For the past 15 years, the LEGO brand has steadily expanded its portfolio of videogames. In recent years, LEGO’s focus has shifted from the building-centered Creator games to the platform adventures developed by Traveler’s Tales. Those games are well-received, but all feature similar gameplay even though they explore a large variety in themes. Next year, Funcom will release Lego Minifigures Online – branching the LEGO brand out into the online multiplayer domain. We saw an early presentation for the game a week before the official announcement and here’s what we saw.
What sets Lego Minifigures Online apart from TT’s productions is that Funcom goes back to centering the experience around something that is intrinsic to the LEGO brand instead of using the appeal of an external license. Another distinguishing element is that Minifigures is primarily geared towards kids, and those two go hand in hand extremely well. Young kids may not be as easily wowed by the Star Wars license as some of the older “kids” among us, but they’re the group that is actively playing with the hugely popular Minifigures brand that LEGO introduced in 2010.
Despite the specific license for the recent line of Minifigures, LEGO Minifigures Online also harks back to the LEGO realms that older players (today’s parents!) grew up with. So expect you and your kids to explore the space, pirate and medieval worlds that we’ve been familiar with for decades – and a ton more.
Minifigures is coming to PC, Android and iOS during the second half of 2014, and features intuitive gameplay that can be controlled using nothing but a single mouse yet looks similar enough to Traveler’s Tales to feel familiar to fans of those titles. There are keyboard shortcuts available for weapon selection, but this can also be done using on-screen buttons. Gamepad support, to ease a console-loving crowd into the online multiplayer experience, isn’t currently planned.
Still about a year away from release, it will be interesting to see how Lego Minifigures Online develops. There’s no shortage of themes in the game, so there’s a lot of chance for varied gameplay here. We’ll see how the different themes play into the missions and adventures you’ll encounter and maybe even into gameplay elements that are unique to each environment. We’re keeping a close eye on the game and will be updating you as we get nearer to a release.