LEGO Worlds is the digital LEGO that I didn’t know I wanted… until now
When I was a kid, receiving a new box of LEGO on Christmas and birthdays was the thing that I most looked forward to. Even as an adult (sort of), my other half still fuels my love of the brick by purchasing a new model for me to build on Christmas Day. So, when I was asked to try out LEGO Worlds, you can only imagine my excitement.
At a glance, you may assume that LEGO Worlds is just a really late Minecraft clone, which is funny seeing as it is, you know, LEGO. However, this is certainly not the case. While enabling players to be creative, LEGO Worlds provides structure, easing players into the game and showing them a wide variety of tools without overloading them all at once. You won’t be thrown into a world expected to fend for yourself, here. Instead, you’ll discover a tool, learn how to use it by completing a number of objectives and then test out your own wacky ideas. LEGO Worlds revolves around one very important premise: become a Master Builder and in doing so, you will have unlocked every tool, brick and will likely have built some awesome creations along the way. I checked out the retail build of the PlayStation 4 version of the game and tested out the first few worlds.
Ironically, LEGO Worlds begins out of this world, in the final frontier otherwise known as space. Players will have the option to play as either an astronaut or an intergalactic girl and can customise their character’s appearance to some extent. As you progress, you’ll unlock more options to customise your character further, where you’ll be able to change pretty much everything, from their headwear to their hips. Once you’re happy with your look, you’ll crash-land onto a planet known as ‘Pirate Playground’ to complete the tutorial. Unfortunately, your spaceship, the PUG-Z, took quite a battering upon entering Pirate Playground’s atmosphere and is lying in a heap on the island. In order to get it up and running again, you’ll have to collect three golden bricks, which can be obtained by completing objectives. You’ll continue collecting golden bricks as you visit more worlds and once you’ve collected one hundred bricks, you’ll be able to create your own worlds. In this case, you’ll need to help three different pirates on the island. Before rushing off to begin the objectives (that are highlighted on the map by gold beams of light), a meteor crashes onto the island and you’ll have to check out the crater that it created. Players will then uncover the first, most significant tool in the game: the Discovery tool. With this tool, players will be able to scan models, outfits, creatures and vehicles which then remain in their inventory and can be placed whenever and wherever they want. Each new item costs a sum of studs (the in-game currency) to unlock, but once you’ve unlocked it, it’s yours forever.
With the Discovery tool to hand, players will then be able to start their quest to become a Master Builder. My first challenge was to help out a Pirate Lady who needed some more pigs and chickens to complete her farm. Selecting the Discovery tool from the radial menu and scanning and placing animals were all part of a straightforward process that felt natural and easily accessible on the PS4 controller. I think children would soon get the hang of the controls and I think Traveller’s Tales Games has done an excellent job ensuring that anyone could just pick up this game and start playing. As players explore the first few worlds, they’ll unlock more tools including the Landscape tool, which lets you add and remove terrain in the shape of either a cube or sphere; along with the self explanatory Paint and Copy tools and more that I didn’t get the chance to unlock at the preview event. The level of detail in this game is deeper than I ever would have expected, with players being able to flatten areas at the touch of a button, as well as smooth terrain to make it look more natural.
The first world showed me how I could utilise the Discovery tool in different ways, with my second task requiring me to scan and place a pre-built Pirate Throne model and the third, introducing blueprints for a Pirate Clock Tower. Once players have scanned an object, they will also be able to hover over it in the world and delete it. This was demonstrated by the game asking me to remove some brambles that had grown around a treasure chest. In the second and third world, the Landscape and Copy tools were introduced in a similar way, where each objective encourages players to test how versatile each tool is. This will prove to be incredibly helpful once they become a Master Builder and can create their own worlds.
Furthermore, it’s clear that pushing LEGO Worlds through Early Access has definitely improved the game, and TT Games will be releasing it with an admirable level of polish. Whether you’re using the landscaping tool to alter the terrain across a large area, or meticulously placing individual bricks, TT Games has every angle covered. Thanks to the high demand for a first person camera in the Early Access community, LEGO Worlds features this option, along with a third person camera where you can zoom right out to make large-scale building a lot easier. All of the pre-built models can be deconstructed into individual bricks and the meteors that crash into the worlds leave a realistic impact in the form of craters. In addition, your character will be able to scale absolutely everything, so if you just created a towering structure, you’ll be able to climb to the top of it to admire the view afterwards.
Speaking of creating awesome structures, there’s tonnes of options available depending on how much time you want to spend on your creations. At the preview event, Chris Rose (Associate Producer at TT Games) kindly unlocked every item to show our group how many items actually feature in the game; it’s a pretty staggering amount! Once you’ve unlocked all the pieces in the game you’ll be kitted out with anything from 1×1 bricks to complete models of helicopters and houses. Rose also mentioned that LEGO Worlds will support a feature called the ‘Brick Build Showcase’, which currently takes the form of a server where TT Games plan to upload new models on a weekly basis for players to download and use in their worlds. The developer has stated that they’d like this server to eventually evolve to support cross-platform community sharing, where players will be able to upload and download each other’s models. This service is still in its earliest form, but it sounds really promising and when the game launches, it’ll already be sporting two models created by the Early Access Community on Steam.
This is the first time that I’ve ever played with ‘digital LEGO’ and I’m so pleased to say that it won’t be my last. LEGO Worlds looks fantastic and luckily I won’t have to wait too long to jump back into the game, as it releases on March 10. Porting something as iconic as LEGO into a completely different form was never going to be an easy task and as a fan of the physical product, I was unsure whether I’d take to it. Nonetheless, TT Games has done a great job at implementing all the tools you could ever need for creating a world of LEGO and have managed to introduce them to players in bite-sized chunks, equally avoiding boring and overwhelming players. Regardless of their age, I think LEGO fans will be truly impressed by this game; from the interesting ways in which it encourages its players to be creative, to the familiar sheen on the plastic bricks. I was also really impressed by the PlayStation 4 build, which ran incredibly well, looked amazing and had the best loading times that I’ve seen in a while – I can only imagine how beautiful this will run on a PC! At its sub-£20 price point, LEGO Worlds has already proven that it’s a worthy purchase and I strongly urge any LEGO fan young or old, to check it out!