Gaming: The Lego Movie Videogame

Can Lego video games continue their hot streak?

Lego: The Movie Videogame. For kids of some ages.
I became a Lego video game convert last year when I finally played Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. I played their take on Marvel's Avengers soon after, and have been a huge fan ever since.
I had very high expectations for Traveller's Tales tie-in to the Lego Movie. Using beautiful clips from the movie and a script that follows the movie seemed like a can't miss winner. Unfortunately, it falls short of Lego greatness while still providing an entertaining experience for young children.
The best Lego Movie games combine fast-paced action with tons of mini logic puzzles. The Avengers game did it best. I'm an old, seasoned, video game veteran, and I found myself tempted to google puzzle results several times during my time with Iron Man and the gang.
I never had that temptation during Lego the Movie Game. It starts off with a bang, using the hilarious opening for the movie as a backdrop, and some popping set pieces to introduce the main character Emmet. The tutorial missions are a blast. I felt like a little kid seeing what my Lego figures did when I was asleep.
It steadily progresses downward from there. Fewer and fewer movie clips are provided to move the story along because, well, they still want me to see the movie. That's fine, but I felt NO sense of connection with the characters. I'm not looking for Heavy Rain here: Just a typical Lego experience, which this is not.
First, there is too much emphasis on action, particularly in the second half of the story. Lego games have never done action particularly well; the good ones are about fighting off the bad guys while figuring out how to manipulate the environment in order to advance. The Movie Videogame is not devoid of environmental puzzles, far from it: they're just absurdly easy.
Combat is as sloppy as ever, consisting of button mashing the enemies around you. The first companion who joins you, Wyldstyle, looks almost exactly like all the generic enemy robots that you fight, level after level.
I have suspicions that this game was rushed to market to coincide with the movie release. The levels get progressively uglier and uglier, the worst of them being a torturously long underwater level. It's just plain dull and gray.
There are a series of minigames you must endure to advance that are surely directed at small children. I won't spoil all of them, (not that there's much to spoil,) but one that you have to repeat many times is a version of Pac-Man straight out of a shareware knock-off from the 1980s. Think Pac-Man with one ghost and no challenge, and you're pretty much there.
It's not all bad, of course. There are times early in the game where the charm and cheek are just right. Cloud Cuckoo Land is a visual feast with a funky beat to it, and Batman the jerk is there to hate every second of it. There's just too little of it overall to recommend it to a wide variety of gamers.
If you are a parent with kids who loved the movie, by all means, give this game a go. Play some co-op with them, you'll have a blast. If you're a casual gamer looking for a stress-free gaming experience with some humor, have at it. But if you consider yourself a "gamer" on any level, I think this will leave you wanting.
They got one thing perfect: I'm dying to see this movie now. The animation, voice acting, and humor are right up my alley. Maybe if Traveller's Tales had been given freedom to tweak the script a little, they'd have made a better game. As it is, it's mostly filler action to get to the movie clips.

Related article: The Lego Movie Review

-Tom McDaniel