Ah lego, a part of everyone’s childhood remembered fondly save for when you stepped on a brick that one time and your foot was indented for what felt like days! While I have grown up I’ve never really shook my love of lego, only now it’s on a screen and not all over the floor. Is it childish? Perhaps, but there’s a certain joy in smashing things and seeing your favourite heroes and movie characters come to life in bricks and colour.
Right where was I? Oh yes, the Hobbit lego game! Many people have a soft spot for the world J.R.R. Tolkien created and though there’s a lot of things I wasn’t happy about in the movie adaptions I was always going to give the game a try. Unfortunately for me some of the things I found frustrating about the movie also made it into the game. That plate throwing scene and all the time spent at Bilbos before even leaving the house means that before you even face any kind of Lego enemy you’ve already thrown plates, collected food stuffs for hungry dwarves and watched a lot of cut scenes.
The thing is that isn’t even where the game starts, it instead incorporates the whole of the quest, from the original folly of the dwarves and all through the story that follows. There’s not even any enemies until you get into the right part of the story. You travel through middle earth, completing levels of the story at the places where they occur and with each level you finish more events across the world unlock. Like all Lego games there’s a huge focus on collectibles, including unlocking extra characters, collecting the minikits and reaching 100% completion. You’re initially quite limited in your characters and the abilities available to you but the further along you get in the story the more you are able to do when exploring the world. While you do have more freedom in character choice when roaming the country side your options are limited by where you are at in the story. For example if you’re up to the necromancer levels with the Wizards, no dwarfs will be available to you. Similarly before completing the eagle rescue from the white Orc your only option to travel Middle earth is on foot.
Honestly you spend so long playing dwarfs with bushy beards that it becomes rather annoying to tell them apart. Who has the pick axe? The shovel? What about the slingshot? Why do you all look the same?! The combat system when you eventually get there is simple, press buttons in the general direction of your foe, but sometimes it was just irritating. The Wizards get the wobbles after ranged attacks and characters with two weapons or extra items swap occasionally for no reason, and fail to swap when they’re supposed to, like to use their unique abilities. You can obviously do it manually yourself but it takes away the flow of whatever task you’re completing. The good thing about the Lego games is that even though at times the gameplay gets tedious and frustrating, the signature Lego humour gets you through it.
The real fun (for me at least) is in the problem solving. There’s some as you play through the story, but you really unlock the majority of the good stuff once you’ve finished it. There’s some repetitive features, use x character to unlock y, protect the towns person, get a brick and so on, but for all the tasks that repeat there’s still plenty that challenge. Finish the story and you have the entirety of the world to conquer, not to mention the free play of the story mode. It’s not just mini-kits and bricks that you’re finding this time, there’s also a whole range of weapons you can forge and resources needed to do so. This includes precious metals, woods and miscellany like carrot and ropes, to forge wondrous things like pumpkin hats and impressive mythril weaponry.
Wander around the world, buy characters and solve problems, a silver lock here, an elven leap there and you’ve unlocked another .5% completion. Yep there is a lot of content to unlock, if anything at all, this game keeps you busy, has bright colours and gets the occasional chuckle. The open world, ability to track and chase the perfect score and hell the fact that it’s Lego gets the thumbs up from me.
Let us know what your favorite lego adaption is in the comments!