For my money (and most likely yours, if you’re also a fan of their work), London-based TT Games is one of the most reliable game developers working today. Working with their own proprietary engines, their long line of licensed LEGO games has brought millions of players of all ages far too much fun for their money. The great thing about a LEGO game is you know on one level what you’re getting, but where you go with what you get is completely up to you. WB Games bought three of the newest LEGO titles to NYC along with a few folks from TT Games to show press and a bunch of lucky kids what’s headed their way in 2017 and yes, the operative word here was FUN (and lots of it).
Coming off its Early Access PC release on Steam to PS4 and Xbox One on March 7 (and Nintendo Switch at some point), LEGO Worlds is an overwhelmingly cool open world planet-hopping experience that’s fully customizable and quite fantastic in terms of bringing endless enjoyment and the option of online or offline play to console owners. I’ve been playing a bit of the game over the last few days and yes, it’s hard to put down thanks to there being so much to do as new bits unlock. While there’s an overall goal here of becoming a Master Builder and plenty of small to large quests can be tackled, the game excels at giving you what you need and letting you go off the beaten path provided you unlock enough Gold Bricks.
While it’s going to take time to unlock all those Gold Bricks (there’s no buy-in or paywall, so you’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way), the amount of freedom you get with everything unlocked will make for a game even harder to put down. The build at the event was 100% unlocked and quite amazing in what could be done. TT’s engine gets a workout here with massive maps, plenty of structures you can make and place anywhere you like and yes, you can do just as much destruction as you can creation. The best thing about this and the other two titles on display are you don’t have to fear losing bricks or (ouch!) stepping on a few after you and/or the kids are done playing.
Next up, LEGO City Undercover, the former Wii U exclusive now remastered for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch, set for an April 4, 2017 release. The updated version now sports split-screen co-op play for two and some visual tweaks that make an already great-looking game look better. In case you missed this on the Wii U, the game is a hilarious send up of police procedural shows and films that’s also a tip of the cap to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise. That said, here, the focus isn’t on playing a criminal, but overeager hotshot cop Chase McCain as he sets out to recapture the nefarious Rex Fury while trying not to wreck LEGO City (well, not too much).
Having played the Wii U version last year, let’s just say that in addition to the usual block-happy bust ‘n build LEGO gameplay, LCU excels at rapid-fire humor, some of which will fly over the heads of younger kids, but hit adults who recall cop shows and films of the past right in the sweet spot. The addition of co-op is definitely a cool bonus, as player 2 isn’t a duplicate Chase, but another rookie cop with a different look. Implementing split-screen must have been quite challenging for the dev team, as they had to work in the full screen story sequences in a way that wouldn’t interrupt play too much. The compromise works well enough and the story is amusing enough that you won’t mind the breaks from the non-stop fun found in the gameplay.
Finally, LEGO Dimensions is still going strong thanks to TT Games’ very awesome use of more licensed properties than you can shake a stick made out of LEGO at. The Toys to Life marketplace is a tough one to keep figuring out how to keep going for other companies, but WB Games and TT Games seems to have the talent and the licenses to keep things going for quite some time. Say, do you happen to be a big fan of The Goonies? Well, Wave 8 includes a super surprise for adult fans of the 1985 film looking to introduce their kids to the wacky world and characters from the film:
Yep, There’s an expansion coming in May that adds characters, locations and props from the film into the game and yep, they add a few trademark moves and humor from the film to Dimensions already out of control freeform gameplay. Hilariously, yours truly doesn’t yet own a Dimensions setup, but I bought one for a friend with kids last year as a thank you gift for helping out on a freelance gig and he’s been updating me every so often when he buys a new expansion or his kids discover something they’ve never seen before. I may need to clear out some room in the home office for my own set at some point, as a glance at the long list of expansions and figures is somewhat daunting, yet makes me grin like mad wanting to dive in and mess around with a ton of pop culture history.
All three games left me feeling a bit bouncier than usual, which was a good thing with a few current events poking me in a few places a wee it too hard. Coming out to see them helped reset my mood and this looks as if it’ll last a while, so I’ll have TT and WB to thank for a boost in output for the foreseeable future. Anyway, if you’re a LEGO fan with access to a game console or decent gaming PC, you’ve got a few new ways to play (and your feet will thank you because you won’t need to keep an eye peeled for little blocks lurking in the carpet for a chance to take a chomp out of one or both of them). Go grab one or all of these when you get the chance.