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LEGO Bricktales review for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation, Xbox


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Publisher: Thunderful
Developer: ClockStone Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

It’s been interesting to watch LEGO games re-find their footing over the past year. The venerable block-maker has pivoted away from the franchise tie-ins that had come to define the brand (at least when it comes to video games) over the past fifteen years or so, back towards games that are focused on using LEGO bricks and minifigs themselves.

Of course, the results have been a mixed bag. While LEGO Builder’s Journey was fine, LEGO Brawls was abysmal – and now, we have LEGO Bricktales, which falls somewhere in between the two.

I mean, Bricktales probably falls closer to Builder’s Journey because of the simple reason that the two are very similar games. Both are about being presented with challenges, and then solving them with LEGO blocks. The difference is that LEGO Bricktales is substantially larger. Where Builder’s Journey felt like it featured a bunch of tiny individual worlds, Bricktales has a story involving a massive amusement park featuring five different biomes.

The good news about being so huge is that the game really gives you an opportunity to build to your heart’s content. Not only does it offer you puzzles, it also allows you to go back once they’re solved and spruce up your solution in a sandbox mode. If you love building LEGO in real life, Bricktales clearly strives to recreate that experience.

There’s a downside to being a much bigger game, however: while there’s more to do, it also gives plenty more opportunity for the game’s weaknesses to reveal themselves. Specifically, you soon find that the controls are incredibly frustrating. Placing little bricks in a 3D environment – the easiest, most natural thing in the world, if you’ve ever played with real LEGO – takes on a new level of difficulty when you’re trying to do that using thumbsticks and a D-pad.

Likewise, manoeuvring your camera into the right position can be a huge pain, and you never quite see where you’re trying to go. You can look from the side, or the front, or at an angle; you can zoom in and out: you can move your camera around as much as you want, but you’ll always find it in the slightly wrong position.

Still, even with those pretty major flaws, there’s no denying that LEGO Bricktales gets awfully close to capturing the feeling of playing with LEGO. It’s not quite there yet thanks to the challenging controls, but if you can overlook that, there’s fun to be had here.

Thunderful provided us with a LEGO Bricktales Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+