As a procedurally generated sandbox adventure game, it no surprise that Lego Worlds shares much in common with Minecraft; a title which itself draws inspiration from the timeless joys of stacking Lego bricks together to build fantastical constructions.
Yet, despite these inevitable comparisons, Lego Worlds sets itself apart by treating players to an extensive toy box of virtual bricks, even if the sum of its many parts never elevates the experience beyond fleeting fun.
Following a brief opening cutscene, developer TT Games guides the player across a series of unique biomes, each offering up a treasure trove of exploration and experimentation. In a spot of savvy cross-promotion with the burgeoning Lego cinematic universe, the end goal of Lego Worlds is to become a master builder, though sadly no iconic Warner Brothers characters make an appearance this time around.
Anyone who’s played previous LEGO titles from TT Games will find themselves on familiar territory here; breaking objects to acquire studs, engaging in simplistic combat, and riding around on increasingly outlandish vehicles. But what distinguishes Lego Worlds is the game’s celebration of creativity. Players can gleefully demolish and refashion the terrain with powerful landscaping tools, create entire structures made from any Lego brick imaginable, and populate the worlds with objects and characters they’ve previously discovered through exploration. It doesn’t quite hit the same mark as playing with Lego in the real world, but it comes surprisingly close.
As a game which has only just left its open testing phase, Lego Worlds does have its share of problems, too. Despite the title's promise, the game often limits player freedom when it should be expanding it. Pre-built worlds cannot be accessed in any order, but must be progressively unlocked through collecting gold bricks, and players aren't able to create their own worlds until an unreasonably late stage in the game.
Lego Worlds also lacks the technical polish of the rest of TT Games’ oeuvre, with an overexcited camera that refuses to keep a steady eye on your character, and a headache-inducing first-person mode which is best avoided altogether. Still, the classic LEGO charm remains on full form thanks to the quirky animations of the minifig cast, and splendidly theatrical narration work by Peter Serafinowicz.
A crafting game made in Lego sounds like a match made in heaven, but the reality is that Lego Worlds doesn’t quite live up to the promise of that concept. Even so, it’s hard to not be entertained by the colour and creativity on show, and at least there’s no danger of treading on misplaced bricks strewn across your living room floor.