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Review: LEGO Worlds

At a Glance

This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!

ESRB Rating: E10 - Everyone (Ages 10 and up)
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: Adventure / Sandbox
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2017
Review Published On: June 2nd, 2021
Played on: Thaddeus

Available from:

Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

There are four profiles to choose between, and your progress is recorded automatically as you explore the various worlds. There are also options on the pause menu that allow you to save your game manually.

To pause the game, bring up a menu or view your inventory.

Summary of
Major Issues:

There is some family-friendly violence, as you'll need to fight evil LEGOs from time to time.

Screenshots

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Driving by a literal blockhead.

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Exploring the deep ocean

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Many worlds have elaborate cave networks



Game Overview

If you've ever watched the LEGO movie, then you know being a Master Builder is something of a big deal. In the real world, Master Builders are the people who design and assemble the large LEGO installations at events and theme parks, but in the LEGO world, this title denotes a near godlike entity, a skilled craftsman who can reshape the world with their every whim.

The story of LEGO Worlds focuses on your journey to become one of these elite creators. In the very beginning, your PUG-Z rocket ship gets struck by a passing meteor and crashes on a small world. During your adventure, you'll repair and upgrade it, giving you access to larger and more diverse worlds. But first, you'll need to find some Gold Bricks.

Gold Bricks are the key to your quest. You'll typically earn them by helping LEGO people out in ways that only a Master Builder can. These tasks can be as simple as fending off some monsters or as complex as building a structure, but with the right tools and some imagination, you can craft your way out of any situation. Also, many tasks can be solved in all sorts of ways, so you're free to be as creative or as direct as you want.

However, before you can go around building copies of whatever looks interesting, you must first "discover" it. There are a couple of ways to do this, but the most common method is to use your Discovery Tool to scan something and then spend some Studs (the typical LEGO currency) to unlock it in the Discovery Tool's menu. Another way to get new building options is to find or be rewarded with a boxed LEGO set. Regardless of the method used, once you've unlocked something, it's all a matter of aiming the tool and pressing a button to place it in the world around you.

Probably the most important things to discover are vehicles. Travelling around on foot quickly becomes tedious once the worlds start getting bigger, and some vehicles also have secondary features that can be useful. You don't need to discover a vehicle to use it; this just allows you to place one in the world whenever you're tired of walking. Every vehicle handles differently, so give them a test drive before spending the Studs on them. You'll also automatically unlock a set of "secret agent" and "evil henchman" vehicles when you complete the original three worlds, so give those a try as well.

Now, while the prebuilt stuff is neat, chances are you'll want to build some custom stuff sooner or later. After all, that's pretty much the main appeal of LEGOs. But is not easily done. First you'll need to have recovered the Build Tool, and then you'll need to do more exploring to recover the bricks it uses. A special type of enemy, known as Troublemakers, have stolen all the bricks you could use to build something, and you'll need to catch them in order to unlock the different types of bricks.

Of course, you can also skip the adventure and play around in Sandbox mode. In this mode, nothing is locked away, so you're free to play with everything right out of the gate. There's no need to chase down Troublemakers, complete tasks, or spend Studs; just visit different worlds and have some unstructured fun with the game's contents. Personally, I found the Sandbox mode to be a bit boring compared to the story mode, but everyone has their preferences I suppose.

Speaking of people's opinions, there's a sizable chunk of the gaming community that was disappointed by this title, and it's not hard to see why. A number of promises were made during development, and for one reason or another, several didn't pan out. The most obvious example is that the procedurally generated worlds originally had no size restrictions and were practically boundless. Today, worlds come in specific sizes like pizzas or drink cups, and this limits how much you can explore or build on a specific world.

The other major complaint is that there's no way to create a flat, empty world for you to fill with whatever creations you can dream up. Every world, including the custom ones, are full of people roaming about, monsters getting in the way, and randomly placed hills preventing you from building that giant fortress of doom you've always wanted. This effectively locks the game in the adventure gaming genre, despite how much people want to just build things with virtual LEGOs.

Despite these drawbacks, I rather enjoyed the crazy shenanigans that you can get up to in this game, and I'd recommend it to anyone who might enjoy a laid-back sandbox style adventure. Just don't expect it to be another Minecraft or something, and you'll do fine.

Points of Interest

Tons of things to find and collect
Discovering things is vital to success in this game, though you don't need to search out every item or building in order to become a Master Builder. If you see something you like, "discover" it -- especially if you find a vehicle that you like, as being able to take your favorite plane or car with you is quite handy when you've exploring larger worlds.

You can also discover other characters. Most of the time, you'll need to complete a task for them before they'll allow you to discover them, but once you do, you can use the parts and accessories from their outfits to customize your own character.

For an extreme version of a collectable scavenger hunt, there are several Legendary Bricks. The search for these begins when you find their map fragments in large chests. Building all four of them into their proper square shape reveals a QR code that your smartphone can read. Each QR code contains the location of the LEGO world where that specific Legendary Brick can be found. Visit this world, explore around to find the Legendary Brick's resting place, and you'll gain an achievement for your effort. There are over a dozen of these, so be ready to do a LOT of exploring.
Each world is completely unique
With the exception of the first three worlds (which are intended to be tutorials), every world is created using a random sampling of possible biomes. These biomes aren't just based around natural environments like grasslands or forests. You'll also encounter biomes themed around the Wild West, fairy tales, scrapyards, and candy. Additionally, each world has a chance to feature elaborate cave systems, towns, dungeons, and even castles in the sky. When you go exploring on a new world, prepare for anything!
Steam community features
Although there aren't any Steam trading cards available for this game, there are 71 achievements that determined Master Builders can earn. Some note your progress towards the coveted title, but many of them are earned by doing clever or crazy things. A few even involve performing specific actions with an online friend, so be ready for some multiplayer adventures if you're going to try for them all.
Controls are unwieldy
A lot of players complain that the controls aren't easy to use, and I have to agree. The tool menu is probably the biggest annoyance, as it's controlled by the left analogue stick and has an annoying habit of selecting the option next to one you're trying to choose. Another problem with the controls is that several actions use the same button. For example, putting away a tool, taking out a tool, and opening the tool's menu are handled through same button. This isn't terribly intuitive or convenient.
Sometimes crashes when generating a new world
Sadly, one of this game's greatest strengths ( the ability top explore totally unique worlds ) is also its biggest downfall. There's a risk that the first time you visit a new world, the game will crash, leaving you staring at your desktop. Thankfully, the autosave will have kicked in while you were in space, so you don't lose any progress. You'll just need to restart the game and select the new world on the galaxy map again. This is probably related to why worlds aren't boundless anymore; limiting the world's size might have been a (mostly successful) attempt to fix this problem.

Concerns and Issues

Naturally, there are holiday themed worlds.
Christmas has come early to the LEGO universe, as there are entire worlds dedicated to the secular winter holiday. Halloween-themed worlds can also be enabled by purchasing the proper DLC packages, though you'll be able to find zombies and skeletons in other worlds without any extra purchases.
Destructive play is rewarded
LEGO video games have made destruction into a fine art, as most of the games in the LEGO franchise grant the player Studs or other rewards for smashing structures and other objects. Things can get a bit crazy in this game, as bazookas, explosives, and other dangerous weaponry can be employed to reduce a location to rubble. It doesn't get boring, either.
Mild violence
Players will need to defend themselves (and sometimes others) from attackers. These enemies can range from spiders or snakes to zombies and vampires to different sorts of just plain mean or nasty people. Defeating an enemy causes them to split into their separate pieces, much like anything else in the game that gets destroyed. This also includes your character, as they'll also pop apart if their health drops to zero.

Dying like this doesn't amount to much though, as your character will simply be reassembled somewhere nearby. At worst, they'll have dropped something from their inventory. Dying while attempting to complete a task for someone also flags the task as failed.