In March 2022, True North Bricks reported on a new video game. Developed by the LEGO® Group and Thunderful Games, the venture is LEGO® Bricktales. Now, I had the chance to play a pre-release demo of the game. The LEGO® Bricktales demo featured the first two levels of the interactive puzzle-solving adventure. I was impressed by the images from the press kit in March. I am even more impressed after playing the game. Bricktales showcases colorful and masterfully designed worlds constructed entirely of virtual LEGO® bricks. Additionally, the puzzles really get your creativity going. You can watch the video below for a sample of the game play and my thoughts while playing. Otherwise, read on for more details!
Before delving into the review too deeply, I will reiterate that I played a demo. I had some issues with this version that might not appear in the final copy. First among those was the primary character. He was not customizable in the game. One of the LEGO® Minifigure’s greatest traits is its interchangeability and customization potential. It is a shame the demo did not capture that. Perhaps the actual game will differ in that regard. Who does not want to play as their own sig fig?
The first level of LEGO® Bricktales takes place in the subterrain workshop of the protagonist’s grandfather. Essentially, the point of the level is learning gameplay. Numerous tutorials and practice sessions litter the workshop. Basically, you learn to build in the virtual environment. Each construction challenge opens a build view outside of the game environment. You can move and manipulate bricks in three dimensions in a space akin to Digital Designer or Stud.io. The experience is a little disorienting for novice virtual builders, but you get used to it. It’s actually worth trying out before immersing yourself in Stud.io because it is far less overwhelming than the digital design software.
My only contentious issue with the build view is the lack of a reset button. You get a limited selection of parts to complete each build challenge. Once you construct something, you test it out with a little brick-built robot. Subsequently, if it falls apart, you return to the build view as you left it. More than once, I wanted to simply start from scratch, but could not. You can hit “undo” until you reach the original display. However, you can also only undo a limited number of times. Consequently, you cannot undo longer builds to start mode. Even exiting the challenge and re-entering does not reset the build. I hope they fix that in the real game. While it is not a big issue, I still found myself wishing for a reset button more than once.
What better place for a secret headquarters than an abandoned theme park?
After your training, the game introduces you to the main story. In order to fix up a derelict theme park, you need to find happiness crystals. Subsequently, the crystals power a machine built by an interdimensional robot named Rusty. Incidentally, he accompanies you on your travels. The machine can fix anything supposedly. You need to fix the park because it houses the portal device. If Grandpa does not maintain the park, an unnamed mayor will repurpose the land. Rusty jerry rigs Grandpa’s portal to transport our intrepid protagonist around the world to search for happiness crystals.
The first stop is a jungle. As you begin to explore, a plane flies overheard and crashes into the nearby mountain. Your mission sidetracks as you go to help the survivors. To reach them, you need to build various structures as you venture deeper into the jungle. As mentioned earlier, the brick-built levels are stunning. Additionally, they feature many fun references to LEGO® culture. The second level features parrots, bunnies, the City-theme tree trunk costume, and a classic Castles ghost to name a few. The jungle world is also modular. You play through one section at a time until you reach a glowing blue arrow. Those take you to another module of the jungle level. I imagine other worlds in the game will be the same.
This game is a frightfully good time…
I must admit, I am not an avid gamer. I play the occasional video game, but they tend to be few and far between. Consequently, what I am about to say may seem obvious to many. However, for the other novices out there, you need a proper mouse to play Bricktales. Initially, I tried with the track pad built into my laptop. It got me started. However, you actually need the scroll wheel between the two mouse buttons. At one point, a tutorial required it. Since I did not have one, the game was stuck in place. I had to force quit the game to use my computer again…
Overall, I enjoyed the game. I can’t say enough about the beautiful worlds. They inspired me to want to build. I would buy them if they came as sets. Additionally, the scenes are brick-built, from the ground to the smoke to the water. I also liked the build challenges. There are no instructions, so you get to experiment on your own. While the game does not give you the physical aspect of manipulating bricks, the challenges get your brain going. I even entered a state of flow with some of the harder builds. I hope future levels get even more challenging. Finally, the challenges are small, so you get creative without the build overwhelming you. The LEGO® Bricktales demo was a great experience, and I can’t wait for more. Are you looking forward to it? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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