It seems almost silly to review Lego games at this point; if you’ve played one, you know what to expect. Still, though, some of these games are the best cooperative experiences we’ve had. The Star Wars games were a great opportunity to play through some of our favorite movies in lovingly recreated environments with a playful attitude towards the source material. DC Heroes and Marvel Heroes let us play as endless combinations of our favorite heroes and villains and DC Heroes gave us one of our favorite Batman stories. Lego can also boast that they created the best opportunity to play as Superman in any video game, ever.
The Lego Movie is one of the more innovative titles in this series. As many reviewers have mentioned, if you haven’t seen the movie, you certainly should, and you’ll appreciate the game all the more afterwards. The graphics recreate the movies extraordinarily well and the voice actors mimic their movie star counterparts precisely. Levels expand on sequences in the movie mostly successfully and let you further explore the worlds the game introduces to some extent. Plus you get to spend more time with many of the characters who are briefly glimpsed in the game which is also a lot of fun (most notably the hilariously explosive Rainbow Unikitty). If you love the movie, you’ll love the game.
If you didn’t love the movie, though, the game can be a little repetitive. And if you haven’t seen the movie, good luck figuring out what the hell is going on. Basically you play as a citizen of the Lego world who discovers he may have the unique ability to overthrow the evil Lord Business and save the Lego world from his hostile takeover (though this makes a lot more sense in the movie). You travel through different worlds (the city, the Wild West, the fantastically surreal Cloud Coo Coo Land) gathering allies and battling Lord Business’s robot army.
So the question really is what does the game add to the series and that’s where the game falls a little flat. The innovation in this title that we noticed are these sequences where you have to assemble complicated Lego objects by choosing the correct piece in a limited period of time and portions where master builder characters construct larger vehicles from objects on the screen. Oh, and there are hacking sequences in which you play a Pac-Man like game briefly. None of this is particularly interesting additions to the franchise. More than most games, this title seems aimed specifically at two groups: (1.) those who loved the movie and (2.) those who are looking for a game to play with kiddos (or significant others who NEVER play games). If you’re not in those two groups, letting Lego The Movie get past you might be a wise decision.
Okay, let's break down our final score for our Lego the Movie Videogame review...
Graphics really are a blast in the game. The Lego worlds are all lovingly recreated (though the imaginative Cloud Coo Coo Land is the true standout and doesn’t arrive until late in the game) and the music is fantastic, particularly the extremely infectious “Everything is Awesome!”
Lego games have a basic formula (smash blocks and waves of enemies) but some titles do manage to keep this from becoming a grind (Marvel! DC Heroes!) while some titles do not (Pirates!). Wonderful music and brilliant backgrounds make the levels fun to look at but not a lot of fun to play.
As always, there are parts in the game that are only open to certain characters that are unavailable on your first playthrough. The problem, though, is that most of the levels are straightforward grinds in which you pound a series of identical robots and this doesn’t get any more fun with other characters (sigh, I miss The Hulk!).
This is a fun game and a great title if you love the movie. If you’re looking for a great Lego title, though, look to the superhero adventures and leave this one with the lesser titles (cough Pirates and Hobbits cough).