In a few short years I’ve found that Traveller’s Tales’ LEGO games have gone from being mildly amusing and entertaining, but ultimately frustrating, affairs to laugh-out-loud and finely honed, well-crafted puzzle games.
With almost every new film franchise having their own LEGO game, TT Games are one of the most industrious developers in the business. And here we go again with LEGO Jurassic World.
The Jurassic Park films do not immediately spring to mind as suitable material for an entry in TT Games kid-friendly series of LEGO games and yet that’s exactly what we have got here.
After a scene-setting prologue taken directly from the beginning of the first film we find ourselves on Isla Nublar, the island from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. From here we can continue and play through the Jurassic Park adaptation or, for the more impatient, go straight into Jurassic World.
I’d recommend playing though the films in chronological order, as without completing Jurassic Park you are not going to unlock The Lost World and then Jurassic Park III.
For those of you that have not played one of TT’s LEGO games, they are basically puzzle games where locations and character and situations have been re-imagined using the famous LEGO building blocks and figures. To be honest, it’s pretty ingenious.
Player must break and reconstruct items to make new useful objects and devices in order to progress though Levels. Breaking items releases LEGO coins, which are also strewn across the Levels. These can be used to buy additional characters and vehicles.
The games features characters from all the movies, from major players like Sam Neil’s Alan Grant and Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady to lesser characters like Ray Arnold, Samuel L Jackson’s breakout role.
Each character has a special ability. These range from being able to fix machines and fire at targets, to diving headfirst in dino-poo. There are quite a few other unique trails and mechanics that have been introduced this time.
Some characters can use tracking skills to find an area that can then be excavated, uncovering vital bits of LEGO for building important objects. You’ve also got vines that can be cut with dinosaur bones and a watering can that can grow monstrous, but useful, plants. There’s even sections where players control dinosaurs.
There are areas that can only be accessed by characters unlocked later on in the game, meaning large areas of the game are only available on a subsequent play-though. It’s a crafty way of baking in a bit of replayability, and one that I totally endorse. These wonderful LEGO worlds don’t really need any incentive to revisit, but when you do it’s good to have some fresh puzzles to play.
Unlike some of the previous games, the puzzles make sense and are not overly taxing. When a new mechanic is added to the mix you’ll always find a handy LEGO version of the first film’s “Mr DNA” only too willing to give you some pointers.
As well as the puzzles, there’s also some mini-games. Players can partake in optional races and, if they gather enough DNA-laden lumps of amber, even make their own dinosaur.
The visuals continue to be polished, and that’s especially noticeable now that we are playing on new-gen. The quality of the lighting and the models make the graphics difficult to distinguish from footage of actual LEGO. Who would have thought that the first photoreal video games would be LEGO games.
The same accolades can’t be extended to the game’s audio. The game features audio ripped directly from the movies’ soundtracks, although for the old films it sound like it’s been taken from VHS tape recording.
Whilst the music is crisp and rousing, the voices sound all hissy and distant. I’d have sooner they’d paid the original actors to do it, or found some sound-alikes, than give us the audio we’ve been left with. It really lets down an otherwise superb game.
In a world where every other game has a mature rating slapped on it, it’s nice to find a game that you can play with the kids. Like most successful comedy primarily aimed at a younger audience, the humour in Lego Jurassic World works on two levels.
For the kids there’s the in-your-face slapstick and for the adults the odd cheeky wink. The game also goes to great lengths to remove the gore, with dinosaurs, instead, having a taste for sausages and when a person does end up in a creature’s mouth, it’s just to clean his teeth.
It is a testament to the skill of the developers that they have manage to reimagine the plot of all four films with the distinct humour and style that the LEGO games are famous for. There’s hours and hours of fun on offer, even more if you are a completest. It’s a great value-for-money package offering a huge amount of gameplay.
With new-gen visuals, the series trademark humour, addictive gameplay and a story spanning all four films, LEGO Jurassic World is definitely worth a look.