IN the nine years since TT Games began making Lego games, the franchise has attained a profile that would be the envy of most triple A first-person shooters.
The Lego Movie Videogame - Playstation 4 (reviewed) / Xbox One / Playstation 3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Playstation Vita / Nintendo 3DS / PC
Score: 7.0 / 10
With no less than 22 separate titles under its belt, its ubiquity is the product of industry, yet the fact a public appetite remains for new iterations is testament to the care and creativity afforded each instalment. The latest, The Lego Movie Videogame, is resounding evidence for gaming’s importance to other entertainment media.
Good game in its own right
A game based on a movie of a series of games, themselves inspired by the iconic Danish construction blocks, its very existence is a self-referential wonder. Happily, it is also an estimable title in its own right, albeit one that lacks the breadth and dynamism of the Marvel Superheroes and Batman strands.
Abiding by the same tried and tested formula that dispatches a troop of multi-skilled characters into a realm brimming with puzzles, platform sections and basic brawling challenges, the companion game does well in recreating the movie’s characters, locales and motifs, if never quite exhibiting the same riotous humour and pin-sharp satire that surprised critics and audiences alike.
The gameplay will not turn the heads of those seeking an inventive new approach for the series, but neither should the fact it makes use of mechanics that are now nearly a decade old count against it. The experience is as entertaining as always and the complementary abilities of the characters guarantee variety for the duration. The game’s problem, though, is that there is not enough of it.
Film leaves game with scant pickings
Although The Lego Movie was a fun and anarchic romp, its one hour 40 minute running time provides TT Games with considerably less material than it has been used to of late. Whereas the company excelled when allowed to play around with the tropes of well-known movie trilogies and comic universes that have evolved and matured over the course of decades, a solitary film provides scant pickings.
Consequently, scenarios granted only a minute or two on the big screen are extended across entire levels. The translation means the verve and charm that characterised the movie are lost. Equally, no amount of collectibles or optional quests can fatten up the game’s slender body and its seven to eight hour main game feel short, especially coming just a few months after Marvel Superheroes.
For those who relished the film, The Lego Movie Videogame is an enjoyable diversion. It does nothing to progress the franchise and compared to its predecessors provides a modest overall package. Above all, it proves that without rich and detailed source material as the foundation for a game, the limitations of TT Games’ modus operandi are revealed.
Fans will hope for better next time around, but they should also forgive the weaknesses of this peculiarly meta project.