(Wii U)

Game Review

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Almost everything is awesome

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been otherwise indisposed from newspapers, radio, television, the Internet, or any of the other countless forms of communicative devices that the news media uses to infiltrate our lives in 2014, you’re probably well aware that a new movie based on your favourite childhood toy has been released unto the world. Thankfully we’re not talking about the atrocious Transformers or G.I. Joe franchises, instead we’re referring to LEGO. That’s right, LEGO. The film — about the studded little building blocks that cause a tremendous amount of pain when accidentally stepped on — has finally hit theatres and it’s already being reviewed as one of the best films of this fresh new year. Like so many films and franchises that have come before it, The LEGO Movie isn’t without its interactive tie-in. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the confusingly titled The LEGO Movie Videogame.

The plot revolves around Emmet Brickowski, an average construction worker leading an exceptionally average life who suddenly finds himself on a journey to save the entire LEGO universe. Along the way, Emmet befriends and works with a rag-tag team of Master Builders in order to stop the evil Lord Business from executing his plan to permanently freeze every living thing. At the sake of spoiling any major plot points, we won’t delve much deeper into the story, but it does follow along that of the film.

Rather than working as a supplemental piece to The LEGO Movie, the videogame is instead an interactive adaptation. The game does take some liberties in order to flesh out the story and extend its own playtime, but everyone should be forewarned that if you haven’t seen the film, this game would definitely spoil it for you. The other side of that argument is that if you have seen the film, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to love revisiting its world and playing as all of your favourite characters.

As is the case with all of the other recent licensed LEGO titles, the gameplay here is a combination of beat-em-up, platforming, and some light puzzle solving, but it’s mostly repetitive button mashing. In any given stage you will have the option of switching between designated characters with their own special skills that help complete any task at hand. Emmet, using his skills as a construction worker, can fix any broken mechanical object or use his jackhammer to break through walls and floors, while Wyldstyle, a decidedly more acrobatic character who is not, in fact, a DJ, uses her ability to jump high to reach platforms and her skills as a Master Builder to construct useful objects out of random piles of bricks. Each character has their own skills to contribute, ensuring that you’ll have to find the right figure to get specific jobs done.

The campaign contains 15 stages that are mostly linear, guiding you along a path that leads directly to your next challenge. Most stages do encourage a small amount of exploration in order to collect studs – the in-game currency – or find hidden objects, though it’s a far cry from the open world antics of LEGO City Undercover. There are small open worlds representative of key locations from the film, such as Emmet’s hometown of Bricksburg and the sickeningly sweet Cloud Cuckoo Land, each of which are full of more collectables to find and side quests to complete.

These areas also serve as hubs from which completed stages are available for replay, and they also help to tie together the sudden changes in the plot’s setting. The load times between stages and before entering the individual open worlds can be a bit lengthy, but once you’re in there isn’t a need for additional waiting. Everything runs smoothly for the most part, and we experienced only slight slowdown in frame rate during some of the more graphically intense scenes. Beyond that, the always-pleasing LEGO aesthetics remain unscathed.

Deviating only slightly from the expected gameplay are new minigames that have been cleverly inserted into the campaign to break up the monotony of tapping Y over and over again. Among the most common of these distractions is Emmet’s game in which he must build objects based on precise instructions. After instruction pages have been collected within a stage, Emmet then enters a mode that tasks players with quickly selecting the right pieces to advance the project. The quicker you find the right fit, the more studs you’ll be awarded. Other characters have similar separate abilities, each in theme with who the character is and what makes them unique. These minigames provide a much appreciated diversion form the all-too-familiar gameplay permeating the rest of the adventure.

A local second player can drop in and out of gameplay at will, utilizing either the Pro Controller or a Wii Remote and Nunchuck combination. The LEGO Movie Videogame uses the multiplayer component well, allowing players to control different characters with various special abilities, alleviating a single player from the need to constantly be switching from figure to figure in any given stage. Multiplayer also supports the series signature dynamic split-screen, or you can choose to have one player view his or her own gameplay on the GamePad's screen while a second player focuses on the television.

The LEGO Movie Videogame supports the full roster of Wii U controller options, with the default predictably set to the GamePad. The controller’s touchscreen helps to simplify character switching, and being able to play off television is a benefit for anyone hoping to play without missing a single moment of Winter Olympics action, but the Wii U’s technology is still being underutilized by the franchise. The quirkiness of the LEGO games perfectly compliments the system's peculiarities, yet – unlike certain stages in Rayman Legends – we still haven’t seen LEGO push Nintendo’s home console towards any type of specialized interaction beyond that in the exclusive LEGO City Undercover. The controls are precise and work well enough, though the aforementioned character specific minigames could easily have benefited from touch integration.

As is par for the course in LEGO games, this one is stuffed full of collectables and hidden objects to be found. New to this game are pairs of pants scattered around the stages. Based on “Where are my Pants?,” the favourite television show of residents of Bricksburg, you are able to find and wear different colourful pairs; it’s a small addition that allows for a bit of character customization disguised as a way to encourage further exploration. From minikits to golden bricks to flashy pairs of pants, you’ll have to use your full roster of characters to successfully find everything that this game has to offer. This is the type of game that strives to keep the completionists among us busy for hours after completing the campaign.

It may be full of the same wit that fans of the LEGO games have come to love, but the fact that this game follows the exact plot of the film presents itself as a double-edged sword when it comes to the humour. The jokes, gags, and cultural references featured in the game follow the series’ trademark wit, but if you’ve seen the movie then you’ve already heard most of it. Knowing what comes next and having a familiarity with the script offers a stagnation that the LEGO games haven’t seen before, a halt in its originality. While titles such as Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes take place in universes that players are familiar with, they feature entirely new plots and dialogue that no one has seen before, and being thrust into the unknown is what makes the LEGO games feel fresh with each new title. For those who have already seen The LEGO Movie, this game lacks that all-important element of surprise.

Conclusion

Going directly along the path of its film tie-in, and following in the footsteps of previous LEGO games, The LEGO Movie Videogame doesn’t deviate from what precedes it in terms of plot or gameplay. If you’ve played one LEGO game before, then you know exactly what to expect from this one, with the exception of the new situations and setting. In spite of all this, it’s still an engaging game that provides a lighthearted and entertaining adventure for players of any age. TT Games has successfully tapped into a lucrative middle-ground where it's found a balance between enjoyable gameplay and accessibility, making it no small wonder that it continues to develop games that don’t reach far beyond that.

The LEGO formula may continue working for now, but eventually the series will have to evolve in order to remain fresh. The LEGO Movie Videogame represents a potential tipping point for the series in that it’s the first time its source material actually interferes with what makes the otherwise bland gameplay unique. This is still a very good game and a worthy addition to any LEGO fan’s collection, but the series’ seams are definitely starting to show.

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User Comments (57)

64supermario

#1

64supermario said:

This game and especially the movie have been getting surprisingly high reviews. I guess I should check them out.

Kaze_Memaryu

#2

Kaze_Memaryu said:

Man, LEGO City Undercover was awesome enough to warrant its own movie, but the trailers for this one is equally aweaome, although for different reasons. If I like the movie, I'll probably get the game as well!

10000mario

#3

10000mario said:

I really liked the game, it had a pretty neat storyline. Though I do feel that the series needs something new to keep people coming back.

Ultrasyd

#6

Ultrasyd said:

Movie avant-première tomorrow in France, and game released next week ! Day one, as I really liked Lego City Undercover. I'm not fond of the games based on licenses like Lord of the Ring, etc. I like it better when it's 100% based on Lego's own world. So this one seems to be very interesting ! I guess I'll miss the very open world of Lego City Undercover though.

Kirbybrawl

#7

Kirbybrawl said:

Nice ill pick this up then. I was turned off that the game just takes the cut scenes from the movie cause i already watched it but the game looks fun

Alucard83

#8

Alucard83 said:

To me all Lego games are playing the same with different looks. But gamplay wise still the same. Nothing new. I guess you have to get the theme you like :-)

zionich

#9

zionich said:

Just got done watching the movie. LOVED it.

I got the 3DS version for my son. Uses the Lego Marvel formula for the handheld, which i don't particularly like.

midnafanboy

#10

midnafanboy said:

woah the game and the movie got good reviews awesome i never seen that before except once or twice.

unrandomsam

#13

unrandomsam said:

@chiptoon The animated 1987 one ? - I have never seen it. (The modern ones I think are absolutely dire cannot think of any worse examples of its type).

Sean_Aaron

#14

Sean_Aaron said:

Unlike Lego Marvel and any future movie tie-ins this looks like it could be pretty groovy, mainly because I enjoyed the film and I find the use of licenses end up being too similar to each other in execution. So happy to hear you can dump the dynamic split screen (only time I've had a game make me nauseous is a two-player Lego game using this feature) in favour of two separate screens!

Anguspuss

#15

Anguspuss said:

i picked up lego city on 3ds in the was it or wasnt it flash sale. & i was pretty impressed with it. Yes some foggy skys but nothing to distract from the game.

K-Gamer

#16

K-Gamer said:

LEGO knows how to do everything right, toys, video games, and now movies. Whoever is behind all of this deserves a pat on the back... And a raise.

ningeek185

#17

ningeek185 said:

@K-Gamer I can't help but agree. Not only is LEGO a smart company, but so is Apple, Microsoft, Walt Disney, and other genius brands.

PvtOttobot

#18

PvtOttobot said:

GOING TO SEE IT ON SUN!!!! I'm taking my wee bros out (my treat) to go see it! I can't wait!

PvtOttobot

#19

PvtOttobot said:

@ningeek185 beep beep beeeeeep, holly sarcasm batman, the bat-ctually-implying-something-else sensor is going crazy! Or does it need recalibration?

CharleSketch

#22

CharleSketch said:

The movie blew my mind. Despite the great reviews, I seriously did not expected the movie to be just THAT good. Among my favorite movies ever, hands down. I love lego games, and although the lack of surprise, when it comes to the script, will be a bit of an issue, I'll pick up this game later. Donkey Kong's got priority, but this is second on the list..

CanisWolfred

#23

CanisWolfred said:

Now that is a tagline.

I still haven't played Undercover yet. If I like that, I might consider picking this up, but I just haven't been in the lighthearted mood lately (and by lately, I mean an entire year...)

Bobhobob

#24

Bobhobob said:

I would recommend the movie to almost anyone, and I'm glad to see that the game comes close to that as well. Will buy later on when it becomes cheap.

Ichiban

#25

Ichiban said:

There are more Lego games on Wii U than Mario games! When will the madness end?!!

Spoony_Tech

#27

Spoony_Tech said:

Was at Lego's R Us (Toy's R Us) the other day and man that store is like 35% legoes now.

My son got 4 sets for his birthday and we will see the movie tomorrow. Just picked up Lego City though so this can wait for a price drop! Good review though!

LunaPon-3

#28

LunaPon-3 said:

Great game. I picked it up on the Xbone. Not much difference really. I hope TT makes another Lego City.

8bitforever

#31

8bitforever said:

Curious how the 3DS version is, seeing how all the handheld versions were good up to lego Marvel. I didn't like being unable to jump when playing as super heroes.

mcusc5435

#33

mcusc5435 said:

@unrandomsam I have actually played the game and it is really good so I assure you there was absolutely no type of bribe even though I strongly hope your being sarcastic about the post

Rensch

#34

Rensch said:

Finally the actual environments are made of LEGO as well. The lack of that always bothered me about all these LEGO games.

ricklongo

#38

ricklongo said:

"it’s a far cry from the open world antics of LEGO City Undercover."

All I needed to know. I'll pass.

Man, I so want a Lego City Undercover 2. I don't even care if it's multiplatform, just give me more Chase McCain.

AJWolfTill

#39

AJWolfTill said:

"you can choose to have one player view his or her own gameplay on the GamePad's screen while a second player focuses on the television."

Ahh, to me this is exactly the kind of extra step which shows that the developer has really thought about what to do with the system! I wish more games utilised this! I'm still waiting for a survival horror multiplayer type experience which builds on what the Luigi's mansion mode in NintendoLand did. I really hope Nintendo is on top of this as part of it's "Sell the gamepad" movement.

darthstuey

#40

darthstuey said:

Lego City is one of the greatest games I have ever played- the humour, the characters and the hunting for gubbins. Simply utter wonder. This is just like all the other lego games- which is no bad thing when playing with the kids as the enjoyment factor is so high.

Pj1

#43

Pj1 said:

I havn't seen the movie yet but I really like the game, for a movie tie in it's actually rather good. It has some cut scenes from the movie too! I've only ever played Star wars, Indiana Jones and Batman for about 10 minutes by the sounds of it those games are better so I'm in for a treat when I go back to them. I've heard that they doing Ghost Busters Lego game but I would really love it if Nintendo allowed the Lego game makers to do either a Mario or Zelda title! it might be tricky to pull off but I could see that run and run!

Shpongled_Mario

#47

Shpongled_Mario said:

Saw the movie today and like everything it was awesome! Made me really want to get this game even though I know it won't be as good as Lego city undercover.

Gamer83

#50

Gamer83 said:

Better review than I thought it'd get especially since the movie is kind of lame. Still a little interested in picking this up for PS4 or Vita/3DS but with Yoshi's New Island soon on the way I may pass and save up for that instead.

MadAdam81

#51

MadAdam81 said:

@PrincessEevee9 some were good, some were horrible. I enjoyed 5 on the Wii, which had you using a wiimote as your wand. Sadly that was the last one that was any good.

AcesHigh73

#53

AcesHigh73 said:

Sorry for the brevity, but I'm running out and don't have time to read the review until tonight... Was thinking of grabbing this for my Wii U on the way home - does it support off-TV play?

It's kind of a deal breaker!!

AcesHigh73

#54

AcesHigh73 said:

Okay, having finally read the review in its entirety, I'm pleased to note that this latest LEGO offering from TT does indeed support off-TV play. Long story short, I'm in!

HandheldGuru97

#55

HandheldGuru97 said:

Dat tag line :P :P I saw the movie and it was really a sweet heartfelt film, but I'm still more than content with Lego City Undercover!!!!!!!!

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