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Review: LEGO Worlds (Nintendo Switch)By Chantiment At 12.10.2017 15:48

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LEGO Worlds isn't the first LEGO game to make its way around the block. LEGO titles as of late have mostly been tied to various movie tie-ins; usually solid adventure games based loosely on the plot of a popular blockbuster. There's a lot to like about these games: they are great for all ages, decently challenging at times, and honestly just straight up charming. They do, however, lack that element of creative freedom used in building with LEGO.

Here's what LEGO Worlds gets right. There's no limit to the creations that can be created in the virtual worlds you will discover. Having a digital sandbox to build and store LEGO creations is such an amazing concept. There's so much that can be done with the tools built into the creation mode that not even the sky itself can limit construction. There's a great mix of creation tools for any task, and the sheer variety of brick types means few building plans are left unfinished.

The tools are so robust, in fact, that they seem a little too dense at first. The standard build tool keeps all the bricks sorted by type, along with menus for colour and other customisations. There are painting tools, landscape tools, area clearing tools, character editing tools, and more. The menus can feel a little labyrinthine, and this perception doesn't noticeably decrease as gameplay progresses. Navigating menus is always going to feel a little awkward and stiff.

Building isn't without its headaches, either. One of the solid advantages Minecraft has always had is its simplicity. Each material, each construction piece, fits in the same amount of space; one block. LEGO, with its half pieces, thin connecting pieces, and obtuse shapes and strange models, doesn't have that same simplicity. It does allow for more creative freedom in building structures, but it makes laying them out a little unintuitive, especially when it involves diving into the menus for each piece.

Still, it's an excellent building tool, overall. While it might often feel like the menus slow down the experience, the build tools offer an insanely precise level of control over brick placement. There's literally no objective beyond the player's reach, and for the building mode, that's fantastic. The adventure mode is where the problems start to crop up.

LEGO Worlds keeps its build mode and adventure mode separate, but in a rather strange way. Rather than dropping the player into a wide-open sandbox, it instead has a near infinite number of, well, very tiny sandboxes. Each stage is randomly generated with a new theme, with new challenges and quests, and new building parts to discover. There might be a Western-themed world with animals to discover, or a prehistoric world covered in lava, or literally anything else possible to build with LEGO bricks.

These sandboxes offer up golden bricks for completing various NPC missions, which in turn level the player up, granting them new tools, new customisation options, and more special pieces to build with. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of variation in them. It's either "find this specific piece" or "fight this monster" or "build this structure". These missions get tedious extremely quickly, since there's little to no variation in them, which is unfortunate, since so much of the game's content is locked behind these missions.

This is where LEGO Worlds feels extremely frustrating. There's an excellent game here, but it's locked behind an absolutely monotonous adventure mode. Not only are some of the best pieces and tools locked behind dozens of these nearly identical missions, but other special pieces have to be discovered at random through these procedurally-generated worlds. Even if the build mode is great, there's so much garbage to go through before getting to it.

Still, the miniature worlds have a great amount of variety. There are pirate worlds, and fully modern worlds with danger lurking just outside the city walls, and so much more. They would be a lot of fun to explore, if only the game didn't feel like a race to unlock content as fast as possible. The worlds just don't give the player any real reason to explore them. Yeah, they look nice, but when there's nothing to do on them, it kind of defeats the point.

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Final Score
[i]LEGO Worlds[/i] is so close to being a fantastic idea that all the little hang-ups feel way more annoying than they should. The creation mode is fantastic, but extremely touchy controls-wise; and it's gated off by necessitating the player to complete the same missions dozens of times each if they want its best tools. The idea of a digital LEGO sandbox is the stuff that dreams are made of and, honestly, it just hasn't been done justice this time around.



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