Lego is best known for its construction toy sets, but in recent years the company has cemented its iconic status by branching out into films and games. Lego Worlds is the latest game set in the Lego universe. The game has a long history already, having been available via early access on the PC since 2015. Lego Worlds is essentially a construction game where you use bricks to create architectural masterpieces and sometimes, you can play God and shape the terrain to solve puzzles – or just to have fun.
That is where the charm of Lego Worlds lies. It’s a game where you can build pretty much anything you want to. There are a large number of bricks and objects in the game so you can build anything from a drilling machine vehicle, to a gigantic castle. It all depends on how much time and patience you have, and how good you are at executing this vision. If that sounds like a familiar idea, then it’s because this game is in the same genre as Minecraft.
Lego Worlds is different from Minecraft because it has a proper storyline with linear progression. Minecraft can be a bit intimidating for some new players, because what you're supposed to do next is not always clear. Lego Worlds on the other hand makes it clear right from that start that you are to chase gold bricks, which help you unlock new levels.
This is also where Lego Worlds gets a bit frustrating. It gives you a bunch of tools such as the discovery tool to identify and unlock new objects, the build tool for construction, and the incredibly useful copy tool for those who’re feeling lazy. You’ll be tasked with using these tools to complete small quests for inhabitants of various worlds. That gives you gold bricks, which you can use to travel to new worlds. Each world has a different theme – you could even end up in a world full of candy – and that keeps the game feeling fresh.
The problem is that the tasks you have to do often feel repetitive, and suck the fun out of the game. For instance, at the beginning there is a prehistoric world where you have to rescue a few cavemen and women in exchange for gold bricks. You do it four times and you get four bricks, which made us feel like we were just going through the motions. It’s just a tutorial level, but it could use some variety.
We did find ourselves wishing for a better storyline and progression mechanism. The thin plot centres around your character’s wish to become a master builder. Over time, we grew quite bored of the weak story. Wherever your character goes, distressed people pop up asking you to rescue someone or to build something for them. Initially the game gives you the tools for the job via meteor strikes. As soon as you land on a world, a meteor strikes the surface and the narrator repeatedly asks you to go to the crash site until you start moving towards it.
There, you find a tool for the job. From then on, it’s the same kind of story where you help out some distressed souls that you can’t relate to. Sure, helping people is supposed to feel nice but in Lego Worlds, it feels like a grind because it often turns into a meaningless quest for gold bricks.
We also felt that playing the game on our PS4 wasn’t the best idea. The controls aren’t well suited to the gamepad. It feels great when you’re moving the character and jumping around, but we kept wishing for a keyboard and mouse while building houses or shaping terrain. Some of the fine-grained control and precision that construction requires from you, feels like it would be best suited to a mouse. Another frustrating aspect of the game was its camera. While running around worlds, Lego Worlds’ camera was very stable and worked just fine. However when we were shaping terrain, the camera often ended up below the surface or inside mountains, leading to some confusion.
That’s just one of the few bugs that the game has shipped with. We hope these are fixed in future updates. One thing that the game excels at is building. There are a lot of objects and bricks for you in the game and that is good news for builders. Lego Worlds lets you create simple things such as a rough bridge made of rocks, but if you want to unleash your inner Donald Trump, you can go ahead and create a massive wall across one of the game’s many worlds. To be honest, we just used the copy tool a lot to create entire colonies of buildings and large forests and placed our favourite characters (anyone else likes those skeletons?) in these. We even enjoyed using pigs as our preferred mode of transport in some worlds, and found ourselves admiring the character design in many places Even though most characters are just Lego blocks, each character has minute design elements that makes it stand out.
Lego Worlds still feels like a work in progress, odd considering the amount of time it spent in early access on Steam. The game still has a fair few bugs and an awkward story-based progression mechanism, concerns that should have been ironed out with its retail release. This game is essentially about building Lego wonders and we enjoyed it the most when we totally ignored the storyline. But if that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for, Minecraft is still the more polished alternative. However, for Lego fans this is an enjoyable game particularly if you have a PC, so that controller issues won't be a problem.
Overall rating (out of 10): 6
We played a review copy of Lego Worlds on the PS4. The game is available for Rs. 1,499 on PS4, Xbox One, and on PC for Rs. 2,750.