Considering Minecraft nicked the idea of placing blocks together to make anything you wanted from LEGO, it seems only fair that LEGO gets its own game in return, but while the beta for LEGO Worlds was just that; a world where you can put any LEGO piece to good use, limited by only your imagination, the final game is something a little more restrictive.
We’ve now had a chance to check out the newly added creative mode and the Switch version and this updated review includes these.
It was obvious from the start that Warner Bros and TT Games would need some sort of linear progression to sell the game to a commercial audience outside of the beta. A tutorial was a bare minimum requirement. What they’ve done, then, is to wrap this into an introduction to the game and produce worlds based on various themes that you’ll need to traverse while learning the ropes.
Starting with the basics, you find tools to collect and recreate certain objects via a form of fetch tasks. These reward you, initially, with gold bricks that can be used to power your ship and unlock new worlds. By the third world, you’ll be learning about adding and removing whole areas, copying and pasting and, of course, building things using individual bricks. It’s here, though, that the fetch quests become more of a ‘get item a to give to someone in return for item b’ which would all be fine if it was easy to find the item or the original person who asked for it.
In theory, lights shine down from the sky to indicate useful items or events across each map. It doesn’t always work very well in practice, though, with many tasks still showing after they’ve been completed and some appearing over and over with the same task. Also, despite the overall feeling that you just want to itch your creativity more, there isn’t really enough hand holding after the first three worlds. The next world you come to is a junkyard and there are a lot of tasks which won’t really make much sense to younger players, plus the selection process for other new worlds is hit and miss, having to stab the magnifying glass on the map selection screen to scroll through other worlds you can’t actually see on the map until they get selected, making it look as if there are no other worlds to visit unless you get 25 gold bricks.
Balance is a difficult thing to get right in a game where theoretically, you could build or destroy any item you wanted. The developers have, to their credit, brought some stability to this without leaving you to puzzle everything out on your own, something parents playing with younger players in co-op will be glad of, but at the same time it takes quite a while before you open up the free build tool and are able to build your own structures, even more time before you find planets of your own to build on.
Yet, LEGO Worlds still has a lot of potential, and it’s only when you start to open up the more exciting vehicles, sets and worlds that it really comes alive. It might suggest that a ‘creative’ mode should have been introduced from the start, but it’s here, behind the tutorial and the collection of 25 gold bricks, where the game finally opens up the remainder of its secrets and finally gives you what you wanted all along.
Since the review was first written, a creative mode has been added back in to the game via updates and it really does add a lot. It’s not quite as open as something like Minecraft’s Creative Mode, as it needs you to have gone through the tutorial (for good reason, you need to learn the basics to make any sense of the tools in use here) but it’s a great mode to play around in. The only annoyance is that enemies are still hanging around making a nuisance of themselves here.
The new Switch version takes the main game and adds the latest updates to its features, including the insertion of the much requested creative mode. It has a few issues with frame rates, the hardware doesn’t always seem able to cope with the amount of stuff going on in busy worlds, but it’s still playable. The beauty here is that you can carry your Lego world around with you in portable mode.
For a game initially priced at a budget, there’s a lot to recommend in LEGO Worlds, particularly if you have young children who like to play in co-op mode, but it does require a little work to get to the good stuff.