If you’re looking to invest in the future, a retirement plan isn’t the way to go. LEGO is unbelievably hot right now, with sets of the Danish blocks somehow being literally worth more than their weight in gold if you happen to keep them in a mint condition for a few years. That’s great news for collectors. But for people who just want to actually use the stuff for its intended purpose? It ain’t exactly cheap to have a LEGO hobby.
Fortunately there’s an alternative to the physical, that won’t end with a four-stud brick in your foot when you’re stumbling around in the dark looking for a midnight slash. LEGO Worlds is finally out, and with it comes a promise of infinite creation and worlds. It’s the kind of game which has drawn inevitable MineCraft comparisons so far, a game which was compared to LEGO itself back when it as released in 2011.
And while there certainly are some visual traits present within LEGO Worlds that make such comparisons more overt, there’s another influence at play here. Specifically Disney Infinity, which LEGO Worlds shares some DNA and building blocks with. But it’s still enough of a game to stand on its own two peg-legs, thanks to its trademark charm and subtleties within the formula.
Nuances that you’d dismiss if you sat through the opening hour of LEGO Worlds, a game that’s unapologetically aimed at kids. You’re in a spaceship, you’re cruising the cosmos and you’re landing on randomly-generated planets collecting gold bricks to progress further within the game to unlock more goodies. Simple enough, but the twist in the tale comes from the numerous tasks that you find yourself saddled with so that you can get your hands on those all-important gold bricks.
Maybe a scientist needs a lab built for them, a cattle rancher wants you to corral some of his wandering herd into a pen or Robin Hood needs a retreat built for the fair Maid Marian. All well and good, but how you approach these tasks are left entirely up to you. They’re set dressing at best however, with the real meat and potatoes of LEGO Worlds being in the actual art of construction and master builds.
To get the job done, you’re given a healthy selection of tools: discovery, free build, painting and landscape machines with which you can alter the very building blocks of the LEGO universe around you. They’re fortunately easy to use, whether you’re a toddler or have the mental capacity of one (hi mom!). They’ll get just about any job done, boast plenty of variety and the more you discover the more intricate your builds become as you unlock an inventory.
That’s the real charm of LEGO Worlds: Finally having enough blocks to build a masterpiece. You can bypass the need to meticulously place each block in a row and simply whip up a master build which you can further tinker with, but where’s the fun in that? LEGO Worlds may not have the tactile connection of its physical counterpart, but the actual art of placing bricks is a painless affair once you get the hang of it.
LEGO Worlds has a story mode written by the tweens it was intended for, but it’s the very freedom afforded by the free build mode that saves the game. Once you’ve got those 100 golden bricks, you unlock a golden ticket to letting your imagination fly wild. It’s just a pity that LEGO Worlds does at times feel like its technically unpolished, with screen jitters and frame-drops happening often enough to be puzzling. The game looks colourful, but even hundreds of thousands of blocks don’t exactly exactly boast next generation rendering technology in their execution.
Either that or having Peter Serafinowicz’s magnificent voice narrate your journey requires more processing power than I thought it would. Minor quibbles aside, LEGO Worlds is still a fun game if you’ve got the imagination for it. It’s LEGO on a grand scale, but confined to a more bank budget friendly TV. It doesn’t have a story worth much, but the chance to create your dream build on your own terms is nothing to sneeze at.