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'The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game' Is Casual Comfort Food

September 23,2017 11:11

TT Games' Lego titles are like nice, home-cooked meals. They're simple to play, fun to look at, and while they all follow the same basic formula, it's a tasty concoction that never fails to relax and entertain me. To coincide with the feature film of ...and more »



Credit: Mitch Wallace/Warner Bros. Games

Virtual bricks are strangely comforting.

TT Games’ Lego titles are like nice, home-cooked meals. They’re simple to play, fun to look at, and while they all follow the same basic formula, it’s a tasty concoction that never fails to relax and entertain me. To coincide with the feature film of the same name, Warner Bros. Games have launched The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game today, and after playing it all afternoon, I can say it’s just the easy-going experience I was anticipating.
If you’ve played any of previous Lego games, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the Ninjago Movie iteration. You guide a whole cast of unlockable minifigures through a series of scripted levels (assumingly in parallel to the movie, which I haven’t yet seen, unfortunately) while breaking set pieces, discovering Gold Bricks and collecting countless tiny studs along the way. From what I can tell, it does seem that the developers have interspersed the gameplay with actual clips from the film throughout. So on that note, if you plan on keeping your Lego theater experience spoiler free, you might want to wait until you’ve made your AMC run before diving into the game.

Credit: Mitch Wallace/Warner Bros. Games

Who thinks we need a K'NEX game? This old guy.

Yes, in many ways, it’s just another Lego game, but that’s not to say it’s all predictable. In the few hours I’ve played, I’ve already encountered several on-rail shooter segments (think Panzer Dragoon Saga or Rez) during which you ride a dragon as it flies through a city under siege, and also a boss fight where you commandeer hovering spaceships to take down several big enemies. There’s nothing super complicated about these segments but I appreciate them all the same, since they break up the well-trodden Lego shenanigans. You can also collect Ninjanuity tokens (clever, I like it) to upgrade your characters’ martial arts moves, and believe it or not, there’s a respectable ladder to climb. This happens via a pretty straightforward skill tree and adds a decent layer of depth to the standard progression.
Beyond the usual adventure mode, there are what are called Challenge Dojos, which are basically combat arenas that you unlock as you progress through the story. Defeating enemies within this mode earns you medals and other special rewards. Visuals are pretty standard Lego game fare, which is to say not amazing but totally serviceable. I was hoping for some kind of PS4 Pro support but no such luck. Supposedly there are also Battle Maps inside the game, where up to four players can duke it out, Power Stone style. Haven’t had a chance to try that mode yet, but it sounds enjoyable for families with enough controllers.

Credit: Mitch Wallace/Warner Bros. Games

Playing through this Ninjago game won't make Lego brick sets any less expensive.

As far as initial impressions go, this is an incredibly safe release for TT Games and par for the course when it comes to Lego titles, but since it’s unsurprisingly well-made, I have almost no complaints. There’s enough to find, collect and unlock to keep me busy for the next few days, after which I may keep the martial arts theme going and boot up Kung Fu Chaos for the original Xbox. Speaking of which, I think it’s time for a proper KFC reboot, and I’m not talking about chicken.

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