Fun and LEGO go hand-in-hand, and so a game about helping your grandfather revamp a theme park in a world made out of LEGO bricks should be a hoot, surely?
That’s the premise of LEGO Bricktales, a new brick-themed game assembled by the developer behind the Bridge Constructor series. Helping your grandfather is the number one priority here, and to do that you’re going to have to travel far and wide in order to come up with the ideas for inventive rides that will drive visitors wild.
Thankfully, your grandfather is an accomplished inventor, and one of his creations is going to make your job somewhat easier. A teleporter will be able to take you to distant worlds in an instant, but being powered by crystals created by happiness, where you can go is initially limited until you’ve generated some joy.
And so, starting with a jungle, you’ll explore a range of themed environments, seeking to help people in any way that you can. Though just reaching them can be a problem in itself. At many points you’ll be forced to use your LEGO construction skills to build bridges, stairs or other structures to allow you to gain access to other areas. In fact, you’ll be building so many bridges you’ll be wondering why it isn’t called Bridge Constructor: LEGO.
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It’s a shame, because LEGO Bricktales is at its best when it’s tasking you to do more interesting things with LEGO bricks. Sometimes you’ll be asked to solve puzzles, for example, or make a construction with certain requirements. There are some traditional platforming elements that are pretty neat, too, requiring you to use a range of skills acquired on your adventure to manipulate the environment.
Whether you’re constructing a bridge, a building support or something else, though, the bricks that LEGO Bricktales provides you with are always limited – and often rather random. It’s clear the game always have a very particular build in mind for you, and if you can’t somehow figure out exactly what it wants from you, you’ll often find yourself fudging together a haphazard, less-than-ideal build. Bricktales either needs to be more generous with the tools it provides you, truly allowing you to unleash your creativity, or be more clear about what it wants from you. Even just being able to see an image of an “idea” before you start building would be helpful.
Ultimately though, LEGO Bricktales, at least on console, is brought down by its controls. During construction, everything is a bit of a farce. Placing pieces exactly where you want them is fiddly, requiring way too much effort at times to resemble fun. The camera is a pain as well, making the process even less enjoyable.
You can connect a keyboard and mouse to play, which probably improves things, but then you may as well play LEGO Bricktales on PC. On PS5, the visuals are very disappointing compared to its PC counterpart. A shame when LEGO Builder’s Journey looked so spectacular. Even worse, it’s very buggy. The game has crashed on us many times, sometimes losing a considerate amount of progress.
Still, if you do get along with LEGO Bricktales and can cope with its frustrating console controls, there’s a good amount of content here. It won’t take you too long to complete the game, but there’s reason to go back to each world, with secrets to find and optional areas to explore. Is it worth doing? That’s up to you. For us, fighting with the controls just wasn’t worth it.
Being fans of LEGO and puzzle games, we wanted to love LEGO Bricktales. We’ve found it very hard to do so, however. Crashes are one thing, but when the gameplay itself is hampered by fiddly controls and the feeling of repetition, there’s not a great deal of fun to be had.