The Lego Movie 2 Videogame is a post-apocalyptic Borderlands-lite for kids

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame is based on a movie not yet released in Australia. Despite the heavy involvement of Australia’s Animal Logic animation studio in the production of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, the release date is still firmly on March 28th, nearly two months after the official United States release.

For those who can’t wait, The Lego Movie 2 Videogame is already out and it’s a nice little adventure that pushes the classic Lego formula to its limits. Rather than being the usual punch-this, punch-that level-hopper that the series usually is, this time around, it’s a planet-spanning, challenge-solving open world adventure.

Our tale opens on the apocalypse. The world’s been overtaken by Duplo aliens — as seen in the closing moments of the original film — and the main cast characters are tasked with saving their world. Apocalypseburg is ‘heckish’ as the game puts it, and is populated with a range of tasks to complete and aliens to crush.

The whole thing is very Borderlands, or Mad Max, if you’re that way inclined. Featuring more gothic spikes that you can poke a stick at and enough sand to make Anakin Skywalker cry, the opening level sets the fun and ridiculous tone of the game.

To advance, the game requires you use a tiny smidgen of your brain power to solve building puzzles, collect bricks and defeat Titan-style bosses. If you ever stumble in these challenges, it’s always nice to remind yourself that this game is for children and why can’t I figure this out, oh my god.

But the good news is, with enough poking and prodding, even the toughest of challenges can soon be solved (far quicker if you’re not me). There’s some clever bits of game design hiding amongst all these bricks, and having the freedom to explore it is welcome in a franchise that has become somewhat stiff.

Where the game gets held back somewhat is its finicky controls, poor camera movement and occasionally plain looking graphics. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics per say, but they do lack some of the polish that I was expecting from a newly developed, next gen title. It’s easy to chalk up the presentation as just simple unremarkable – and that’s fine, too.

Gameplay is relatively simple and straightforward as usual, marked by fetch quests, pseudo-loot boxes (no real money required) and a multitude of collect-a-thons – but it has enough jazz and personality to make the quests feel worthwhile.

With a mix of simple combat, building mechanisms, boss fighting and kitty riding, The Lego Movie 2 Videogame is different enough to be intriguing, and while I didn’t get a chance to finish the game, I’m eager to come back for more.

The Lego games have long since stagnated, but this time around, the differences are stark, well-thought out and engaging. If this is the future of the Lego video game franchise, colour me intrigued.

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