LEGO, loved it as a child but even more as a grown up thanks to the amazing games that bring to life so much of the universes that make up my nerdliness. From Star Wars to DC and MARVEL Comics, LEGO Games have transported me to those worlds time and time again. So it is rather fitting that TT Games have now given fans the chance to create their own universes in LEGO thanks to LEGO Worlds.
I never could get into Minecraft but always respected the potential it offered the more creative players out there with some truly amazing builds but for me, LEGO has always felt like the most obvious use of such player creation mechanics and now finally, we have that very game. I was honestly not sure what to expect with LEGO Worlds but I have to admit I was both impressed but frustrated with the game in equal measure.
What took me by surprise to start with is how the game is presented to the player and clearly someone in the design team has played Little Big Planet as the game features a Narrator that both explains what is happening but also adds a nice sense of humour to the game, especially when you are just starting out. The premise is that you are an explorer but when your spaceship is damaged by meteors and crashes on a strange LEGO world. The narrator explains that you must find Gold Bricks in order to repair the ship and continue your journey to become a ‘Master Builder’, something that the Narrator makes sound so awesome!
The first thing about LEGO Worlds that strikes you is just how accessible it is for players of all skills. It brilliantly uses familiar LEGO game systems to bring the creative elements to life in easy and fun ways. The first tool you are giving is perhaps the most powerful one in the game, the Discovery Tool. It can be used to scan any and all items in the worlds you visit, and once scanned and unlocked, it can be used to create more of them in the world or to remove them and serves as the player’s first taste of manipulating the LEGO world around them.
The opening hour or first three worlds that the game takes the player too serve as a nice tutorial, as these training worlds give a superb look at how the mechanics of LEGO worlds work. Each world will give the player a new task to complete along with collecting more Gold Bricks in order to improve the Space Ship allowing it to travel to new and larger worlds which will in turn increase the player’s Builder ranking with the ultimate goal of becoming a Master Builder. The game will clever give the player more tools to help them shape and craft the world around them. The Copy tool allows you to literally copy anything within the world and gives the player the chance to edit it and save it so they can bring it with them anyway they go, so if you build an amazing house on one world but cannot face doing it again, you can simply copy your creations and using the discovery tool, place them in any world you visit going forward. The Paint tool allows you to well, paint objects in the world to whatever colour or colours you feel like.
The Landscape tool allows a player to manipulate the world around them, raising hills and mountains or creating landmasses. It is a hugely powerful tool once you become more experienced in the game especially once you have mastered the build tool. The Build tool allows for precise building rather than copying or simply recreating something using the discovery tool. This is the tool that will allow players to create masterpieces and whilst I lack the skills to really create something rather epic, you can already see what other players and teams of players have created online, and it is staggering what you can do in this game.
The worlds themselves are procedurally created, that means each world is random and generated by the game itself. The worlds all have a different environment and theme such as the Candy World full of sweets and houses made of Candy with Gingerbread people running around or the Forrest World where you will find some very Robin Hood themed characters and buildings. There are so many different environments to enjoy and discover and with each world being uniquely made, there will always be a surprise once you start visiting different worlds. One of the best features to LEGO Worlds has to be the ability to invite friends to join you in your worlds, something the main LEGO Games must adopt as a mandatory feature going forward.
Inviting a friend to enjoy your world makes this game to a whole different experience to enjoy. For example, I was able to invite my good friend’s six year old little girl to join me in the world. The sense of wonder and just pure fun for her to explore a LEGO world was joyful. I was able to create bicycles for us to ride, helped befriend animals like horses and pigs to also ride on and create a house for her with a garden. The power of LEGO Worlds to inspire a younger audience is wonderful. This would make a superb game for parents to share with their kids and with the price being a very forgiving £19.99 in most retailers at the moment, it is a great educational game with controls which are easy for younglings to pick up and use.
Sadly though the very nature of LEGO Worlds also becomes its more frustrating problem, which I first discovered whilst playing co-op and then playing solo. This game has a lot of bugs with more than one game breaking issue I really hope will be addressed and corrected. The draw distance of the world is quite frankly shocking at times. Just running around on a world for more than 20 minutes caused issues for me, as the world would fail to generate correctly as I moved around meaning whole chunks of the environment would be missing at times. This led to falling off or even through the world forcing me to reload that world. This happened far too many times and particularly in the small worlds that the game opens with before collecting enough gold bricks to move to bigger worlds. I do not understand why the game does not simply create the world and then the whole thing is left to be explored rather than trying to generate it constantly based on where the player is moving means the world can break if it fails to do it quickly enough.
There are also the tedious tasks that characters in each world will offer the player to do to earn Gold Bricks or new items and designs. There are only so many times you can enjoy bringing ice cream to a character to get a small amount of LEGO pegs to spend or befriending animals by giving them the green or red apple they want which then leads to them following you around non stop, even if say you are trying to build a tree house for one character to get earn a Gold Brick only to have the horse somehow follow you up to the top of the tree and constantly get in your way as you are trying to build. These tasks needed more variety to make them worth while especially when once you learn or gain an item you can just give it to anyone who asks for it, removing the challenge once found.
But with those frustrations aside, I cannot help but really love LEGO Worlds, from its online co-op to user friendly controls allowing for very quick pick up and play. The narration is great fun and the freedom to explore and create in each of the worlds is rewarding enough to make investing time genuinely satisfying. The problem of draw distance is holding back the game on Xbox One for me, and future updates must address and improve on this problem. But sharing this game with friends does lift it and it will make a great game for parents to share with their kids. The surprises each world can have just make you smile as the player, I remember the first time I discovered you could also explore the ocean in a world and was soon swimming with Dolphins, Stingrays and riding an Octopus and it was so delightful.
But the issues are game breaking at times, and it does take the shine off it more than it should which is a shame. But it has the potential to be great if it is supported in the future. LEGO Worlds is worth playing if you are a fan of the LEGO games and want to create your own world and just explore a LEGO universe.