Choosing to tear their building instruction booklets into pieces, LEGO Worlds presents the chance to ignore the step-by-step guides that lead to admittedly, impressive builds and unleash your own imagination upon worlds that have been meticulously constructed with digital LEGO bricks.
When a meteor shower slams into your rocket – the PUG-Z – you are left gleefully skydiving through space as you descend on Pirate Playground. This world is the first to teach you the basics as you start your creative adventure to become a Master Builder – those that have worked hard to become ‘magicians of the brick’ with the clutter of creative gadgets that are placed in their hands.
With meteorites crashing into the ground around you, heading to their locations will reward you with steady access to such tools. The Discovery Tool is up first, which is used to scan models, outfits, creatures, vehicles, and brick builds that you come across that can then be unlocked with LEGO studs. Once in your collection, these can then be freely placed in any world whenever you wish.
Next, there is the Landscape Tool, that has the power to reshape the land around you whether that be to raise, lower, or flatten it to build on. Then, there’s the Copy Tool that lets you duplicate anything, the Paint Tool that lets you slap any colour everywhere or paint a building brick-by-brick, and the Build Tool that lets you construct whatever you want one brick at a time.
These can be flitted between by holding the X Button to access the Game Wheel, and, with the promise that anything is possible, the player is free to use them to build to their heart’s content or simply mess around. They are often put to use in order to help out those that live in each of the worlds that you visit, whether that be splattering their home with a fresh coat of paint, handing an item that they are having trouble finding themselves, or fending off skeletons. But, to be honest, these miniature quests are unmemorable and too forgiving, an example being the makeshift treehouse I constructed that most certainly wasn’t fit for purpose.
Their completion can reward you with Gold Bricks that will see your rank rise from Learner Builder right up to Master Builder and are also not only required to repair and upgrade the PUG-Z to reach new worlds, but to unlock the Camera, Lantern, Sky Spinner, Grapple Gun, Block Gun, and Jetpack items. There are also Troublemakers to chase down for new bricks, and a Trader that travels between each world on a hot air balloon who will sell you their wares.
We can be thankful, though, that LEGO Worlds has a wondrous sense of discovery. While the requests that you deal with are forgettable, the game finds strength in simply letting you muck around to build whatever you want. There is a long and gradual learning curve to the control scheme and knowing how best to use each creative tool, but, for those that are looking to sink plenty of time into this, it won’t feel as troublesome after a while.
It has been three months since LEGO Worlds released on Nintendo Switch, and, in that time, TT Games has been more active than most in tinkering with their game. If anything has become clear in that time, it is a game that has continued to evolve with free content updates that have largely come in reaction to feedback from the community. What started with replacing the game’s icon on Nintendo Switch, has gone on to see the developer introduce the Planner Tool to speed up house creation, make it easier to build walls, completely overhaul the Discovery Menu, throw in a Camera Car for budding video creators, and more.
That isn’t to say that all the changes have been positive, however. LEGO Worlds on Nintendo Switch has, at this point in time, a particularly poor draw distance and inconsistent frame rate. The developer has tried to address this as part of the content updates, changes that have improved and worsened the situation. But, they still seem unable to find that sweet spot.
Those that choose to buy a physical copy will also receive the Classic Space and Monsters Packs for free, whereas those that opt for the digital version can buy these separately for £3.29 ($3.99) each.
Classic Space is a disappointment, being the clearest demonstration of the poor technical performance that LEGO Worlds suffers from on Nintendo Switch with an incredibly short draw distance resulting in characters and objects appearing out of nowhere all the time. Which is ironic, seeing as it is one of the sparsest worlds that you can visit. The Monsters Pack has a far more playful personality, but again, is let down by the same technical issues that hamper the otherwise haunting experience. Each Pack throws in new characters, builds, and vehicles though, helping to expand out what is available for your own creations.
The chance to explore other worlds and go where no LEGO Astronaut (or Intergalactic Girl) has gone before is a welcome one, and LEGO Worlds is a game that’s lofty creative ambition is clear. I’d argue that it is the perfect fit for Nintendo Switch, seeing that you can create at home or on the move, but inconsistency still continues to cast a shadow over the experience some months after launch.
It is the unrivalled creative freedom that will soon see many shrug off the issues that LEGO Worlds has and become hooked, building towering LEGO creations that they have only been able to dream of. But, while there are fleeting glimpses at the potential behind the whole idea, there are a few bricks that are missing before it will be completely realised.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment