LEGO Worlds Early Access impressions

LEGO Worlds from Traveler?s Tales dropped last week on Steam Early Access, and I spent a bit of time playing the game this weekend, so here?s some basic impressions from the short amount of time I?ve spent playing the game so far.

This is 100% a Traveler?s Tales LEGO title. Character?s look and feel similar to their other licensed LEGO games, complete with a stud counter for the various breakable objects scattered about the randomly generated environments. But that?s where the direct comparison to past TT LEGO titles seem to stop, there?s no structured stage design and everything is about customizing your world and collecting new LEGO blocks, sets, and characters to use.

mushroom_biomeAt the onset of a new world, you?ll have a random character skydive down onto the surface of your new LEGO playground. The generated worlds are pretty expansive, and so far, seem to be diverse as far as terrain goes. There?s a lot of color on display, along with a few hazards like lava and water. The areas are also sparsely populated by other LEGO minifigs, animals, creatures, and vehicles to horse around in.

My first world, for instance, gave me access to a dragon as a rideable pet. The dragon could fly around, and attack other minifigs and creatures with fireballs, which could also cause destruction in the surrounding environment. I flew around for a bit, tagging the helpfully highlighted environment objects in order to add them to my building block collection, and then decided to lay waste to a volcano by blowing a hole clean through it.

dragonMy next world contained both skeletons, which would hunt me down from a pretty far distance, and a number of cowboys and cowgirls, along with a healthy dose of horses to ride around on. On this world I decided to test my building skills, implementing first the only complete set I had access to, which was a basic LEGO creator house/swimming pool combo. It takes just a few seconds for the game to auto-build a complete set, and this single set had a few interactive objects like a grill, pool, and basketball hoop. I?m not sure how many sets are in the game at this point, or how many are planned, but I could certainly see a lot of room for growth and fun with this one idea.

After building one of the prefabricated sets, I decided I?d try my hand at putting something together from scratch. This was honestly a bit more complicated and difficult than I had expected, but that stems mostly from the control and navigating the menu, either with a controller or a mouse/keyboard combo. It?s a bit clunky right now, which is somewhat expected considering the Early Access tag here. There?s also not enough brick variety at the start, but there are a number of color options and tools to assist with putting stuff together. As it stands, the brick-by-brick creation process isn?t that fun or intuitive at the moment, and something that I found myself quickly growing bored with in its current state.

cowboy_townAlso worth noting is some of the performance problems I had on my PC. Running on an i5 4670k and a 750ti card, I could only get a solid framerate out of a 720p setting with medium terrain. I?m not expecting to run things at max settings with my PC, but I?d hope to at least get a full 1080p out of it, so hopefully there?s some optimization being done down the line. The game does look gorgeous if you can turn everything up, there?s so much shine to the blocks and terrain that it sort of looks better than the real thing. But as it stands, if you have middling to lower-end hardware, be prepared to dial everything back a bit.

All in all, at $14.99, it?s one of the better Early Access experiences I?ve had. There?s a lot of promise under the hood for LEGO Worlds, and I have hope that Traveler?s Tales, with all their LEGO experience, will be able to capitalize well on the concept. It?s a little light on content, needs more customization options with another pass at the controls, and could use some refinement for lower-end systems, but I do think it?s worth a look. The exploration and discovery element is already in place, which is enough at the moment to keep me coming back for more.