We’re hardly short on creative video games that allow you to create your own worlds these days, with ‘Minecraft’ in particular proving to be one of the most popular titles ever created. Remember when you didn’t have video games to unleash your creative output though? Remember when you had to use LEGO to build these fantastic dream worlds you’ve conjured up in your mind?
Well guess what – the Danish building block big guns are hitting the video game space again with LEGO Worlds, a free-building adventure that plays out as the ultimate LEGO simulator by allowing you to create and customise a variety of different worlds. At first glance it’s easy to see the game as yet another ‘Minecraft’ clone, but there’s a lot more to LEGO Worlds. Sure, it shares of a lot of similarities, but it actually offers a more thorough sense of creative freedom when constructing your worlds and has more objective-based gameplay to keep you hooked in for the long-term.
LEGO Worlds begins with your spacecraft spinning out of control, slowly hurtling towards a planet made up of millions of LEGO blocks. Once you’ve made your crash landing, it’s up to you to uncover the Golden Bricks required to fix your spacecraft and head off to explore further planets, in the process becoming a ‘Master Builder’. Along the way you’ll make a plethora of discoveries, complete a ton of tasks, and unlock new tools that help you out during your brick-building adventure.
LEGO Worlds isn’t just about building new worlds or completing tasks, but also discovering everything that each world actually has to offer. You’re able to scan objects in the environment and add them to your catalogue; pay a set fee of studs and you’ll be able to unlock them to use freely within each world too. The whole discovering mechanic adds a greater need for exploration in the game. It’s easy enough to simply head to a world, complete all of its objectives, and blast off to the next, but I found myself prioritising the discovery of new objects instead. It’s certainly not compulsory, but the OCD collector inside of me couldn’t get enough of it.
One thing that did frustrate me with the discovery mechanics was that the ‘discover’ and ‘unlock’ functions were both assigned to the same button. When trying to scan objects to assign them to your catalogue, accidentally pressing the button more than once would typically automatically unlock them for you, taking up some of your precious studs in the process. The problem is that it’s easy to keep button mashing when you’re scanning multiple objects cluttered in one area, so I often found that I kept unlocking items without meaning to. It’s a minor complaint and it could probably be owed to my lack of patience when trying to discover new items, but it’s something I noticed nonetheless.
The countless tasks that are handed to you by the game’s inhabitants add a nice feeling of progression to LEGO Worlds. Someone might need you to find something, build something, or completely re-shape the world around them – they’re a needy bunch, so there’s constantly something new to do. What I liked was that it offered something for you to do even when you’re not feeling particularly creative, with LEGO Worlds offering enough to do so that you never feel forced to keep building or moulding new worlds when you don’t feel like it.
It adds a sense of purpose to the game that’s often missing in this kind of genre, though admittedly your objectives could get a little repetitive at times. The inhabitants of each world might ask for a variety of different things, but it’s always got a ‘fetch quest’ kind of feel to it that doesn’t offer a great amount of variety as far as gameplay is concerned. Still, it ties in well with the discovery mechanics of the game so you won’t get bored of completing them.
Thankfully there’s a ton of variety in other facets of the game, with the size of the catalogue of objects you’re able to discover incredibly impressive. It’s not just stuff like trees, flowers or other little bits of scenery either, with vehicles, creatures, and a selection of pre-made buildings out there to discover that you can place around freely. It actually feels like you’re playing with a toy box full of LEGO pieces, with no restrictions to what you can and can’t do. Want to have races with friends across the seas? Do it. Want to make a huge pig farm? There’s nothing stopping you. Want to compete with friends in the ultimate ‘helicopter versus dragon’ showdown? Go ahead. It really feels like you’ve got a bunch of different LEGO play sets in front of you with the only limitation being within your own imagination… and maybe the space available in each world – some of those early worlds are pretty tiny, you know!
What’s most impressive about it all though is that I kept discovering new things all the time. After spending so many hours with the game I keep thinking I was getting close to finding everything it has to offer, only to find myself surprised when I discover some brand new vehicle or creature that I hadn’t set my eyes on before. Add to that the fact you can do this in multiplayer with a friend and you’ll find that it’s easy to lose hours simply discovering things in LEGO Worlds.
You’ve also got the ability to build your own structures brick by brick, with the game featuring each of the LEGO pieces you’ve painfully trodden on over the years. You’ll have to unlock them by taking down the little ‘Troublemakers’ that inhabit the worlds though, but it won’t take too long before you’ve got a serious collection going on. Building things from scratch might not be for everyone (especially with so many pre-built options available) but those with a real creative itch are given the means to put together some wondrous constructions. Add to that the flexibility to mould your surroundings exactly how you please and you’ll find you’re able to make almost ANYTHING you can think of.
One of the only real problems I had with LEGO Worlds was that the controls could be a little tricky to begin with, though you do get used to them with time. It’s not that they’re bad, but rather the fiddly nature of navigating menus, switching between tools, and manipulating the environment could get a little complicated. It’s not as easy to pick up and play as ‘Minecraft’, but at the same time it offers more intricate features so it’s understandable.
The camera controls could be a bit of a pain too, with it often difficult to get the camera positioned exactly how you want it. There’s a lot of freedom to zoom in and out whilst you can also play from a first-person perspective too, yet there were plenty of occasions where I found the cluttered worlds could make it a little difficult to see exactly what you were doing. It’s not always a problem but when you’re trying to build things and need precision, not being able to get the perfect view on things could be a little jarring.
The freedom and easy going nature that LEGO Worlds offers has kept me coming back for more, and I can easily see myself playing the game for a long time to come in the future. Whilst new releases come and go, there’s something about the charming world building and sense of discover that LEGO Worlds offers that I simply can’t get enough of. It’s certainly no ‘Minecraft’ clone, but rather its own enjoyable entity that really manages to embrace the creativity of the LEGO brand.
I spent endless hours playing with LEGO as a kid and LEGO Worlds ultimately proves that the bricks still have that strong appeal to me even as an adult. It’s certainly got its fair share of flaws with the repetitive nature of objectives, awkward controls, and sketchy camera, but behind all of those is a great game that’ll certain provide some relief for any gamer’s creative itch.
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: 7/03/2017
Format(s): Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, PC