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Lego Builder's Journey

Lego Builder's Journey

This delightful puzzle game might just be the best representation of what a Lego building game can be.

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I'm a firm believer that despite its awful management and cultural faults, TT Games is one of few consistently great video game developers when it comes to its products. The British studio is known for its beloved Lego titles, games that are generally well-received and go down well with fans of all ages. It'd be fair to say that the studio has a bit of a monopoly on what we've come to expect from a Lego title, which is bizarre because despite its success, it doesn't really do a whole lot to differentiate from the formula that it knows works. Fortunately, The Lego Group has been giving other developers a chance to work with the blocky brand, with one of those developers being the Danish Light Brick Studio, a company that was for a while an integrated part of the Lego family.

It's this very team that last year released its delightful, charming, and relaxing puzzle adventure game Lego Builder's Journey, a title that originally debuted on the Apple Arcade. You might be wondering, if it came out last year, why are we talking about it today? Well, that's because a couple of weeks ago, the game made its debut on PlayStation consoles, and I've finally had a chance to jump into the game and check it out for myself.

Lego Builder's JourneyLego Builder's Journey
Lego Builder's JourneyLego Builder's Journey
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First things first, I'd like to just say how surprised I was by this game. I wasn't too sure what to expect, but an emotionally-complex and visually-striking adventure wasn't exactly at the forefront of my prejudices. But that's precisely what this game is.

It tasks players with leading a parent and child duo through a set of miniature Lego worlds, by creating a path on which the characters can move along. You do this by picking up and moving specific pieces around these puzzling mini-levels, and when necessary, creating bridges and pathways out of Lego bricks that are loose and freely moveable within each level. It's a style of gameplay that really nails the concept of Lego construction, as it gives you the freedom of expression and control over your solutions, in the same way that actual Lego bricks do. It's very reminiscent of opening a big bucket of Lego and just letting your mind run wild, as you can be basic and logistical and just complete the task at hand with simple and direct solutions, or you can rather push yourself and create intricate and enormous structures to flaunt your creative abilities.

This short game (and it is short as you can complete it in less than two hours) really nails the feeling of playing with Lego, and does so in a simple and enthralling way that has yet to really be coined by the Lego games titan that is TT Games. And the really impressive part about this title isn't just its building mechanics, but also its storyline and ability to present a narrative with just a bunch of colourful bricks.

Lego Builder's Journey
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There's no dialogue at all in Lego Builder's Journey, no speech or subtitles, in fact the only way emotion and character is conveyed is through the subtle yet all important movements of the two main figures (who are literally just a few Lego bricks stacked together). And yet despite this being the case, you connect with the pair, you connect with how close they are and how the expectations of life are driving them apart, and likewise you see the efforts that both are willing to go to be able to become closer and reform the bond they once shared long ago. The story takes you on this brief but impactful journey, one that excels in its simplicity, yet doesn't hesitate from leaving you with a lot to think about at the end of it all.

And then to add to all of this, Light Brick has done wonders when it comes to the appearance of this game. Yes, each level isn't all that complex or broad, but what each level does offer up is a great example of how ray-tracing can be implemented in games, and how light and reflections can bring to life and make even the most basic of games eye-catching and jaw-dropping.

Lego Builder's JourneyLego Builder's Journey

For such a concise product, there's not much that rubs me the wrong way when it comes to Lego Builder's Journey. Sure, the actual building mechanic can be a little finicky at times, but that really only ever stands out as a nuisance in the very rare levels that require a little bit of speed and finesse to complete them. Otherwise, the £20 price tag feels a little steep for such a small product, even if the product is polished and well-designed.

This is a game that excels as one of the best examples of what a Lego game can be, as it is one of the more accurate and honest representations of what Lego is and the sorts of creative joy it brings to people all around the world. If you have an Apple Arcade subscription, or are looking for something to fill up an evening, I'd implore you to check out this game, as I can almost guarantee that its brilliance will surprise you as it did to me.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Great unique showcase of what a Lego video game can be. Visually-striking. Emotionally-compelling storyline. Promotes creative expression.
-
You don't get a whole lot for its £20 price tag. Very short. Building can be a little finicky at times.
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Lego Builder's Journey

REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

This delightful puzzle game might just be the best representation of what a Lego building game can be.



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