Review: At Its Best, Lego Bricktales Is as Fun as Playing with Real Legos
Like many kids I spent countless hours playing with Legos—and then smashing them apart in various crash tests, or just to see them explode spectacularly. Despite there being a lot of Lego video games, there aren’t very many that let you build with Legos—especially in a creative way that lets you solve problems. Lego Bricktales stands out for being a Lego game that lets me play with Legos.
Lego Bricktales is an adventure game with puzzle elements. In it, you play as a person trying to fix up their grandfather’s amusement park. To do that, you have to journey across five different Lego worlds, all set in a diorama (with a mostly fixed perspective) style. Each location is full of situations or characters to encounter, and they all involve building something out of Legos to move onto the next area or challenge.
Since the main draw of Lego Bricktales is the ability to build with Legos, it’s important that they got that right. And I’m happy to say that developer ClockStone did a good job making it feel like you’re really putting together Lego pieces. That said, there is a tiny bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re playing with a controller. With mouse and keyboard controls, it’s a bit easier to pick up and place pieces where you’d like them. Playing on a controller means you’ll have to patiently position bricks, and often change which plane you’re trying to place them on. Even after playing for a half dozen hours or more I was still struggling a bit with placing blocks, but I mostly got the hang of it.
When you’re actually building, you don’t have access to an unlimited amount of blocks. Instead, you are given a very limited palette of blocks to build with, so you are forced to get creative. Your creations don’t necessarily have to look good, they just have to function. However, you are usually given a little leeway in terms of form vs. function, and are commonly also given pieces that can be used to pretty-up any creation—though these are limited, too.
One of the biggest challenges of Lego Bricktales is the fact that nothing is explained—and there are no instructions to follow. When you come across a challenge, you are given the objective, and you must figure out how to use the limited blocks you have to meet that objective—whether it’s spanning a gap, or even creating a vehicle while maintaining balance, etc. Once you have it built to your satisfaction, you have to test it out under Lego-world physics conditions. If your creation manages to do what it’s supposed to while not falling apart, you’re usually good to go. Once you complete a challenge, you’re given the option to return to it with unlimited blocks so you can build it anyway you’d like in a sandbox-type mode.
While you’re not building solutions to Lego challenges, you’ll be exploring the diorama-like locations. While I appreciate the attempts at pulling together Lego Bricktales with exploration and a narrative, I wish they would have had more building, and less walking back and forth. The majority of my gameplay was spent simply running around, trying to find the correct person to talk to so I can get the build prompt to show up. There are five different worlds you can explore through, and while they each are differently themed, it doesn’t change the gameplay too much. There are also collectibles to find in each world, and that means secrets to uncover for those completionists that can’t help themselves.
Each different world also has its own currency. This currency is used to buy new outfits or cosmetic Lego palettes. These new bricks can be used in sandbox mode to change up the appearance of any object you’re building—but they’re only for cosmetic purposes.
Lego Bricktales is the Lego game I always wanted. You can actually use Lego pieces to build any solution you can come up with using the bricks that are available. I found the world exploration parts to be a little too much, as I would have rather spent more time building out blocks than exploring and talking to different characters. But if you enjoy Legos at all, and finally want to play a game that incorporates Lego building in a brilliant way, Lego Bricktales is definitely recommended.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.