Game Review: LEGO Worlds
Applying LEGO branding to a Minecraft clone seems like it would make all of the money in the world. Why then, was the brand instead slapped onto No Man’s Sky? I don’t know either.
When I first saw a trailer for this it looked like Minecraft. Clearly Minecraft takes a lot of inspiration from LEGO style building blocks. Most of people’s enjoyment of it is from what they create, much more than what they find in the randomly generated world. To be fair, you can build anything you want in LEGO Worlds. You can probably do it in a much more believable way than you ever could in Minecraft. It’s also going to take 100 times longer.
To begin with, aside from the most very basic of pieces, you need to unlock all of the bricks, one by one. Earning those bricks is dreadfully boring. As you roam around any of the various LEGO planets, sooner or later a “Troublemaker” will spawn. They are little green gremlins that run away from you, unless you’re too far away. Then they just stand there until you start chasing them, at which point they will continue to run away. It’s not interesting. You tackle the thing and unlock a brink. Rinse, repeat. It will take many, many hours of random gameplay for you to have the opportunity to unlock all of the available building pieces in LEGO Worlds. It’s like if you bought a massive collection of LEGO bricks in real life, and each piece was sorted nicely for you to use. Only they’re all in a locked compartment that unlocks randomly the longer you play with the pieces you already have. Nobody would buy that.
The primary gameplay is this: You’re a LEGO astronaut who flies from one randomly generated planet to the next, and when you get there you can’t do very much. Sound familiar? You’ll be asked to bring a character 5 different animals, paint their barn, or build them a tree house. There are a couple more than that, but not many more. If you accept their quest you will be rewarded with an item or a gold brick. The gold bricks are what you want. They unlock new stuff. So usually instead you get an ice cream cone, and maybe you can trade that for something else, that you can trade in turn for a gold brick. If you get enough you can unlock larger worlds and new tools, but the rewards are far too little and sparse to keep my interest.
The actual act of creating things is painful. You must navigate through clumsy menus, slowly, to choose a piece. Then you need to fight the camera to decide where to place it. Then you’re going to realize there’s a one-half piece gap between layers of your work, because the camera is terrible. Then you’re going to just say screw it and see if the person will give you the item anyway. I spent a lot of time in LEGO Worlds thinking that it would be better served with a first person camera. You’d never experience these headaches building simple things in Minecraft.
Tools like landscaping and duplication help the process when it comes to just populating a map. You can copy part or all of an existing structure and easily replicate it. You can scan animals, characters, and various items in the world and replicate them at will. All of that works well, but if you want full control you have to do it piece by piece, and the game falls apart there.
Combat is notably terrible as well. All you can do is spam attack and hope for the best. Your ranged weapons are really hard to use because of the previously mentioned poor camera. Fortunately, only a few of the quests are dependent on combat. Many of them are simply fetch or trade quests. The items are typically found in chests, which you can see glowing on the map. That indicates it’s below you if not right in front of you. Very quickly I resorted to cheesing the game with my landscape tool. There’s a chest here and I need to find a cave entrance and then navigate it’s labyrinthine paths to get to the end that may actually just be some currency and not a valuable trade item? Cool, but I’ll just use the landscape tool to make gigantic pits and dig my way down.
Finally, there's a trophy for getting a billion studs. There is no known stud multiplayer in LEGO Worlds as of now. I've seen players estimate grinding this trophy out to take over 300 hours.
Is LEGO Worlds good? Are you getting this for somebody under 12 years old? If so, they’ll probably think it’s the best game ever made. If not, stay away.
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Steam
Played on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Game Completed: No!
Reviewer: David Quigley