Lego games, like the recently released Skywalker Saga, typically focus on combat, storytelling, and light puzzle-solving, but don’t include much actual construction. Sure, there’s ample opportunity to build, but the task requires little more than holding down a button until the colorful bricks magically connect. Lego Bricktales aims to remedy this, focusing on creativity-fueled construction above all else.

Coming from Bridge Constructor developer Clockstone Studio, Bricktales doesn’t do the hard work for you, but rather challenges you to use your brain to build pre-determined objects from piles of plastic. While it looks to stimulate the mind more than blister the thumbs though, it’s still a Lego game packed with plenty of the brand’s signature personality and charm.

As its story goes, you must help your quirky, scientist grandfather restore his disheveled theme park. You’re partnered with an adorable robot sidekick, then unleashed into a variety of vibrant, themed worlds, such as a tropical island, medieval castle, and lush jungle. My demo unfolded primarily in the latter area, where I was charged with helping find and help a group of plane crash survivors.

Exploring the detailed, diorama-like worlds regularly presents progress-blocking obstacles, which then call on you to essentially construct solutions. Bridges, stairways, platforms, and other projects must be tackled to clear obstacles and access new areas. But again, it takes much more than a simple button-press to bring the Lego bricks together and form something that’s structurally sound.

Arriving at these obstacles gives you the option to enter a dedicated construction interface. Once selected, you’re told what to build – without any instruction manual – and given a selection of Lego bricks to make it happen. An early conundrum, for example, required I strengthen the supports under a platform in order to ensure it was strong enough for me to climb it. This boiled down to me stacking various Lego brick types from the ground all the way up to the underside of the platform until it was sturdy and stable.

Of course, you can’t just haphazardly snap bricks together and call it a day. Structural integrity and physics are factored into the equation, elements that can be assessed throughout construction. At any point during the building process, you can run a simulation to test out your structure. The game will then drop weights on your precious project or send a robot rolling through it to see if it actually works. If it’s up to snuff, you can then pop back into the game world and leverage your newly crafted build to progress or complete a task.

One of the game’s cooler touches is that it displays your workable constructs in the game world, warts and all.

While projects must follow the laws of physics, they needn’t be aesthetically pleasing. One of the game’s cooler touches is that it displays your workable constructs in the game world, warts and all. They don’t need to look like the polished photos adorning the boxes of retail Lego sets – they just need to get the job done.

Getting the job done isn’t always simple though. I was able to fashion those structural supports, as well as a staircase and some other jungle-based builds with moderate effort, but making a complex canopy bridge took me more time than I care to admit. Couple the lack of any sort of step-by-step instructions with a large selection of Legos staring at you, and some of the challenges can be a bit daunting.

It doesn’t help that an occasionally finicky camera can make it difficult to place bricks with the precision that’s sometimes required. These issues are by no means deal-breakers, but there was a moment or two when building felt about as satisfying as stepping on a Lego brick while barefoot. Personal injuries aside, I wouldn’t mind seeing an optional hint system in the final game.

My time in Bricktales’ toy jungle wasn’t just spent crafting bridges and staircases, as the game nicely varies and mixes up its projects and objectives. At one point, for example, I needed to construct a duplicate version of an ancient monkey statue, while my demo’s final challenge tasked me with building a gyrocopter. The latter, one of the demo’s most rewarding puzzles, saw me fashioning a makeshift fuselage, attaching a seat and propeller to it, then praying it wouldn’t crash and burn once my robot pal took it for a test spin.

Bricktales impresses with its more cerebral take on Lego gaming, nicely mimicking the creativity-driven experience, satisfaction, and rewards that come with playing with the popular toys.

When not mastering my building talents, Bricktales saw me performing skills that wouldn’t seem out of place in a more traditional action game. I acquired a bullwhip – accompanied by a cheeky Indiana Jones joke – as well as a ground pound-like ability, both of which granted some construction-free traversal and puzzle-solving options out in the plastic jungle.

Overall, Bricktales impresses with its more cerebral take on Lego gaming, nicely mimicking the creativity-driven experience, satisfaction, and rewards that come with playing with the popular toys. The camera could use some fine-tuning and the steeper challenges would benefit from a hint system, but minor gripes aside, it’s hard to beat the feeling that comes from using your brain to build something that’s actually functional.

I look forward to diving back into this virtual tub of bricks when the game lands later this year.


Source: IGN Video Games All
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