, so once you manage to construct a house once, you can pretty much just copy/paste it for anyone who wants one.
Of course, building isn’t the only option you have. Your other tools are: Landscape, Paint, Copy and Discovery. Raise and lower the landscape, paint everything a different colour, copy whatever you highlight and the main thing -- the Discovery Tool. Almost everything you come across can be scanned, and once something has been scanned it will be available to purchase and recreate. This is useful for when people want something specific -- such as “I want six pigs”, for instance.
Some things you can’t discover until you’ve completed a task for them, or defeated them in combat. The ones you can scan are tougher than normal enemies, and there’s seemingly no way of getting more health or a bit of armour, so they take a number of respawns to take out. Even when using weapons I found that I was hitting the creature instead of firing the weapon, as the enemy was so close…
As you generate new random worlds, on your quest to find all of the gold bricks, you will encounter multiple types of biome. Some larger worlds have multiple biomes -- one side Dusty Dunes, the other Dessert Desert and a patch in the middle of Polar Plains for instance. There’s a load of different ones, and unfortunately sometimes you’ll find a large world that has a small island and loads of water -- but nothing else. You’re travelling around looking for beams of light to tell you where someone or something of interest is. I literally found a world where there was a guy dressed like Robin Hood who wanted a bow and arrow, and nothing but water. Since I didn’t have a bow and arrow, I had no way of giving him one, so had to leave. The next world, I found one…
I’ve mentioned that the gold bricks give you access to new worlds, but they also unlock things for you to use. Get enough gold bricks and you unlock a grappling hook. More, and you get a jetpack! I had unlocked the jetpack long before I found an aircraft. Even then, it was a helicopter underground with not enough space to get out… Luckily I could scan it, and so went above ground and bought the model to make one.
People have been lambasting the game because it is different to when it was in Early Access. I mentioned at the start that the more guided “campaign” was included late in development, so is a lot less sandbox-y, and so people who loved infinite LEGO and no tutorial are feeling betrayed. Personally, I’d not have enjoyed this as much if it didn’t have a “campaign”. I like my games to have structure, and having to travel to multiple worlds to gather gold bricks is brilliant -- if you get nothing else out of it, you at least learn how to use all of the tools. That person wants a lake, so colour the nearby ground into water: now you know how to make a moat.
The graphics are suitably LEGO, with little pop-up -- unless you’re moving too quickly. I managed to cross an ocean and land in a helicopter before the landmass had fully appeared. Similarly, the music was also pretty dodgy, stopping and starting seemingly at random every few minutes, as if there were several silent tracks in the music folder. The music is well orchestrated, and mutes nicely when you go underwater, so it’s not all bad.
On the subject of music, however, the opening theme of LEGO Worlds might annoy you since you cannot skip to the menu, you have to sit through a 10 second long intro before the title appears and you’re given your options. At least the 45 second long introduction video is skippable...
Overall, it may be a pain to have to collect each type of brick that you want to use, but you’ll learn. Look at how that city was put together, maybe you want a tavern like that one -- hey, ice cream houses are pretty neat… I do like this game, and I’m not big on open sandboxes. Or, perhaps I like it because of that.
LEGO Worlds (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Overall, it may be a pain to have to collect each type of brick that you want to use, but you’ll learn things. I do like this game, and I’m not big on open sandboxes. Or, perhaps I like it because of that.