Gamers of all ages have been enjoying Traveller's Tales' Lego games for years now, but now they can finally play with real Lego bricks as a part of the game. With the runaway success of the toys-to-life trendsetter, Skylanders, it's a mystery why it's taken this long for the Lego games to jump into the genre.
Rather than focus on one IP, this new series is a mashup of multiple franchises and movie licenses. In the box, you'll find dinky NFC-chipped Lego minifigs for Batman, Gandalf and WyldStyle. Together they must take on evil forces across dimensions to save the day by beating up goons, smashing up environments and holding the Circle button to rebuild odd yet useful tools. So far, so Lego, right?
Except, in order to use the inter-dimensional gateway, you'll have to build it first. With actual Lego, with your own hands. This is your docking station where you place character and vehicle models. You can use the manual, or follow the on-screen version to put it together. It took us (a couple who hasn't touched a Lego brick in many years) about an hour to build along with the other characters and a car. Don't worry if you're rubbish at Lego or if you're buying for a younger child who isn't quite there yet, the game can't actually tell what you've built, so you can't 'get it wrong.'Click here to read more...
"Minecraft is digital Lego, we only wish we had invented it." - David Gram (Lego's marketing director, August 2014)
It's not too late though, is it? With over 560 billion physical Lego pieces created world wide and the fact that Lego in February grabbed the title of 'World's most powerful brand" from Ferrari, it's always been obvious who runs the best block party.
Until Minecraft.Click here to read more...
TT Games have revealed this year's slate of LEGO games, including one massive surprise that could prove to be one of the most hilarious tie-ins yet.
Clever girl.Click here to read more...
Looking for a cracking console bundle deal this Black Friday? Love LEGO? Well, check out this PS Vita bundle from Argos.
You'll get a PS Vita Slim and an 8GB memory card loaded with six LEGO titles -- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, LEGO Batman 1 & 2, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, and LEGO Star Wars 3. It's a shame they haven't updated this to factor in the excellent LEGO Movie or Marvel Super Heroes games, but it's still a damn fine package at a damn fine price.
Even the most stalwart old warhorse needs to take a break sometimes. Partly to recuperate and refresh, but also because it can't keep up with being ridden so hard to ridiculous deadlines.
Stuff the analogies; though the world of gaming is full of new ideas and fresh concepts, these great games all too often mutate into stodgy, bloated and rushed franchises that grimly release year on year with diminishing returns, often losing track of what made them great in the first place. We see it happen time and time again, and this year in particular, we reckon that it's high time for some of the industry's biggest franchises to step back, take a break and focus on how best to bring them back once we're good and ready.
If they even need to brought back at all. Seeing as it's been a while since we last ragged on Sonic, let's get this thing rolling.
We love Assassin's Creed here at Dealspwn. The core idea of a three-dimensional assassination sandbox is as brilliant as it ever was, while each game tried its best to present new time periods, characters, gadgets and meta-narratives to keep things fresh.
Unfortunately you can have too much of a good thing. Assassin's Creed did well to remain as good as it was for so long, Assassin's Creed III notwithstanding, but Unity proves that the insane annual release deadlines have finally caught up with us. A technical mess with half-baked mechanics, paradoxically shown up by its own last-gen counterpart.
So it's time to take a break, Ubisoft. Give us two years to start missing Assassin's Creed, then spend the time looking at what made the original games brilliant, and how best to bring the action into a totally new setting that really advances both gameplay, visuals and narrative. Plus, hell, the extra QA probably wouldn't hurt...Click here to read more...
Steam are running some cheap LEGO PC game deals this weekend, including LEGO The Hobbit, LEGO Batman, The LEGO Movie Videogame and LEGO Marvel Superheroes at knock-down prices. LEGO Batman 3 may be out next week, and the star of the show, but you can buy practically every other game in the series for the same price combined!
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is probably the highlight of the package, but The LEGO Movie Video Game is also a steal at £3.74 seeing as it's still a chart fixture. Frankly you can't go wrong with any of them, apart from The Hobbit, which released too early. Thanks to FantasyDeals @ HUKD!
We love the LEGO games here at Dealspwn.com. From humble British beginnings, Traveller's Tales blended our favourite films with our favourite childhood toy, creating a gentle, accessible, hilarious and compelling set of adventures for everyone to enjoy. We've certainly had a lot of it to enjoy, too, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones.
And Harry Potter. And The Lord Of The Rings. And LEGO City Undercover and The Chase Begins and DC Super Heroes and DC Super Heroes 2 and Rock Band and The Adventure Continues and Pirates Of The Caribbean and Ninjago and The Legends Of Chima and Marvel Super Heroes and Universe in Peril and the LEGO Movie... culminating in a Hobbit tie-in that launched before the Trilogy has even completed, offers scant new features, feels unpolished and arrives less than two months after their last major release.
Uh-oh. This is actually rather worrying... because we've seen it before. When a franchise oversaturates its own marketplace and directly competes with itself because a publisher wants too much of a good thing, the alarm bells are bound to go off - as we learned thanks to a certain extinct music game featuring plastic guitars and a billion unnecessary semi-sequels all clamouring for attention.
If Warner Bros. doesn't throttle back, there's a real and present danger of our beloved LEGO series going the same way.Click here to read more...
Warner Bros. Interactive's SVP of international games, Olivier Wolff, has revealed that the company have always been concerned that the LEGO series might have a ceiling in terms of its appeal. However, it would appear that the reverse is true, with Wolff declaring that actually the series has completely dodged consumer fatigue, and in fact there's more demand for LEGO games than ever before.Click here to read more...
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
We love the Traveller's Tales LEGO games here at Dealspwn. Flying in the face of gritty seriousness, the UK-based developer believes that it's okay to have fun while playing videogames, presenting us with a range of brilliant tie-ins that blend our love of classic films with the toys we grew up with. Kids can enjoy the accessible addictive gameplay while us slightly older folks can chuckle at the in-jokes and collect copious amounts of studs right along with them. The LEGO games are a perfect mix of smart design and unabashed sillyness that literally anyone can enjoy.
So it's no surprise that LEGO have co-opted TT Games to create a handheld tie-in based on their latest official playset range: Legends Of Chima. The colourful world of anthropomorphic kung fu animals may be a neat setting for a game, but can the series support itself on gameplay alone without Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter or The Lord Of The Rings to riff on?
The short answer is yes. Just because a game happens to be a tie-in doesn't mean it automatically has to suck.
Click here to read more...
It's cute, it's got all of the right sounds, the ring's a nice shiny golden hue, and the sight of four LEGO hobbits scuttling across the Bridge of Khazad-Dum made us chuckle. We love the Traveller's Tales LEGO titles here at Deaslpwn, and you'd better believe we'll be watching this one with hawklike intent.
One does not simply throw up a listing for LEGO Lord of the Rings and expect the internet not to notice. As you can see from the picture above, ShopTo recently threw up a listing for the as-yet unannounced title, with a slated release date of October 26th. One can assume that if this is true, there'll be PC, PS3, Wii, and maybe even touch-based goodness to come too.
If it's anything like LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones, we're betting on it being awesome. [via All Games Beta]
It's a match made in heaven...a glorious blocky version of heaven. Minecraft developer Mojang revealed yesterday that they've struck a deal with tangible building block leviathan LEGO. So what does that actually mean? Well, pretty much what any LEGO or Minecraft fan has been waiting for: Minecraft LEGO sets are happening, people!Hit the jump for more...
We actually featured this deal all the way back in May, but it’s still here as low as ever, and worth a look if you want some LEGO-based action on the PC. Because Simply Games is currently out of stock, the deal from The Game Collection will save you almost £3 over the cheapest retailer at The Hut. While other LEGO outings have been released since, and are arguably better products, the second instalment for Dr Jones has plenty to do, and more importantly makes the forth film more entertaining. With split-screen action and a level editor thrown in, it’s worth a look for a fiver. Thanks to goonertillidie @ HUKD!
The little music game that could has done it again. Zumba Fitness has topped the charts for its ninth consequtive week, dominating the summer drought with its infectious rhythms and riotous routines. Or something. Seriously, one of us will have to review it sooner or later.
Otherwise, there's little to report save a little reshuffling within the top ten. Lego Pirates is back up to second place, followed by another strong showing from Codemasters' DiRT 3 and limp movie tie-in Cars 2. Harry Potter and footy fever have also worked wonders for LEGO HP and FIFA 11. We can't wait to see how big a splash Deus Ex: Human Revolution makes when it launches towards the end of the month.
Below the top ten, the recent 3DS price cut has caused sales of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D to skyrocket - sending the revamped title to 13th place and causing it to outsell every other 3DS game by at least five to one. It's an encouraging statistic, and we hope that this Christmas will help Nintendo turn their poor fortunes around somewhat.Click here for this week's UK Top Ten >>
Platforms: Xbox 360 (reviewed) | PS3 | Wii | DS | 3DS | PSP
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Why are Lego games so good? Because they arrrrrrrrrrrgh.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist that. And couldn’t resist the latest film themed title from the Danish brick people and, more importantly, Traveller’s Tales. If you’ve ever played a Lego game before, you’ll know what to expect. If you haven’t, where the hell have you been?
They’re churning these games out now at a hell of a pace. It’s only weeks since Lego Star Wars III: Clone Wars appeared and, actually, that left me somewhat underwhelmed. Sure, there was the addition of strategy and battles – I like the Guardian’s comment that it was “like a primary school version of Command & Conquer” so will one day pass that line off as my own – but, for the most part, it felt a little laboured. Most of that though, I think, is down to my lack of knowledge about The Clone Wars. Well, it’s not so much a lack of knowledge more a “can’t be arsed”.
There are, I’m sure, people who read, devour and remember every nuance of everything George Lucas has ever imagined. I’m not one of them. Luke and Han = good guys, Darth Vader = bad guy and Luke’s dad? That I can remember. Which minister did what to which planet and which embargo forced what tribe into an alliance with which rebellion? Bugger. Off. I could get into it, I’m sure, but life keeps getting in the way.
To my mind, all the nuances of The Clone Wars just suck the joy out of the original Star Wars films. The same is probably true of Pirates of the Caribbean, as it happens. The first one was a cracker: fun, funny, exciting. The second was more of the same yet considerably less so and the third... Well, my only memory of that was the 30 minutes of buttock massage I required after to try and restore some feeling to a quite remarkably numb bum. How long was that film? Because it seemed longer. Much, much longer.The third film sucked. But does the game? Find out after the jump...
We live in the world of the sequel, the remake, the annual release, the safe bet, the lazy rehash. Occasionally a new name might emerge, a new IP (Intellectual Property) that hopes to become the next big franchise, but they're generally seen to be too risky in the world of the multi-million pound costs of developing and marketing a game.
Some sequels are essential though and 2011 will be no different with Uncharted 3, Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City already driving us nuts with the wait. Sometimes though, when we see an announcement for a sequel, our hearts sink, we question the sanity of developers/publishers and usually have a bit of a fight around the office to see which poor sod will have to review it.
So here's a look at the sequels that haven't been announced yet, but in all probability will be in the near future. Albeit with slightly more marketable titles.
Last year Io Interactive took the unusual approach of making an ugly game even uglier for the sequel and fixing almost nothing. You have to admire their work ethic of 'f**k the public, they'll buy anything, so why bother?' Handheld camera angles, super-blocky lo-res images (yay it's like YouTube said my PS3 in disgust), childish controversy and bullets that still seemed miserably slow. What's the point of well-conceived multiplayer modes when shooting a gun is such a broken experience? A tie-in movie might just work instead, as the story had a sharp pace to it and we've all enjoyed the Michael Mann-inspired moments, but in all honesty we wish this pair of old dogs had died tied to those chairs in Shanghai.Click here to read the what other unannounced games have got Brendan all worked up.
The special edition of Lego Harry Potter doesn't offer anything too exciting really (two exclusive magnets and a bonus disc containing such delicacies as behind the scenes footage and gag reels for both the game and the films) but this delightful game would make a great Christmas present for a Potter fan and opting for the posh package makes it seem that bit more special and gift-y. It's hard not to love this good natured and often hilarious little title and fans of the series may well enjoy the Lego incarnation a whole lot more than the official accompanying games. Thanks to PoppaLop at Hotukdeals!
So how can a 'for kids' MMO that doesn't descend completely into the twee be done? Is the very nature of the genre defiantly non-child? To test the theory, the game was handed over to a non-gaming member of this scribbler's household. What would she make of it? More on that later, let's go over the basics of Lego Universe first.
As with most MMOs, the plot is largely snooze-worthy, this time involving something called Imagination being the key to survival in the world of the blocks. Your job is to defeat the agents of the Maelstrom (evil) by helping the Nexus (good) by collecting imagination orbs. And, as it's an MMO, do a damn sight more besides.
One thing you'll get with LU is a lot of things to do, most interestingly in the form of mini-games and the real reason anyone wants to play a Lego game: building things with blocks. This is easily the highlight of the game and hours can be lost in your own personal zone of the universe sculpting impressive buildings and creating unique objects.
Once you've built up something you're vaguely proud of, it can be shown off to the world, once it's been approved by the censors. Ah yes, them. This is where Lego hits a really thorny issue, that of balancing the need to protect minors from improper content (what that is is a matter for future debate elsewhere) and just allowing people to play the game without being pestered constantly by the thought police. LU errs more on the latter side of the argument, sadly.
Consider this: attempting to be 'best friends' with someone means you have to identify yourself via the web to a US company. That is, handing over your passport details (or other things) to a games company. Is it just this writer and the person being befriended who find that unsettling and a completely unacceptable request for a game to make? Would you be willing to hand them over? The filters on things like the chat window and what names you can give to your pets are a bit over-protective too.
It's fine to regulate things more thoroughly in a game aimed primarily at younger people, and it's also fine to stop people just creating a huge cock and balls out of Lego – although if they want to, surely that's their right? - but it's too much to ask for your passport details just for becoming friends with someone in-game.
When you're not building things in your own space, you'll be exploring the world, which is split up into different space islands, as it were. Moving about and interacting with things is your usual WSAD affair, so it's completely familiar to anyone who's ever played an MMO before. For those who haven't, there are a few things that may well make Lego Universe a more perplexing place than it should be.
First up, the inventory is horrible and as you're constantly picking up so much stuff, it's very hard to keep track of it or manage it effectively. The map is lacking in detail and isn't very helpful, neither is it easy to keep track of where your friends are if you're trying to play together. It's amazing that, unless it's hidden deep, deep in the interface, there's no option to form a group outside of the instanced challenge zones.
Combat is also a bit muddled with a left click attack that sometimes fires in the direction your character's facing rather than at the enemy you've just targeted.
Having said all that, there's a lot that's good about LU. It's colourful and vibrant, with an absolute ton of things to do, plus the Lego licence allows them to really go to town creating play areas with completely different feels, without being locked into keeping a consistent look to the scenery.
There are also loads of mini-games, with races to beat your friends' times on and the opportunity to construct your own racing cars and duke it out on instanced tracks. Survival challenges task you with doing just that, staying alive long enough to beat your time, and the multitude of environment specific things to do, like in the music area where players can get a jam going if they all build their requisite instruments at the same time.
It's little touches like that that will keep people coming back for more, as the core gameplay is relatively formulaic. Collect 10 of this, destroy 6 of that, trudge for ages back and forth across the maps to give things to him, her and them.
This leads back to the question raised in the first paragraph. As children are the key focus demographic for LU, how will those not versed in the ways of the MMO see the game? The inventory and things like that don't exactly help matters, but there are other areas that just seem lacking in kid-friendliness, like how the pet taming mini-game can be confusing and perhaps too quick-paced for a smaller child.
The test subject mentioned earlier had enough trouble negotiating the tutorial section, let alone making it far into the game proper. How will a child fare if a grown woman gets confused when told to talk to a character who's nowhere near where the indicator says he is? It gets relatively challenging fairly early, so will smaller children last beyond the 'easy' bits?
Those are long term questions really and as with any MMO the proof of quality will lie three months down the line, at least. At the moment, vibrancy and fun are the orders of the day in Lego Universe, it's just whether it's going to be accepted by it's key target audience that's an issue. As an MMO, it's a perfectly good game, but as a kid's MMO, it's not necessarily a glowing success. There are too many fiddly elements that are fine for adults to deal with, but not small, impatient children.
The Short Version: For older kids, especially ones versed in MMOs, this will provide some good, colourful times in the long term, but the question of whether younger children will be able to 'get' it remains. If you're a parent, you might need to be spending your time helping the little 'un play it more than you might wish.
*Joshua Gomez*Click here to see if LEGO Universe is worth your time and money...
Lego Harry Potter is an excellent and exemplary entry into the world of Harry Potter and the Lego franchise and does both proud. It is incredibly success in evoking the atmosphere and charm of the novels and is packed with fun and good natured humour. Even if you have dismissed the books and films and mere kids' stuff you still might get a kick out of the game thanks to the challenge that it provides, especially when it comes to its puzzles. If you are a fan of the Lego games or of the Harry Potter universe then this is a must have and even muggles are highly advised to give it a whirl. Thanks to somental at Hotukdeals!