Mojang’s open-world, world-building sensation, Minecraft, paved the way for future creation games, but none really matched its freedom and charming style. You could conjure up literally anything to your heart’s content on a procedurally-generated world, such as houses, castles, dungeons, and even rollercoasters. The freedom Minecraft granted the player was staggering, and nothing has since managed to match its complexity. At its heart, though, Minecraft was a beefy survival game and, although we’ve reviewed similar experiences, like the zombie infested 7 Days to Die, it still didn’t have the charm and it was a little too complicated.
TT Games have now tried their hand at a Minecraft-inspired premise with LEGO Worlds and, as its name suggests, you can actually create your very own LEGO world. It’s been a long time coming. Having LEGO games based off of popular film franchises is good n’all, and it has served TT Games well over the years, but it’s time for a LEGO game that allows you to do the one thing the toys it is based on encourage, and that is making your imagination run wild with bricks.
LEGO Worlds does have a weak story, it’s nothing new or innovative by any means, in fact, it’s been done before in another form of media featuring those iconic bricks, The LEGO Movie. Basically, your spaceship crash lands on an unknown LEGO planet, and it’s your goal to become the Master Builder, familiar, right? You do this by collecting the one collectable that has been LEGO’s staple in pretty much every LEGO game going: gold bricks. The first couple of hours into the game neglect the entire main attraction to Worlds altogether in favour of a very structured tutorial that does a pretty good job at getting you to grips with its complex creation tool options. To get these gold bricks, you must assist quest-giving characters by doing tasks which introduce each creation tool at a steady pace.
Each tool can be accessed via a radial wheel or by activating the all-in-one tool which is designed make the tool selection quicker, but it fails. Your first port of call is the ‘Discovery’ tool. This tool allows you to scan all LEGO environmental features, such as trees, foliage, animals and vehicles, and also characters once you’ve completed their tasks. Each item scanned is entered into an encyclopaedia, and it’s only after an item is purchased with the typical LEGO currency (studs) that it can be placed in the game world at your leisure. Discovering the many different types of rocks in a volcanic-themed world filled with lava and dinosaur bones to the serene and colourful candy stacks in a LEGO candyland is extremely fun and addictive, but the requirements to purchase the items puts a small but significant dampener on it.
When you gather enough gold bricks, you can then upgrade your ship, allowing you to travel deeper into space to unlock more content, such as knights, wizards and warlocks. True freedom comes after 100 gold bricks, though, which is quite a large job to undertake just so you can do what the game is mainly about. Once it has relinquished its control, however, the opportunities are endless. From gingerbread houses to castles and farms, there is no limit.
The other powerful tools enable you to terraform the current biome you are stood on, such as raising and dropping any sections of the world, copying and pasting any structures or creations, painting anything in the colour of your choice and, of course, building anything you wish brick-by-brick. After the tutorial is done and you’re free to explore randomised worlds in your ship, you’re then free to manipulate any world you land on or create your very own from scratch. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated than it should be to create and manipulate. The build tool allows you to make any structure, but bricks can go through each other, which can be very frustrating as there is no undo option, making correcting mistakes a chore. Manipulating the ground is tough too. You select a shape of how you want to manipulate a section of ground, whether it’s a square or an incline hill, of which you can control how steep you want it by holding down a button. You then place the outline on the part of the ground you want to change and fire away. Another frustration is the camera, as it sways to prevent pinpoint accuracy, especially when creating a hill or mountain. Despite all that, though, making your very own LEGO planet is great fun, populating it with plants and animals, watching it blossom with life everywhere is very satisfying, and you can view it all riding around in your very own race car or, if you wish, by horseback.
Despite LEGO Worlds having a few irritants, as a whole it’s great fun. A LEGO game that unshackles your mind at last, and it looks great too. You’ll customise your very own avatar character in whatever character heads and bodies you wish and create anything you can think of. It’s a great time making your very own biome, be it a treasure island filled with pirates and zombies like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean or maybe a fantasy land with tall watchtowers and castle spires and dragons. There are even paintballing-themed characters complete with paintball guns.
Developer: Traveller’s Tales, TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Release Date: 7th March 2017