That’s an idea that took way too long to finally arrive: a sandbox Lego game. After all these years thinking about what would a Lego game look like in a Minecraft-ish, environment, TT Games has finally answered with Lego Worlds. In a time full of magnificent titles such as Nioh, Zelda, Nier and Horizon, does it have enough qualities for people to pay attention to it?
Lego Worlds isn’t simply Minecraft with plastic bricks, thankfully. It also includes elements from the previous Lego games (solving simple puzzles in order to collect gold bricks, which in turn can unlock new features in the game) and, surprisingly enough, No Man’s Sky. Wait!! Before you close this window, let me inform you that Lego Worlds did what Sean Murray’s failure of a game couldn’t do: making exploring procedural generated planets fun.
Yes, Lego Worlds‘ maps aren’t exactly gigantic endless maps like Minecraft, they are procedurally generated planets. Each planet isn’t more than a square mile in size, but that’s good, as each map is as big as it should be, and once you’re done exploring it and building stuff on it, you can basically hop into your ship and find another planet to explore.
Once you get through the initial tutorial-ish worlds, and once you find a world to explore, you’ll be able to experience the full scope of Lego Worlds. You can freely build whatever you want with the pieces you own, or you can solve puzzles provided by NPCs (who’ll usually ask for a specific building, or for you to level the terrain in some manner).
The good thing about the building mechanics is that not all pieces are unlocked from the start. You need to find little enemies throughout the worlds called Troublemakers, and once you catch one of them, you’re awarded with a new type of brick (2×3 bricks, 3×3 bricks, doors, etc.). Once you own a certain type of brick, you can use it as much as you like. I found this mechanic appealing, encouraging you to keep exploring the worlds and not simply stay stuck in a place building things.
The issues with the building mechanics are its controls, especially at first. The game was clearly thought with the PC in mind, so you’ll need some time to get used to handling those mechanics without a mouse. The camera work isn’t very helpful in the beginning as well, but thankfully you will get used to it after a while. Those issues bring up a little problem with the game: while being an absolute blast to play, it’s not that fun to keep on playing it after a couple of hours. Lego Worlds is definitely better enjoyed in smaller sessions.
Lego Worlds features pretty much the same visuals from previous Lego games, all the way back to the last generation era. It is not a groundbreaking game in the visual department, but it features a nice addition: EVERYTHING in the game is made out of Lego bricks, every single tile on the floor is a Lego brick. While it does add a new level of franchise fidelity, this increased amount of particles onscreen can sometimes hinder the visual performance of the game.
The sound department is just good. While the soundtrack itself isn’t anything special at all (it’s just there), one positive note about it is the game’s narrator’s voice, provided by actor Peter Serafinowicz, who delivers a very entertaining performance toppled up with his characteristic British suave.
Lego Worlds turned out to be quite a pleasant experience. Granted, it isn’t visually appealing and it has some annoying gameplay issues, but you can’t deny the appeal of being able to build everything you can imagine, as well as its interesting exploration mechanics. The game is everything No Man’s Sky promised to be, in terms of exploration, and it made a nice job with the procedural generated worlds.
With an initial $30 pricetag, it is completely worth the purchase, if you’re able to put the controller down for Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn…
Also available on: PC, Xbox One