Bricks and dinosaurs – a match made in LEGO heaven.
With the world once again getting all excited about dinosaurs with the release of the new Jurassic World movie, it makes perfect sense for a videogame tie-in to make an appearance. Thankfully this is no slapdash cash-in on the movie, but rather another game in the LEGO franchise, offering both family-friendly action and puzzle solving along with a whole lot of brick smashing and stud collecting. And what’s more, LEGO Jurassic World gives both fans of dinosaurs and LEGO the chance to play through not just the new movie, but all four movies in the series.
By now, most gamers young and old will be familiar with the LEGO game format. Whether it be as a Jedi, a super-hero, a Hobbit or a young wizard in the making, gamers have been enjoying an almost constant stream of LEGO tie-in games for years now, and the formula has strayed very little from the very beginning. Fans of the series will be able to slip into their comfortable blocky shoes and jump straight into LEGO Jurassic World with very little by way of guidance. This is, after all, a game for players of all ages, so don’t be expecting anything too difficult. What you have is non-threatening battles, fairly straight forward puzzles that generally involve building something or finding something, some easy platforming and loads of smashing things to pieces.
But, for fans of dinosaurs who have never dipped their toes into the LEGO pond, a handy prologue will soon get you up to speed. The basic rule in all of the LEGO games is that if it is made of LEGO bricks, it should be smashed to pieces. Doing so not only reveals studs that the player can collect as a score, but quite often it reveals other objects, such as hidden items that can be collected or may be needed to solve a puzzle, or little hopping piles of bricks that can be put together to create some contraption or another.
One of the more impressive aspects of the LEGO games is the roster of playable characters that can be unlocked. LEGO Jurassic World is no different with a huge number of different characters in different outfits to be collected and played as. But in LEGO games this is no mere fan service, as different characters have different abilities that can be used through the levels to progress or find yet more collectibles. One character may be required to use their Raptor claw to cut vines, another may be needed to light flares in the darkness, or scream and smash glass. Whilst players will have access to the characters they need to complete a level, going back into a finished level later with different characters will often give access to previously locked areas and yet more goodies. New for LEGO Jurassic World is the chance to play as actual dinosaurs, which is a nice change of pace.
Finishing the prologue will give players the chance to dive straight into their choice of the classic Jurassic Park trilogy, or the new Jurassic World. Rather than a massive open world, the levels in LEGO Jurassic World seem much more streamlined and quick to play through. The new chase scenes are a particular highlight, offering something quite different to the rest of the gameplay. Despite the threat levels being toned down for a family-friendly game, everything is quite faithful to the movies, following the stories and recreating iconic moments in brick form, albeit with a heavy dose of the LEGO humour we have come to know and love.
Visually, LEGO Jurassic World on the Xbox One really is a treat. Whilst it may not have moved on much from the previous generation of consoles, everything is so crisp and colourful that it is difficult not to smile. The characters are easy to recognise, even in their brick form, and the environments are so well created and enjoyable to look at, it is easy to get lost in the game.
However, this latest LEGO game is not without its problems. Some may suggest that the game was rushed out to release with the movie, as there are more than a few bugs and glitches present, such as getting characters caught in the scenery and having to restart a level. But the real problem is the lack of innovation or evolution of the series. For those new to the series, who have been drawn in with the promise of dinosaurs, this will not be an issue. But for long time LEGO players, the gameplay will be the same as it always is, the same types of puzzles and the same constant smashing of bricks. The developers really need to think about where the series is going and trying something new at this point, as LEGO fatigue has well and truly set in.
Not that this means LEGO Jurassic World is a bad game, it is just the same game with a new skin and a couple of tweaks. If you have enjoyed the previous LEGO games and could do with some more, this time with dinosaurs, or if you are a dinosaur fan who has never played a LEGO game, then this title will tick all of your boxes. However, long time LEGO gamers will find nothing particularly new here, and those who didn’t enjoy previous games will not have their minds changed by brick-built dinosaurs. It is enjoyable but familiar, and if that appeals then grab your dino-prod and start smashing bricks.