It’s time to break out the bricks once again as we dive into the crazy world of LEGO Minifigures Online. Is this just another by-the-blocks entry into the series, or does the online elements add something new?
Game: LEGO Minifigures Online
Reviewed on: PC
(Review code provided by Funcom)
I could be horribly cynical in this game review and simply write “It’s a LEGO game” and give a score. I won’t because, hang on a minute – LEGO Minifigures Online (LMO) isn’t actually cut from the same cloth as the LEGO Jurassic World game I reviewed last month. In fact this is something new entirely. Instead of being a standard LEGO action game, LMO is a dungeon crawler in the vein of games such as Diablo and Torchlight. And it’s worth a wee look…
On booting up the game, my doubt meter started to creep into the red. Instead of the usual Travellers Tales logo, LMO is developed by Funcom the Norwegian company responsible for The Longest Journey and MMO’s such as Age of Conan and The Secret World. On start up it asks you to either create a LEGO ID account or log in with an existing one. LEGO fans will be pleased to know that this is the same ID they use to log into the LEGO website to do things such as vote on user designed sets, so there is no need to create an account if you already have one there.
Once you’re logged in it’s straight to character creation. There are three save slots in the game and, as you’ll see, you’re not restricted to using just the character you select at the start as with dungeon crawlers you come across. Choosing a screen name is achieved by choosing a combination of three random words to make a nonsense name. I went with Great Allergic Dingo; fitting as my hayfever was in full swing at the time! Once you have chosen your starting character, you’re straight into the tutorial mission where you can learn the controls.
The game can be played using either a controller or keyboard and mouse. Personally I preferred the latter as the controller personally felt stiff and imprecise. The game plays like a very cut down version of Diablo; click and hold to move, dragging the mouse to aim your character. It’s pretty simple, you click on enemies to attack, click on LEGO bricks to build and click on other stuff to interact. A click-em-up. Smashing things, defeating enemies and building things gives you experience stars which allow you to power up your characters through a simple tech tree. More characters can be unlocked by playing the story, as well as by entering codes found in blind packs of mini figures, sold through most shops for about £2.50 (unfortunately not the Simpsons mini figures, which is a shame!)
The game is split into a number of themed overworlds which takes the player through the main story. At each overworld, you meet other players who are essentially passively playing alongside you. Enemies and objectives respawn on the server to allow everyone an equal chance. You can add players to a friends list and team up to tackle the dungeons scattered through the worlds, the end of which rewards you with a new character and loot in the form of the in-game currency (used to upgrade your character) and parts for other minifigures.
All in all, it’s fairly bright and clearly aimed at younger audiences, however a number of failings stop it me from recommending it. As mentioned, the controls are somewhat stiff via the controller and I also found that the mouse and keyboard could often be imprecise. Clicking on something while the action icon was shown would put my character into position, start their animation, yet not have any effect whatsoever such as blocks not building and attacks going straight through enemies. While this could possibly be forgiven as a one off, it happened far too frequently, as did other collision detection issues such as snagging on scenery. It should also be noted that while Funcom have to be commended for moving the game from a Free To Play model with a hefty monthly subscription and microtransactions to a more palatable Pay To Play model, the price for entry on PC is rather steep, fetching in at £25 via Steam or the official LMO website.
LMO should be a fun introduction to dungeon crawlers for a younger audiences. The decision to move from a Free To Play model should make investing in a more complete package more appealing, but the price point may be a bit steep for some parents, along with annoying collision issues that are present throughout.