What a unique and interestingly complex game LEGO Worlds is.
Mixed in with the now well-trodden formula of LEGO games we’ve come to expect from more than a decade of titles, we have ideas and mechanics from Early Access survival games, Minecraft, Scribblenauts, No Man’s Sky and more.
To understand this mixed heritage you need to go back to this game’s initial launch back in 2015. Instead of a complete game release on PC and console like their other titles, the developers at Traveller’s Tales decided to launch LEGO Worlds as an Early Access game on Steam.
This wasn’t a quick cash grab or an effort to outsource QA, but what we see as necessary step to create the more ambitious parts of the game.
That is the fact that everything you see and interact with in this game could theoretically be made out of real world LEGO bricks. We’re sure there’s some clever programming going on to prevent your poor PC or console from having to render every single brick, but burrow down into the centre of one of this game’s randomly generated worlds and you’ll see that the ground beneath and around you is made up of millions of individual bricks.
Nearly every structure and formation in the game can be built, expanded upon or destroyed one single LEGO piece at a time, or you can use the game’s tools to add or subtract large amount of the bricks at once.
And there’s the Minecraft comparison you’ll be hearing everywhere. The world around you is ready to be shaped however you like, but it’s with the company’s extensive range instead of the simple blocks in Minecraft.
What LEGO didn’t learn from Minecraft, however, is separating modes. After the first thirty minutes or so in Worlds you’ll be given all the tools you’ll need for mass construction or destruction.
Not only are these tools difficult to wrangle at first due to their numbers and odd control setup, but they suck most of the challenge and sense of accomplishment out of the game.
After being dumped on a planet and tasked with gathering gold bricks to fix your spaceship, you’re let loose in the world with nothing much to do but pick up more upgrades for more tools and taking on random challenges and missions from NPCs.
The problem here is that fighting off a group of enemies which are attacking an NPC isn’t that much of challenge when you can drop them in a hole the size of the Grand Canyon, and unlocking a new, powerful weapon is meaningless when you can summon a thousand angry bears to fight your battles for you.
LEGO Worlds wants to have its cake and eat it too – giving you the freedom and tools to do anything but still insisting that there’s some degree of accomplishment to be had from the game’s challenges.
These problems extend to some of the building puzzles in the game too.
You’ll be tasked, for example, to build a tree house with a roof and windows. Unfortunately the game isn’t advanced enough to detect something resembling a tree house, and you can build a lump of bricks with a window or two to satisfy the constraints.
All these problems could have been solved if this game had two modes: one for adventuring where there’s more emphasis on combat and exploration, and one creation mode where you have unlimited pieces and scope.
As it stands LEGO Worlds is a bit of a jumble of extremely interesting ideas and, honestly, very fun and entertaining gameplay from a series that many consider stagnated.
The sequel to this game could be that LEGO game we’ve all wanted that can take the magic of the toy and turn it into a game that also brings along all the advantages videogames offer.
As it stands now, however, it is still worth your time and money, especially considering the low price (a RRP of $30 / R400) and the fact that you’ll need to pour in dozens of hours to 100% it, and many times that if you use it purely as a creation tool.
LEGO Worlds was reviewed on PC. A retail code was provided by the publisher.