LEGO Worlds is not your typical LEGO video game. It has more in common with Minecraft than games like LEGO Avengers or LEGO Star Wars. In theory, what you get is an infinite number of worlds, built entirely out of LEGO, and a variety of tools to shape those worlds, or build your very own from scratch. Unfortunately, that freedom is locked behind a tedious quest system that will likely deter all but the most determined master builders.
When you begin a new game, you’re given a spaceship made out of LEGO, which crash lands on a tiny world. Things start off promisingly, as you’re given the discovery tool, which lets you ‘discover’ things like plants, boats, animals and people, adding them to your catalogue for later placement. There’s a stud cost to unlock each item before you can place it, but you’ll be collecting plenty of studs as you go, so that’s no problem.
As you progress through the tutorial worlds, you’ll get more tools, including the paint and landscaping tools, the copy tool and the building tool. See a neat building in the world? Use the copy tool to add it to your catalogue, allowing you to place the entire structure wherever you please. You can also find blueprints for various structures. Want to see what’s beneath you? Punch a hole in the ground with the landscape tool. This one is a bit weird: it lets you punch square holes in absolutely anything, creating awkward square or spherical holes in the landscape, right through any bricks that may have been there. You can use this tool to place blocks of bricks as well. I’m not sure ‘landscaping’ is the right word for this…
Not quite LEGO bricks
[pullquote_right]What really bugged me about the brick-by-brick building system, however, is that even though the bricks look like LEGO, they don’t act like LEGO[/pullquote_right]The building tool lets you build with individual LEGO bricks of any shape and colour. Unfortunately, you’ll need to unlock anything beyond the most basic bricks. This wouldn’t be a problem, if unlocking them wasn’t such a pain. You have to find little green monsters carrying the bricks on their heads, chase them down and tackle them to take the brick. Just make sure you don’t tackle it near the edge of the map, or you can kiss that brick goodbye. What really bugged me about the brick-by-brick building system, however, is that even though the bricks look like LEGO, they don’t act like LEGO. You can place bricks on, near, or even through other bricks. There’s no reason or incentive to place them as if they were real LEGO bricks. To top it all off, the controls of the game are quite clumsy. Even something that should be simple, like removing a couple of bricks, is challenging as you fight with the controls and the camera.
LEGO Worlds is cute and pretty, as you’d expect from a LEGO game. The graphics are lovely, but there’s weird lag at times, for no apparent reason, and seeing objects in the near distance suddenly appear as you run closer is a bit jarring. The sound is pretty nondescript. No one talks except the narrator, but there’s a fair amount of sound effects to keep you company.
For the younger master builder
[pullquote_left]I think there’s a lot of potential here: if there was some way around the horrible quest system[/pullquote_left]I could look past these faults if the game itself was actually fun to play. However, once you have your basic editing tools, you soon discover that you’re stuck in a ‘story mode’ of sorts: to access bigger worlds, and eventually unlock the ability to create your own, you need to collect gold bricks. These can sometimes be collected from treasure chests, or by chasing down those annoying green monsters, but the vast majority are locked behind ‘quests’. After the first few, you’ll realise that there’s only a handful of variations, no matter which of the infinite number of procedurally generated worlds you visit: paint something, place an object or building, collect a random object, take a photo, kill some enemies. This soon becomes monotonous as you realise not all quests give you gold bricks, you have no idea where to get that weird green thing that animal wants, and you need 100 gold bricks to build your own worlds. To make things even more painful, you have to do quests for characters and animals if you’d like to unlock and use their minifigure.
With no crafting system, the clunky combat (and building) controls, and no real way to improve your character, only the most enthusiastic builders will likely be able to stick with the game through the tedious story mode to get to the real freedom of building their own worlds. I feel like this game is aimed at a younger market than other LEGO games. I think there’s a lot of potential here: if there was some way around the horrible quest system, I think the game could cater for both those who like the structure of the quest mode, and those who just want to build with virtual LEGO bricks. But right now, the game is likely to frustrate a lot of players.