If you've seen the LEGO Movie, you'll know three things: that not being able to find your trousers in the morning is worthy of its own spin-off sitcom, that Batman is a musical genius, and that everything IS awesome. If you haven't seen the film, then you'll want to do so well before you sit down with this fantastic tie-in, as not only does it follow the plot of the film very closely indeed - it's full of pretty lengthy clips, too.
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That, in itself wins it bonus points with us, as it's something (inexplicably) so few film tie-ins do now. When the source material's as outright fantastic as the LEGO Movie is, then you'd expect the game to be packed with footage, and the LEGO Movie Videogame doesn't disappoint - to the extent that if you watch all the clips they've squeezed in back to back, you'll essentially be watching a not-too-abridged take on the film itself.
Outside of the laugh-every-few-seconds snippets from the film, though, the LEGO Movie Videogame is every bit as brilliantly crafted an adventure as we've come to expect from Traveller's Tales. Telling the story of Emmet, a hapless hero who's so incredibly ordinary, he ends up being the only one who can save the LEGO world from being frozen in place by the sinister Lord Business and his super weapon, a tube of Krazy Glue ("the kragle!"), the game will soon be familiar to anyone who's played a LEGO game before. A co-op adventure of epic proportions that sees you smashing bad guys, buildings and bricks, before rebuilding things into more useful items, it's a game that encourages team work, as you take advantage of each character's special powers to move through the level.
While Emmett may be the most ordinary man who ever lived, his initial partner, the rebellious Wyldstyle can leap to higher places (by virtue of being a woman), the Gandalf knock-off Vitruvius can open secret doors using his staff, and Batman can use his grappling hook to pull down certain objects, or shoot up to others. Switching between the characters as you smash your way through the levels, you'll have to make use of their individual abilities if you want to progress - although, as always, there are plenty of "locked off" sections you won't be able to access on your first run through. Whether it's panels of gold LEGO bricks that need to be lasered, or fires blocking doors, The LEGO Movie is not a game you'll be able to 100% in a single run, with certain areas being inaccessible until you've unlocked a certain character.
In a bit of a twist from the norm, because the LEGO Movie has such a weird selection of characters, it isn't always obvious which character you'll need to do what - but you can usually at least have a good guess. Not wanting to wait until we unlocked the nefarious Bad Cop and his shiny laser, we instead took a gamble on Fem Bot, which more than paid off, as she's unlocked three or four levels in (rather than right at the end), yet just so happens to come with a laser. Similarly, while we could have waited until the very last level to unlock a fireman (the brilliantly named Justin Ferneux, if you're wondering), we instead bought ourselves a Yeti around half way through, whose snowballs can handily put out flames, letting us access the bonus areas that little bit sooner. Score.
And this element of experimentation adds a nice twist to the LEGO Movie game, as, if you're familiar with the franchises in question, it's usually obvious which character you need to choose for which job. Darth Vader can use the dark side force powers in LEGO Star Wars, Iron Man can fly in LEGO Marvel, etc, etc. It's nice to be able to figure things out for yourself.
In another interesting twist, while the game may come with fewer levels (just fifteen to play through), this is the first LEGO game to feature stages that are made entirely of virtual LEGO bricks. While previous games had gone for more "real world" settings, the LEGO Movie stays true to the film in constructing its gorgeous environments out of the plasticy toy itself. More a cosmetic difference than a game-changer, it does add a few neat touches to the game, with the ability to demolish entire houses with your drill in the opening level, and blow up chunks of floor later on.
Perhaps one of the best things about the game, though, is that beyond the clips from the film, the game's also full of brand new, witty dialogue between the crew, that for maximum authenticity has been recorded by the film's cast themselves. Helping keep the story going even when the game diverts from the film's plot - not to mention adding in a few extra laughs - it's a welcome addition.
As those who've played the earlier LEGO games will know, one of the most important part of any LEGO game is collectibles, and while the LEGO Movie doesn't disappoint, it doesn't provide quite the same number of collectibles to find as in previous games. One of the best new additions are the "pants" (they mean trousers) that you can find hidden in certain levels, which can then be equipped at the "Dispantsers", found in each of the game's hubs. Far from just a cosmetic change, the pants add all new powers to your character, from the Disco Pants, which play the film's theme, "Everything is Awesome" on repeat, ad infinitum, to the explosive pants (which, y'know, explode), and the somewhat painful sounding pneumatic pants, which let you drill holes through things just by walking over them, there's plenty of fun to be had here - it's just a shame they're so hard to use. With the only way to equip them being to use the dispantsers - which are often a bit of a trek from where you are - it can be a bit of a faff, not to mention the fact you don't actually unlock most of the pants until you're on your last run through the game, on the way to 100%. So by the time you've unlocked them, you've got nothing left to wear them for.
Besides increasing your collection of trousers, though, there's 70 other "gold bricks" waiting to be collected, which can be unlocked for collecting a certain number of studs in each level, and finding the five golden instruction pages hidden in each stage, amongst others. Along with the gold bricks, there's an impressive 20 red bricks to be found, which basically work as cheats, unlocking things like invulnerability, stud multipliers (up to a max of x3840), and general speedy additions like fast build. Unlike gold bricks, the red bricks are hidden throughout the hub stages - the more "open" areas that tie the various levels together - which come complete with their own little challenges to complete, too, and there's also over 100 characters to be unlocked, from Shakespeare to Ma Cop and five version of Unikitty. In other words, there's still a heck of a lot to see and do, even if it isn't quite as lengthy as your standard LEGO game.
With the bugs thankfully a lot less frequent than in LEGO Marvel, and a few tweaks being made to the puzzles to make this even more accessible than before, the LEGO Movie is a must buy if you enjoyed the film. Full of laughs, with the same great co-op, and plenty of cool little touches, this is a game that will have you smiling from start to finish. Everything is awesome - and the LEGO Movie game is too.
Format Reviewed: Xbox 360