The Lego Movie Videogame was released in 2014 to consoles and handhelds, to coincide with the movie launch itself. It was developed by Travellers Tales.
*images are from similar 3DS version*
If you’ve never watched The Lego Movie, the story is simple. Emmett is a regular everyday construction worker, who builds stuff in his hometown of Bricksburg. He unfortunately feels left out of everything and tries to fit in so hard by following “the rules, and everything people like.” One day as he’s getting off work, he notices someone at the construction site, and follows them. He ends up falling down a hole and getting “the piece of resistance”, and becomes “The Special”. The only one who can stop Lord Business from weaponizing his terrible doomsday weapon, The Kragle!!!!
This really is a silly concept. The game follows the movie in its entirety. So you go from Bricksburg, to Wild West World, all the way to Cloud Cuckoo Land and beyond. Now I have a slight bias in the way this story plays out, only because the movie is one of my all-time favorite movies. Though this game does skip over a few story beats. There are some cutscenes where it’s straight-up scenes from the movie, but one or two end up ending abruptly, in the middle of a super important sentence, or in the middle of a drastically important conversation. It just cuts to black! Like the ending of The Sopranos! Who does that!? So unless you actually know the movie well, you might be left scratching your head at a few points if you play this version of the game.
This plays like any Lego game in the traditional sense. You go through a level of destructible environments, and have to break it all to figure out how to move forward, and build objects to help you get past obstacles. Except there is a small caveat. Instead of playing like a normal console Lego game, it kind of plays in the isometric sense. So the game is sort of top-down. The jump button is replaced with a roll button for example! Each level is also very bite-sized for its handheld nature. Where normal console Lego games, the levels are 30-40 minutes sometimes, these levels are broken down into 3 sections, that take a max of 5 minutes each. So in total there are about 45 little levels to work your way through. So if you sit down with it, the game probably wouldn’t take you more than an afternoon. I really enjoyed the smaller bite sized levels honestly. So when I played the game in short bursts, I felt like I was always making some sort of progress! But in the traditional Lego sense, there is still so much more to do after the credits roll, if you want to. But we’ll talk about that in the Replayability section!
As the game plays, you have to beat up enemies as you play through the game. The gameplay was fun and basic, as you just press Square to lock onto a target and smack them until they die. Or you can press a button on the vita screen to do a special attack for each character. Everyone has their own special attack. Like Batman shoots out Batarangs all around him and kills everyone around him. Benny spins in a circle firing his space blaster. Then Emmett just used his drill and hurts everything around him, but his special sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. So using his special was actually kind of a gamble. Now if you’ve ever played a Lego game, you know that you die, a lot throughout the level. Whether it’s from hazards, or enemies beating you up, or just plain ol’ falling off of edges on purpose or by accident. In this version, if you die, you have to restart the whole level. Now yes, earlier I said the levels were super short, but it was still annoying. Especially if I was at the end, and I died to something that I didn’t know would one-hit kill me.
At least this game has some level variety though! There’s the basic level, then there are the falling levels that were present in the console versions as well, but there are plenty more here, and then there are quite a few on rail shooter levels. These were some of my favorites, as they mixed the formula up quite a bit, but at the same time, there was so much going on at once on screen in some of them, it was hard to figure out what I had to deal with to not take damage, and die! Some of the levels are even sprinkled with some minigames. Like when you build something with instructions as Emmett, you get to pick the next piece that goes onto it, though it does have to be the correct choice. Or as Vitruvius, when you open a door, you play Simon says. Then as Spaceman Benny, you kind of play a pac-man inspired game. It was all so wacky and weird, and I enjoyed them all. Except when they’re overdone of course…like Simon says…
Considering this game is made up mostly of Lego, it looks great for a handheld game! Though there are some effects that look kind of bad, like the special moves I talked about, some are just copied and pasted, but with a different color to them. But every enemy breaking apart looked great and funny! Then the sound is great. You have every chiptune from the movie for every area you are in, and no sounds actually cut out, which is normal for games like this on handheld. The best part though, is that when you pause the game, you get to hear the “Everything Is Awesome” song, in its entirety, WITH LYRICS! So I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I would pause the game just to hear it. I know to some though, this would irritate them like mad. But not me.
After the credits roll, you have access to a large variety of characters. So now you can go to past levels, and play them in Freeplay mode to find all of the collectibles! Though there is no open world in this, instead the Golden Bricks are earned through challenges. So things like “beat the level. Find the red brick. Don’t take damage”, and everyone’s favorite kind of challenges, speedruns! I hated trying some of the speedrun challenges. The reason for this is because if you didn’t find a red brick that made it so you didn’t have to do minigames or QTEs, you were on such a strict timeline, that if you messed anything up, chances are you’d miss the target time! It was a pain in the butt, that made me kind of get sour on the experience, and EVERY level has a speedrun challenge. But at least there was enough content here to keep you happy for a while!
The Lego Movie Game on Vita was a fun and different experience for someone who’s a big fan of the game and movie itself. Though there were some poor gameplay choices, like the one life in levels, and important cutscenes stopping abruptly, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and I would recommend it as a fun twist to the traditional console version! Until I reached the end game of course. The speedrun challenges are a pain, and shouldn’t be there in the first place! So beware trophy hunters!