We had been eagerly anticipating LEGO Bricktales for a while, and it finally launched this week – here are our thoughts on the PlayStation 4 version, although it’s available for all the other major platforms as well.
LEGO Bricktales was developed by ClockStone and is being published by Thunderful, and the main reason we were looking forward to it so much has been its gorgeous visual style, using a diorama-style aesthetic that really brings the LEGO look and feel to life – even more so than the TT Games-developed games do. Looking at the game, you just get the urge to reach in there and start building and modifying.
And, up until we recently played a demo, that was really all we knew about the game. Luckily, that charm extends to the gameplay as well, which stars a generic-looking little minifig looking to visit his granddad, who happens to live below an old amusement park and is a bit of an eccentric fellow. You have to help him repair things around there so he doesn’t lose his job as caretaker slash mad scientist with a robot assistant. Whatever you need in order to get me to grab LEGO bricks and build stuff, I suppose – though the big quest is to find and use some kind of magical crystals that have amusement park-repairing capabilities.
This quest puts our protagonist on a mission to travel to a handful of different dimensions in order to look for them, with some of the environments offering plenty of visual nudges to classic LEGO themes that longtime fans will love seeing and walking around in. Switching between very different dimensions also means that no one particular look outstays its welcome, and they all contain replay value due to the fact that secrets can be found in many different places.
Exploration pays off, and it’s a big chunk of the core gameplay experience as well. Many puzzles need to be overcome by building something that’ll help you progress, but the fun part is that a lot of these conundrums can be solved in many different ways. Sometimes (especially early on) there’s an obvious way to do things, but you’re free to get creative and explore other options as well. As challenges become more complex, your room to experiment grows, and Bricktales starts to feel more and more like a real LEGO experience rather than the “hold button to build” mechanics that we’re familiar with.
For LEGO fans, this’ll be a warm bath, but we can see others needing to get used to a somewhat slower-paced LEGO game, and the narrative isn’t as engaging as the premise suggests either. More of a casual puzzle adventure that lets you get creative and take your time, LEGO Bricktales delights with tons of visual LEGO charm to elevate an otherwise somewhat unremarkable game to something that fans of the actual brick-building will probably enjoy quite a bit.