Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Also On: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S
Price: $29.99 – Digital Only
Developer: ClockStone Studio
Publisher: Thunderful Games
Please Note: A review code was provided by Thunderful Games but does not influence opinions in this review.
When you think of a LEGO game, you might think of something like LEGO “established IP”. Most of these games are basically using elements from other things, such as Batman, Avengers, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and more. When you think of a brand new experience with a unique story, fun and basic yet also challenging and complex gameplay, there isn’t really a LEGO adventure like this… until now! LEGO Bricktales is a place where you can be as creative or as minimalistic as you want to be. It was a bright upbeat adventure puzzle game that has a lot of very strong parts while only having a couple of small flaws that could be improved on.
In terms of the story of the game, it is a fairly simplistic one. Your grandpa runs a beat up amusement park and he needs your help to fix the place so the land isn’t taken away from him. You need to go to a total of five different worlds and help the individuals there in order to obtain something called a Happiness Crystal. You don’t travel alone as there is a robot, named Rusty, that goes with you that your grandpa lost a few years prior. Each of the worlds you go to has different people and different things that you need to do to help them. The jokes and dialogue throughout are absolutely terrific and well written. No two of the world’s stories were the same either, so it never got boring to me. Overall, the stories of all the worlds and that of the park were very solid, and considering it is brand new material and not something derived from already made material and re-hashed, I thought it was extremely well crafted.
In the game, there are a lot of different things to do. The five different worlds are a Jungle, the Caribbean, a Desert, a City, and a Medieval world. Each of the worlds has a lot of charm and are all unique with no two worlds having similar designs. Within each of the main worlds, and the overall theme park hub area; you are tasked with helping people by completing puzzles. These puzzles are a lot different than any other LEGO game I think I have ever played as you have to build larger objects or solve puzzles by using smaller pieces. Some examples include building a bridge, a power generator, a car, and a bird perch, but there are loads and loads of puzzles in the game. After you finish a puzzle the first time, you unlock Sandbox Mode. What is it? I’m gonna let you find out yourself, but you could probably guess without much difficulty. Besides these puzzles, is there something else that you can do in the worlds, or is the only thing that the game offers is completing puzzles?
Well, the main mechanics in the game are solving the puzzles and completing the story, but that is not all that you can do. Throughout the different worlds, there are hidden areas that you can only get to by using certain abilities and powers in the game. You have a total of five powers, one from each of the worlds, and they add a certain depth to the adventure part of the game where it isn’t just puzzle after puzzle. Below are some of them, but not all of them. Each world isn’t a big open area for you to explore, rather it is broken down into pieces and each piece has multiple layers to it. Secrets lie in different parts of the world that may not be on the beaten path of your main journey. What kind of secrets am I talking about, well I am getting to that.
In the game, there are many side things that you can do. One of these things is achieving 100% of the game. Now in order to do this, you have to 100% the five different worlds. There are a total of 13 treasure chests in each world that contains the local currency of that world. I won’t spoil them all, but the Jungle currency is Bananas. Using the currency obtained in chests you can go to the shop and purchase blocks for Sandbox Mode and also different outfit pieces. There are some really nice looks you can show off, but that isn’t something I cared much about in the game. Besides this, there are also 20 animals to find throughout each world; ladybugs and bluebirds to name two of them. In order to purchase all of the items from the shop, you need to find every chest in a world; and in order to do that, you have to find all the animals for that said world. Then you get to achieve 100% of said world. I like how they did that where you can’t just get everything from the shop without also going and hunting for all of the collectibles in the different worlds. It makes it so all the worlds are connected more than just through the hub area.
In the game, there is no voice acting. It isn’t a game that seriously needs it since there isn’t a huge amount of text so it is not as big of a deal. In terms of the way the art is within the adventure, it is all made of LEGO bricks. The way in which the color pallet and shadows are used to highlight certain aspects, sometimes made it seem like it wasn’t made of LEGO unless you looked closely. I think it might be the most beautiful LEGO game that I have played since the five worlds plus the theme park, all are unique with their style from the lush jungle to the bright Caribbean. In terms of the music and audio design, each of the worlds has its own style of sound from the trees and birds in the forest to the jauntiness of the Caribbean with the pirates. The music and art are both really great, while possibly being a tad bit repetitive on occasion, but what about graphics and performance in the game?
The performance in the game was insanely smooth throughout the entire adventure, with solid frame rates and little to no load times. This is except for when you got to a specific part of the Caribbean area. For some reason, there was a large frame rate dip when the camera zoomed out far. The game seemed to slow down a little bit for some reason regarding load times since now you had to wait a little bit when going through different areas in this world. I don’t know why it happens on the PS5, but it doesn’t horribly affect the game. Since this is the first time you see something like this, you might think the game was bugged or crashed, since that is what I thought at first because of how fast it was the rest of the time.
Speaking of crashes, there was a total of two where the game crashed on me. It was in two different worlds, but thankfully I didn’t really need to redo much to get back to where I was. It crashed less than some AAA I have played so that is a good thing. I will say there was one other time when the game bugged and I needed to fully close it. Unlocking the final power is very cool, but this one was sometimes buggy and got you stuck in certain places. You really couldn’t have done anything to make the main character get unstuck other than a force quitting the game. Once you returned from the force quit, your character would no longer be stuck. Other than these small issues, the game was polished pretty well and gave me no issues and I don’t think these things are detrimental to the game, to be honest.
I do have two complaints. One of my complaints is the fact that sometimes it appears as though I was doing the puzzle solving correctly, but the robot AI wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. Then if I made a small tweak to the way it was designed, it would work. Not sure if that’s purposeful or a bug. The other small complaint is if you are stuck on a puzzle, there are no hints available whatsoever, you are all on your own. I was stuck on two puzzles in the back half of the game. I eventually figured out both, but each of them took me at least an hour to solve since they were fairly complex. Most puzzles in the game are straightforward to solve, but these two in particular gave me a lot of trouble. They aren’t impossible, but they will test the skills you have. These are inconveniences, but with the internet these days; if you ever do get stuck, there will be others that can probably help you out of the situation. However, trying to complete them on your own is part of the wonderful joys of LEGO building and puzzle solving.
Alright, what are my personal final thoughts on this game? Well, if you couldn’t tell I seriously enjoyed this game. I play a lot of games with a huge focus on specific genres; action, adventure, platformers, puzzles, JRPGs, and a lot of indies. I think this game was a very fun experience, so much fun that I got the Platinum trophy; one of very few from this year. The gameplay is fun and keeps you engage, with fun music, great art, and a well crafted story. This was the 84th game completed in 2022 for me, and it might just hit my top 20 games of the year when it’s all said and done, it is that good. I think this game is well worth the money for any fan of a LEGO game if you are creative, enjoy games that have a feel-good nature, or like adventure titles. Indies, just like LEGO pieces, come in all shapes & sizes and this is one that packs great value, even though it’s made of pieces that are fairly small. As I hinted in the opening, I think this might be the best LEGO game that I have ever played and this is the game that will catapult a lot of new experiences with LEGO and not just be licensed games based on other IPs.
Review Score: 8.5/10