LEGO Movie Video Games

Everyone in our family is a big fan of the LEGO series of games from Traveler's Tales. This series of games takes favorite films, such as the Star Wars series, the Indiana Jones series, and coming soon the Batman series, and puts them in the world of LEGO. All of the action takes place in a world of LEGO bricks, and you play as a LEGO interpretation of the characters from those movies.

The gameplay is your typical 3D platformer fare. Each level represents a portion of the movie content, and the levels are broken into scenes. In the scene you must take on baddies, solve simple puzzles, and navigate your way to the end of the level. Along the way you can find hidden treasure and collect "studs", the small, round, flat, one peg LEGO piece which acts as currency in the game. At the end of each level you are returned to a staging are where you can select another level to play, or use your studs to purchase upgrades. Upgrades include additional characters to play as, additional abilities, videos, or other doodads.

There are a couple of things that really draw us to this series of games. First, there is basicly no penalty for death. Each time your character is killed, falls off a cliff, or otherwise perishes you get recreated a short distance from where you died. You get infinite lives, so completing a level is more about finding your way through rather than mastering the combat system. This makes it very approachable for our kids. You do lose some studs for each death, but even if you have no studs you will get reincarnated.

The second thing we really like are the destructable environments. Nearly everything in these games can be destroyed, and it is really cathartic to rampage through a level, breaking everything in site.

Our son really likes being able to buy things in game. He can earn studs and use those studs to purchase new characters. This has been a great learning tool and we've found that it translates into real life as well. We give good behavior points, and he can use those good behavior points to get special treats, whether it is a cookie after dinner, or chocolate milk before bed.

Of the games we have (LEGO Star Wars 1, LEGO Star Wars 2, LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga, LEGO Indiana Jones) LEGO Indiana Jones is probably the weakest. This isn't really any fault of the game, it is just that the Star Wars games have such a rich culture surrounding them that you can have lots and lots of characters and have them all be recognizable. Indiana Jones just doesn't have that same richness, and so you end up with 20 or so variations on the "Enemy Gunman". We'll probably grab the LEGO Batman game as a Christmas gift for our son, and we have hopes that the very full world of Batman will lead to a more enjoyable game.

So if you haven't tried any of the LEGO games yet, go pick one up. My recommendation would be to grab the Star Wars : The Complete Saga game, as this will give you the most bang for the buck, and probably be the most enjoyable.


Jade Mason