Christmas is coming, and so that means more Lego games being released. Is this a cheap movie cash-in, or a great family-friendly action-platformer? Find out in our review of the bizarrely named The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game.
The game of the movie (of the toys, an original Lego brand), follows the plot of the film quite closely, even using sequences from the film to tie in as cut-scenes at the start and end of the levels. Lord Garmadon is a pretty cheesy villain, who has a weird fetish for dressing up his goons as fish or sharks as he launches endless attacks from his evil lair.
His son, Lloyd Garmadon and his ninja mates (along with a cast of mechs and vehicles) have to stop him. Aaaaand, that’s pretty much it. The main story is one of (if not the) shortest Lego games to date, and just includes a variety of missions where you will defend the Ninjago city from the invading armies of Garmadon.
Unfortunately defeating Lord Shark-head doesn’t actually take very long. The main story missions can be breezed through in just 3-5 hours depending on skill and how much exploration you might carry out. Whilst this is a traditional Lego game in the sense that there’s hub worlds with far more to do including side-quests and finding hidden items, and the missions are replayable with other characters, it’s still unacceptably short. Skilled adults could probably complete the game in under three hours if it wasn’t for a) the immeasurably long long-times (you’ll think the game has crashed) and b) the usual Lego lack of quality control.
There’s numerous gameplay bugs and little niggles. Some of these have been dealt with over time, but some, like the fact that holding ‘B’ to build bricks will only work in very specific spots next to piles of bricks (rather than a wide area) is really frustrating after a decade-plus of Lego games.
However, despite the brevity of the game, it generally plays rather well, and has a little bit more complexity than other Lego games, despite remaining very family friendly. You’ll take control of a number of vehicles for some entertaining on-rails flight sections, and combat has some very basic combos and levelling aspects to learn, both of which make the game that much more interesting for adults playing along.
There are also some neat changes to the systems, such as stud collection now being used more like XP – it’s a number that constantly goes up, rather than being bound to levels. Filling the meter will help level you up, granting new abilities, as well as giving you one of the classic gold bricks.
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