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Game review: Lego Builder’s Journey (PC)
Fri, 2nd Jul 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Originally an exclusive Apple Arcade title, Lego Builder's Journey, a Lego brick-based puzzle game, is now available for the Nintendo Switch and Windows PC. We've taken a look at the PC version of the game, which makes use of Nvidia's RTX-exclusive ray-tracing, for extra-realistic visuals.

Lego Builder's Journey is a rather surreal game that follows an adult and child that get separated. To reunite with one another they must traverse peculiar Lego dioramas.
It's not hard to see why the developers have tapped Nvidia's RTX technology to showcase the use of ray-tracing. The subtle reflections and scattering of light bring the scenes to life, looking like actual interactive Lego photographs. The jaw-dropping visuals raise the bar even higher in the scenes illuminated by a solitary light brick, shadows flickering across the tiny brick landscape.    

As well as looking absolutely beautiful, the levels have been intricately designed. It's a shame that the camera is only limited to a few degrees of movement as I'd have loved to pan around and examine the levels closely. As I mentioned, the RTX ray-tracing makes the game look photo-real, like you are looking at actual Lego pieces.

The gameplay is very simple. Using the moveable Lego bricks made available in each level, players must make a path for the characters to cross the diorama. The character can only jump small distances from one special yellow tile to another. For some levels, this can be easily achieved by constructing makeshift pathways and leap-frogging across. Other levels require careful observation of the interesting way that the bricks interact with the meticulously designed environments.

Using one button on a mouse or controller, players can select and pick up the available Lego pieces. A quick tap of the button rotates the piece holding the button clicks it into place. Using the right mouse button (or the right thumbstick) allows limited control of the camera to help line up the pieces.

The developer has done an amazing job of using Lego pieces to create ingenious puzzles that are surprising and delightful. The puzzles are, for the most part, not very difficult. The game carefully introduces new mechanics to players via crafty repetition before leaving them to figure things out for themselves. The game doesn't set out to stump players, instead, it does its best to encourage players to take their time and come up with creative solutions.  

Many of the levels are animated with transparent Lego-block water and bubbling Lego-Block mud. Lego pieces flow along the water and structures can sink into the mud. For part of the journey, the child is helped by a little robot who can create blocks for you. Some levels feature contraptions that alter and react to Lego blocks when positioned in a certain way. Some levels even have players building vehicles that are likely to put a smile on your face when they burst into life.

The game is not particularly long. I counted about 65 levels that I completed in just under 3 hours, without rushing. It is a game, though, that you may find yourself going through again.

It's rather refreshing to play a game so charming and relaxing. Lego Builder's Journey offers players a moderate but fun challenge with a simple, yet poignant story about an adult and child trying to reunite with each other across a fantastic Lego world.

Verdict: 9/10