With LEGO Dimensions nothing but a brick-based memory, TT Games’ seemingly endless conveyor belt of licensed LEGO games has returned to regular full-game releases, and with its cinematic inspiration now playing in cinemas the world over it’s the turn of the super-powered family of The Incredibles to receive the Danish block treatment.
Much like most of the games in the series of late, LEGO The Incredibles rarely breaks from the blueprint that’s served it well for so long. Its 12 levels are loosely based on the two brilliant Pixar films, with the game following the events of the new sequel first before returning to the ‘Golden Years’ of the 2004 original, but everything is based in the sandbox hub that is Municiberg and New Urbem. The levels themselves are your usual fare ranging from over-the-top set-pieces (including a motorcycle chase through the city) to more mixes of platforming and environmental puzzles.
You’ll break all the scenery for studs, use multiple powers to solve environmental puzzles and smash various foes into pieces along the way. It’s exactly what you’re expecting. The only real new additions here are the new room-clearing Super Moves and the multi-faceted Family Builds, which require you to collect special Incredibricks before hitting ‘A’ repeatedly to fill multiple bars on-screen and construct a giant LEGO build to grant access to a new area or defeat a boss. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it adds an extra means of utilising teamwork if you’re playing in drop-in/drop-out co-op.
It’s in the sandbox of the city and its outskirts where you’ll have your most fun. The whole urban sprawl is filled with crimes to solve, serving up a plethora or side-quests to complete. These will help you rack up your collections of gold bricks and minifigs, but it’s when the city is taken over by a Crime Wave that things get really fun. These periodic events increase the number of side-quests, and are a great way to farm studs if you’re looking to increase your numbers. And the more characters you unlock, the more powers you can use to fly, stretch, freeze and speed your way around the city.
We also like the slight change to collector characters - completing certain objectives in a level and fulfilling challenges in the open-world will net you packets which can be opened with a swish of the left analog stick to empty out a minifig. It’s a tiny addition, but it makes grinding for these collectibles that bit more appealing and the younger players among you will no doubt go crazy for opening those virtual packs. And, thankfully, there's not a microtransaction in sight.
From a performance perspective, the frame rate can be a little choppy. Again, this has been an issue on other console versions of the game, simply because of the sheer amount of breakable scenery and elements on-screen, but you’ll eventually become blind to it the more you play. As you’d expect, it does run a little smoother when docked, but it’s still very much playable in handheld mode. There’s a little bit of texture pop in as well, but considering how decent the draw distance is throughout the game, it shows you how far we’ve come since the ugly days of the DS LEGO ports. Just be prepared for a painfully long loading time each time you boot up the game - your Switch might even go into Sleep mode it’s so long.
The voice-acting for most part is decent, but up and down when it comes to the Parr family itself. Violet and Dash are spot on, and the voice actress bringing Helen ‘Elastigirl’ Parr to life does a great job of nailing Holly Hunter’s southern drawl, but it’s consistently ruined by the voice actor stepping in for Bob Parr/Mr Incredible. It’s like a horrible cross between Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin and it sounds nothing like the Craig T Nelson from the films. It’s a minor niggle, but one that grates considering how integral the whole family is to the story.
Coming so soon after the enjoyable LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 - which gathered together an obscenely large number of well-known comic book characters and expansive locales - LEGO The Incredibles ends up offering an experience that boasts plenty of charm, but lacks the kind of deep lore and world-building needed to populate something as vast and content-filled as a LEGO games.
Without the broad appeal of a DC or Marvel licence - and the incredible rosters that easily fill the character-heavy casts that drive the collectible nature of these games - this instalment looks, sounds and plays more like a collection of user-created superheroes. That’s not to say its cast of supers are instantly forgettable across the board - the slapstick of elderly hero Reflux steals every scene he’s in, and baby Jack-Jack has a brilliant level where he’s wrestling with a raccoon (it's funnier that it sounds). The inclusion of some other Pixar characters also helps bulk out the roll call, but it makes you feel a Pixar-themed LEGO game would have been a much easier sell.
LEGO The Incredibles is exactly the kind of inoffensive and family-friendly action adventure fun you’d expect from a TT Games offering. You’re better off watching the film before you buy as it’ll ruin the plot without a second thought, but with its activity-filled sandbox and the usual mix of platforming and puzzle-solving, it’s an ideal way to keep younger fans happy once they leave the cinema. You just can’t help but shake the feeling this should have been a LEGO Dimensions level pack rather than a full-game.