TT Games had a very busy calendar year going on from late 2013. They put out the massive Lego Marvel Super Heroes, a game based on two-thirds of the Hobbit trilogy, this fall’s Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and amongst all of that, they managed to produce a game that launched next to February’s blockbuster hit, The Lego Movie. Normally when it comes to games that coincide with the release of a major motion picture the product feels rushed and incomplete almost immediately, but every so often you get a game that doesn’t suffer in quality despite meeting a very firm deadline, which I’m happy to report is the case with The Lego Movie Videogame. It’s just as much to fun to play as your own personal favorite Lego game, though it feels a little truncated, something I’m personally okay with. On top of all of that, it manages to capture the spirit of the film it’s based on, making it an excellent purchase for fans of the movie.
The Lego Movie Videogame follows the plot of the film of the same with Lord Business forcing order over the Lego universe through the use of the Kragle, leading to the discover of “The Special,” a run of the mill construction worker named Emmt who must rise to save everyone from a prophecy as dictated by the wise Vitruvius, who knows it must came to pass because it rhymes. The cut-scenes showcased in The Lego Movie Videogame are taken straight from the film, a fact you’re reminded of constantly when playing on the PS4 as it tells you every time that recording has ceased, even when you weren’t in the first place. Needless to say if you haven’t seen The Lego Movie by this point, and if you haven’t, why not?, you should see the film first before playing this game.
What adds to this being a great companion piece to The Lego Movie is that it has a large percentage of the cast voicing the characters in game as well, with the noticeable exception of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern, respectively, though they only played minor parts in the story anyway. Expect to hear the likes of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day (SPACESHIP!) and Liam Neeson, none of which are phoning in their lines and all having a good time, just like it appeared they were when making the movie.
The stages included do a great job of expanding on key moments in the film’s story, like the freeway chase early on in the film among others, and do what every movie companion game should do: Let you play the movie you just saw. The game is divided into a series of hub worlds, each representing one of the many worlds included in the film: The city of Bricksburgh, The Old West, Cloud Cuckoo Land and Octan Tower, all of which have their own unique style that help to create a very diverse visual experience through the fifteen stage adventure.
If you’ve played one Lego game, as the saying goes, you played them all, and The Lego Movie Videogame doesn’t add any new wrinkles to the formula like Lego Marvel Super Heroes did before it. You play through levels, punch objects to collect studs and construction pieces, solve some puzzles with Lego objects and hit enemies, it all feels very familiar and traditional but in a good way. With respect to the Lego super hero games, both the Lego Batman series and Lego Marvel Super Heroes, a lot of situations could be handled by a few characters but in playing through this game’s campaign, every character feels important, really driving home the theme of everyone being special. Emmet’s needed to fix things, Unikitty can assemble things from rainbow color Lego pieces, and my favorite of all is Vitruvius, who because he’s blind is unafraid of walking across percarious ledges and always has a hilarious comment accompanying his stroll. You’re not going to find one super Emmet who can do everything, not even Batman this time around, so expect to be swapping in and out of different character rolls left and right.
Compared to some of the more recent Lego games, the post-game and freeplay content in The Lego Movie Videogame can seem downright paltry. The stages only have five bonus items to be found plus a hidden pair of pants compared to normal ten minikit pieces found in most Lego games and there’s only 70 characters to unlock, though the roster does include the likes of Gandalf the Grey and several DC super heroes including Wonder Woman, Superman and Wonder Woman. While there’s multiple hub worlds to explore, they’re all pretty small with only a few mini-missions and red brick cheats found within them.
Most of the time having a lack of content would be considered a negative, but I never found that to be a case in this game. I very much enjoyed exploring the vast New York map in Lego Marvel, uncovering hundreds of characters, gold bricks and bonuses, but it can get fatiguing after a while, so it’s nice to have a game like this where you can complete the hub world content in the better part of an afternoon and not having to devote days on a time like some other Lego games. The bonus level this time around, set in a kids bedroom full of Lego posters and toys, makes you wonder why more games don’t star tiny characters with larger items to scale, and serves as a nice throwback and TT Games worked on the Toy Story 2 game once upon a time.
Anyone who feared that The Lego Movie Videogame would be a black eye on TT Games stellar series of games can put those worries aside. The Lego Movie Videogame has all the charm and personality as the film it takes inspiration from and serves a reminder of just how fun a movie game can be sometimes. It’s not as jam packed with content or deep as something like Lego Marvel Super Heroes, but it’s a nice snack sized Lego game while it lasts; never a bad thing.