It feels like nearly everything has been turned into LEGO recently, with Batman, The Powerpuff Girls and even Doctor Who turning yellow for our entertainment. LEGO has also recently made a successful jump to movies, with The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie both being well received following a cinematic release on the big screen. The newest addition, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, has just released, and what better way to celebrate its release than a movie tie-in game that’s all about channelling your inner ninja and breaking up Lego blocks.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game: PC, Xbox One [Reviewed], PS4, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment
Release Date: 6 October 2017
Price: £49.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
The game follows a plot largely similar to that of the movie, which sees Garmadon trying to take over Ninjago City by any means possible. It’s up to a group of ninjas to stop him, one of whom – Lloyd, just so happens to be Garmadon’s son. Under the watchful eye of Master Wu, you must home your ninja skills and band together to defeat Garmadon once and for all. It sounds like the cheesy plotline to a film, mostly because it is, but it’s also interesting to follow Lloyd’s journey as he struggles to cope with being the son of a supervillain, even if it is all conveyed in LEGO form.
LEGO Ninjago starts out with a tutorial in the form of a fight with the master chicken (yes really, a chicken!) which teaches you the new ways in which this game explores combat. This time around when you fight, you get the chance to make use of some combos, even if they are pretty basic. Some quick button mashing will see you performing stunning moves like the floating butterfly and the rushing boar, which not only have fancy names but also allow you to build up big combos as well as attack multiple enemies at once. The new way of fighting makes combat a lot more interesting, as well as generally smoother and slicker, especially as combat plays a large and important part in the LEGO games.
There are also some changes to other aspects of the gameplay as well this time around. Whereas with previous games you would complete a level, jump back to a hub, then progress to the next level, LEGO Ninjago‘s levels and hubs are one in the same. The levels themselves are still a decent length and split across different chapters, but take place across the various hubs. There is still a number of different settings including the middle of the city, the beach and the jungle, but these serve as both hubs and levels, which is something new for the LEGO games. It means the typical grind at the end of the game to search for gold bricks and character tokens significantly lessen, as both can be found during the levels too.
Character tokens come in the form of LEGO figure packs, and you no longer need to buy them to use them, which is a relief as you can save your studs up for far more important things, such as helping out citizens in the hub. Also returning are the red bricks, which appear in the form of ancient scrolls, though they still offer players a boost such as attracting the studs and showing you where collectables are, and as such, remain worth looking out for. LEGO Ninjago features all of the familiar aspects that people enjoy about the LEGO games with many enhancements made in addition to introducing some newer fun aspects for you to enjoy.
LEGO Ninjago boasts a wide choice of characters to play with, each carrying different skills and abilities, which is to be expected. With swords, nunchucks, hammers and every other ninja based weapon you could think of, there’s plenty to get to grips with here. The different weapons can be used to interact with certain items in the world, and the handy key in the corner lets you know which characters use what weapons, which has been a feature in some previous LEGO games recently but not all.
Unfortunately, though, some of the familiar LEGO problems are back, including long loading screens between the levels and while loading into new areas, which seem to go on far longer than it should. On top of this, there are still issues with the camera angles not focusing on the player, which can lead to untimely deaths and missing things. Couple this with some lagging in the levels which is really noticeable, though not always present, and it’s obvious that the LEGO games are still not as flawless as they should be.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game takes all of the good bits from previous LEGO games and manages to build on them. We have lots of enjoyable characters and interesting locations, as well as combining hubs and levels into one big thing now. All the positives are done really well, as usual, but there is still that niggling feeling that everything isn’t quite right. Dodgy cameras and laggy levels really let the game down, but that doesn’t stop LEGO Ninjago being more than playable and plenty of fun.