It’s no surprise that LEGO has become the most powerful brand in the world over the last few years.
More influential and impactful than the likes of Google, Ferrari, and Apple, the brick-building behemoth can seemingly do no wrong, both in the physical and digital space. On the back of the phenomenally successful Dimensions, LEGO Batman Movie and the brand new social media app LEGO Life, it now seems like the next step is to create another Minecraft.
LEGO Worlds isn’t a new thing. Originally released on Steam Early Access back in mid-2015, this huge sandbox environment casts players on various procedurally generated LEGO planets where they can build, copy, discover, paint and devise landscapes however they see fit.
Players earn studs and golden bricks for completing various missions for different folk on each planet. You might need to build a bridge for someone to cross or fill up a landfill in order to rescue a stranded survivor. Sometimes you’ll need to visit another planet in order to get what you need.
When you complete a mission, you earn a gold brick. Collecting a certain amount of these increases your rank and builder status. It also means that features of your rocket can be unlocked and allow you to travel to other planets.
As you visit each planet, you can ‘discover’ the inhabitants, plant life, bricks, buildings, vehicles, then regurgitate them elsewhere, essentially making you a Master Builder. Simply aim your discovery gun at each time and tap A to add it to your collection. You can then choose to remove the item you’ve discovered from its location or unlock it so it remains there for a small fee. Certain things can also only be discovered when you’ve completed a quest.
But it does mean that anything you’ve already discovered can be brought with you and you can place them in any world, paying the standard stud rate. As you can well imagine, the opportunities for expansion are endless as everything in the game can be crafted and added to your unique world.
You can then start building out structures with all kinds of studs and brick types, paint it all really nicely, and can even copy buildings you’ve already seen. You can then paste those buildings in full on other planets, which is a neat touch.
But the thing about LEGO Worlds that kind of confuses the issue is that it tries to feel like the standard single-player fare that we’re used to from TT Games. You discover lots of stuff, find the hidden extras, unlock key elements of the game, but then you’re introduced to this massive open-world concept which is drip-fed to you over a period of the first few hours.
Essentially, the first few hours feels like an overly long, sluggish tutorial with samey activities. And all throughout you’ll just want to go out and do exactly what the game says you can do on the tin, even though you’re limited by a small number of items.
And yet, the opening stages really open your mind to the possibilities. Like small dungeons and hidden areas where you can find cool loot, battle creatures, search for hidden extras and discover items most people wouldn’t necessarily find. The idea of having bragging rights over a visitor who sees you have something they’ve never even seen before is a big part of the lure here.
That’s something else LEGO Worlds does brilliantly. You’ll still be discovering and finding new things hours and hours into the game. The content just doesn’t stop, and you get the feeling it’s not going to stop anytime soon either through content updates and expansions.
Even the day and night cycles play a part – just like in Minecraft- as you’ll regularly find yourselves fighting skeletons and zombie pirates when the sun goes down. You’ll also be able to buy things from a hot air balloon trader who offers a variety of rare items you can only get from her.
There are also troublemakers who steal things like pieces of a building or golden bricks. You’ll need to chase them down and tackle them to the ground in order to get them back.
LEGO Worlds has so much going on, but with over a decade and a half of games from TT already, you’ll feel fairly confident going in unlike other games trying to build everything from the ground-up. That’s definitely a positive Worlds has in its favour.
That said, this still remains a highly ambitious game and your control pad is fully mapped with character changes, maps, jumps, interactions and item wheels. The game does also stumble under the weight of its own ambition sometimes with performance dips and some severe glitching.
You can find yourself running away from a creature one minute, then be climbing half way up a tree the next. In that regard, it still feels like LEGO Worlds is in the early access phase with lots still to be ironed out, such as an iffy camera and performance lag.
Just like when Minecraft first started out, it feels like we’re only seeing the very beginning of a conversation here. And while it hasn’t shipped in a poor, limited base state like a No Man’s Sky, this game is still a few major updates away from unlocking its full potential.
For now, LEGO Worlds is a bit ragged and scruffy, even though it is full of charm and substance. The good news is that there’s more to love here than hate, and I look forward to seeing how this game evolves in the months and years ahead.
+ Huge customisation options
+ Expansive worlds and environments
+ Full of charm and tons of fun
– Feels a few major updates away from finished
– Performance dips and some big glitches
– Iffy camera
– First few hours of the game feel like an overly long tutorial
7.5 out of 10
Version Tested: Xbox One