For the longest time, Minecraft has been compared to LEGO. It’s not hard to see why: the theme of building with blocks without a set goal certainly is reminiscent of a digital version of everybody’s favorite Danish plastic plaything. It was only a matter of time before a true sandbox LEGO game would be realised, and now we have it in the form of LEGO Worlds. The question is, can the original block-building franchise carve a name for itself in an oversaturated market of Minecraft clones?
The game, insomuch that it may be called that, casts players in the role of a lone LEGO explorer and promptly dumps him or her in a randomly-generated world made of plastic bricks. After a rather abrupt and unceremonious start, you wander around your new landscape, taking in the pretty sights and fiddling with the controls. It soon becomes apparent that the world is malleable and destructible, allowing not only for the user to reshape the land as they wish, but also rewarding wanton destruction with LEGO stubs as currency, opening up upgrade and customization options. It also doesn’t take long for players to encounter hostilities, be they skeletal creeps, rivers of lava or just the odd wizard minding his own business.
All is not well in LEGO land. The greatest irony is that it’s the building mechanics which are currently the game’s most cumbersome feature; as a building game, a sandbox game, that’s pretty inexcusable. Unlike Minecraft, the options for building are apparent from the get-go and there are no esoteric recipes to memorize, but it’s a bit odd that your avatar enters a disconnected building mode wherein you float around and place blocks from a predefined selection. It lacks the intimacy and urgency of Mojang’s game, and comes off as considerably more shallow. With time, care and a bit of exploration and hunting, elaborate and eye-catching things may be constructed, but there’s a sense of something missing prevalent throughout. You’ll have more fun riding across the landscape on a horse (or similar creature) and beating up bad guys than you will actually building stuff.
Learning to LEGO and move on
LEGO Worlds is still very much in Early Access / beta, and it shows. While the concept may seem a natural fit, there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to meld the assorted gameplay options together into a cohesive whole. Perhaps it’s a bit late to the party, but this LEGO crafting game has a long, long way to go before it can even begin to compare to the likes of Minecraft, Terraria and all their cousins. In its current state, it’s worth a play, but the balance between grinding and rewarding its players is missing for the time being. Let’s hope that promises of more content in the form of crafting options and additional biomes will make this blocky adventure more interesting.
Navigate your browser over yonder to procure a copy via Steam. As of this writing, it retails for $14.99 and is currently only available for Windows. Check out the trailer below: