LEGO, TT Games and Warner Bros. Games have released their answer to Minecraft, LEGO Worlds, as part of Steam’s Early Access programme.
Steam Early Access allows PC owners to play early versions of games as they are being developed, for a discounted cost, with a free upgrade to a digital full retail version when the game is released.
With LEGO Worlds, even in this early version of the game, you can feel the magic. It only took me a few minutes playing the game to realise that Warner Bros. Games had a potential Minecraft beater on their hands.
Like Minecraft, LEGO Worlds starts with a randomly generated land, but this time created using Lego blocks. Your character, a little LEGO Minifigure, skydives down onto the landscape gliding to a stop using an umbrella, Mary Poppins-style. The same mechanic can be triggered at any time in the game, if you get stuck- something that there’s always a risk of when playing these un-finished early-access games.
Each randomly-generated landscape is unique and infinite in size, new areas being generated on-the-fly as you explore. These lands include vast oceans, volcanos (complete with deadly molten lava) and a variety of different ecosystems. Lush forests give way to ash-strewn wastelands. Sandy deserts change to frozen mountains. Exotic landscapes feature huge plants and mushrooms, whilst others are adorned with giant sugary treats and lollies. I’ve sure that there are many others that I’ve just not discovered yet.
As well as what must be some of the most diverse landscapes in gaming history, there’s a huge selection of flora and fauna also populating LEGO Worlds. Mountable LEGO horses, bears and camels roam free, and variety of friendly (and not so friendly) LEGO Minifigures can be found wandering about. Watch out for the skeletons, who will attack on sight.
As with the popular movie-themed LEGO games, the player’s LEGO character can run, jump and climb across the landscape. Coins can be collected by hitting objects scattered around the land. These coins can be used to unlock usable versions of objects that have been discovered.
Scattered about the world are a variety of different vehicles including aeroplanes, helicopters, cars, motorbikes and even lawn mowers. There’s even a full-on tunnelling machine for boring out hillsides.
At the moment the game is little more than a sandbox for players to explore and build in, somewhat similar to Minecraft’s Creative mode. There’s no need to gather resources to manufacture LEGO pieces, it’s all there for you. This lack of structure may put off some players, but it does offer the freedom to create your own world without annoying restrictions.
Players can select any coloured block and build Lego creations just as you would in real-life. The game’s editing tools are as user-friendly as they can be, but the actual task of building with individual LEGO bricks is not that easy. You’d need to be extremely patient to create a LEGO masterpiece brick-by-brick; but you know that people will, and they will be amazing.
The game has quite a few pre-build structures like castles, towers and houses to choose from. You just choose the item and your little character squirts the LEGO pieces out to form the building or object. You then use the roller to build a road, pop a few of the pre-build houses down and you’ve got your own little town.
Minecraft fans that enjoy serious earthworks are going to be in their element with the landscaping tools in LEGO Worlds. There’s a full suite of tools for adding and removing terrain with resizable brushes that scale up to the size of a house. By raising/lowering, digging, depositing smoothing and flattening the bricks that make up the landscape you can mold the landscape to your exact requirements.
LEGO Worlds looks fantastic, almost as if you are playing with real LEGO. All the textures, the shine and even the little “LEGO” logo on each block are spot-on perfect. The game also has a full day/night cycle that really shows off the game’s lighting and level of graphical realism.
Imagine the world’s biggest LEGO set and that is exactly what you’ve got with LEGO Worlds. The developers have faithfully recreated the creative freedom that have made LEGO one of the world’s most successful toys.
Whilst the game’s current lack of structure may put off players that need to be set challenges in order to enjoy themselves, creative types are going to have an absolute field day with LEGO Worlds. I’m looking forward to flying my plane/helicopter and driving my tank/car/truck across a meticulously recreated LEGO city in the very near future.
This game is going to be huge, and I thoroughly recommend that PC LEGO fans check out LEGO Worlds on Steam Early Access right now.