We’ve been waiting 14 long years for a sequel to Pixar’s The Incredibles and now that it’s finally here it’s also received the LEGO game treatment. LEGO The Incredibles digitally legofies the events of both films, serving them up in 12 bite-sized pieces for easy consumption. Unfortunately, these 12 pieces are bereft of flavour but the free-roaming dessert that follows makes it a little more palatable. Why am I likening LEGO The Incredibles to a 13-course meal? I’ve not got a clue but it’s an accurate analogy nonetheless.
It’s worth noting now that I’ve yet to see The Incredibles 2 so the following statement is based on how the original set of levels play out. Don’t @ me.
LEGO The Incredibles follows the new age LEGO game formula with a more or less beat for beat adaptation of both films, save the odd comedic twist. The game begins at the start of The Incredibles 2 which coincidentally is the end of the first film. It’s an odd choice to open the game with the sequel but presumably, they want to catch the Incredibles 2 hype as it releases in cinema.
If you’re familiar with either film you’ll already know that the game opens up with the fight against The Underminer and it serves as a great introduction to the game. During this level, you’ll take control of all members of the Parr family making use of their unique abilities to complete the many puzzles dotted throughout.
Mr Incredible uses his strength to move large obstacles. Elastigirl uses her flexibility to access otherwise inaccessible areas and Violet can use her ability to create an orb in which Dash can enter to activate a mechanism that requires both speed and a bubble, for some reason. Utilising characters for their unique abilities is a tried and tested formula for LEGO games but it does resonate a little more with a series so heavily focused on family.
Each mission thereafter focusses on a key scene, or scenes, from both films with fully voice-acted cutscenes sandwiching the gameplay. This new standard of voiced LEGO characters, unfortunately, makes the game feel all too familiar to the shovelware movie games that plagued the video game market last generation. LEGO games were much more charming when none of the characters spoke but the same could be said about real-life I guess. That’s not to say the game is all bad, though. Some of LEGO’s signature charm does still shine through the mediocrity but there’s only so many times you can laugh at a random farmyard animal making an appearance midscene. I must digress that I am a 28-year-old bitter gamer so this humour probably doesn’t wear as thin for the game’s target audience.
Playing the game isn’t without its problems either. The usual suspects of dodgy camera placement and finicky character movement rear their ugly heads. There were also moments in the game where I wasn’t entirely sure what I needed to do to progress. The game merely prompted me to switch characters and in most of these cases all I had to do was press, or hold, a button but because I wasn’t in the exact position the action wasn’t triggered. These frequent issues are enough to be of annoyance but between them, the game plays fine. It’s a standard running, jumping platformer with basic combat elements.
Once you’ve completed the first level you’ll gain access to Municiberg, a small open-world city which is the saving grace of the game. This open-world segment is very similar to games like Spider-Man 2 or Grand Theft Auto (minus the hookers and drugs) in that you can explore at your own leisure and help residents in trouble. The city itself is also surprisingly atmospheric. You can hear dogs barking in the distance, sirens from cops cars whizzing down the network of streets and you can even pick up parts of the conversation of passers-by. It’s also during these moments that you can start to play like a genuine superhero even more so when completing menial tasks for citizens such as saving a cat from a tree. All of this equates to a section of the game that feels quite fun!
As you complete more of the story you’ll unlock New Urbem, an extension to the open-world area. Combined, the two districts offer up a huge amount of content to keep you busy. There are mini-missions to complete. Mini-games to play such as races and many, many collectables to find. You’ll also find Pixar themed ‘family builds’ situated around Municiberg and New Urbem which require you to collect a number of bricks before carrying out a small tapping mini-game to build a special set piece. Once you find and build these you’ll unlock playable Pixar characters which is a personal highlight of mine. There are also a bunch of Pixar Easter eggs dotted throughout the game’s story so keep your eyes peeled.
During free-roam and free play, you have the full cast of unlocked characters at your disposal, some of which are a joy to play as. Frozone, for instance, can create a channel of ice to surf down once you’ve perfected a double jump. Jack-Jack can switch between his many personas, each with a unique ability, and others, like Finding Nemo’s Dory, can keep swimming to help find underwater collectables. If the roster of characters isn’t to your liking you can visit Edna and create your own. Your character can be made up of other unlockable characters leading to some quite interesting results. You’re also able to choose a hero class for the character which defines its superpowers.
At the end of the day LEGO The Incredibles is another LEGO game. If you’ve played one before you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in to. It’s a, roughly, 5-hour story (across both films) chock-full of collectables that require multiple playthroughs to snag them all. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t do anything particularly exciting to warrant multiple playthroughs. The highlight of the game is the free-roaming section which, fortunately, turns an otherwise ‘meh’ game into something quite fun. It still never quite lives up to the charm of the earlier LEGO games and this is made worse because of the subject matter. Pixar are incredibly talented with their storytelling, diverse and interesting characters and genuinely humorous writing but it never really translates well during the game. If you’re a huge fan of Pixar and LEGO games you’ll find some joy here. If you aren’t, it’s not worth your time.