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Game Review

If you had access to all the LEGO blocks in the world and a way to move them around in massive quantities, what would you do?

If your answer to that question is, "Move them out of the way so I can get to something interesting," well you needn't read any further. This isn't the game review for you.

If, on the other hand, the prospect of infinite piles of colored, interlocking bricks instantly inspires a gazillion ideas involving towers to the moon and giant plastic spaceports, then the LEGO Worlds game might be something you'll want to know about.

So step right this way, please.

Minecraft with Plastic Blocks

As we all know, the pixelated building epic Minecraft showed up six years ago and pretty much took the gaming world by storm. In it, an avatar is plopped down in a big-ol' world full of hills, trees and mountains that can all be broken down into their basic bits and then rebuilt in whatever way the player deems necessary, piece by piece.

LEGO Worlds is effectively a Minecraft game on a Cocoa Puffs sugar high—with some quests and a dash of that classic LEGO game humor tossed in for fun.

As the game begins, you find that you're a little LEGO astronaut flying through space in a cool little LEGO spaceship that gets hit by a meteor and crash-lands on a tiny LEGO planet. From there, the game takes you through its tutorial steps and shows you how its build-and-explore paradigm works.

Essentially, it plays out like this: Instead of being set free in one massive world, you're offered, literally, an unlimited number of little ones to explore that the game procedurally generates. You can wander through these worlds and reshape them as you please, and you never quite know what might pop up next. It's somewhat like last year's No Man's Sky game, only with everything being constructed of digital polystyrene studs and blocks.

Tool Time, LEGO-Style

Another feature of this building title is that you don't have to work as slowly as you do in a Minecraft environment. LEGO Worlds gives you a selection of cool tools that help kick the building and breaking-down processes up a notch, speed-wise.

You start with the Discovery tool. Point it at an object, character or critter, and you can make a copy and slip it into your library of possible reproductions. So, even though you start out as an astronaut, you can discover and play as a wide variety of LEGO avatars, from cavemen and cowboys to troll warriors and pirate kings. And you can duplicate plants and animals for your future projects, too.

Next, you gain access to a Scenery tool that lets you raise or lower massive sections of terrain in a single zap. Don't like that volcano obstructing the view? Well, just level it out and build some condos. Meanwhile, the Copy and Paint tool lets you, well, copy and paint. And the Build tool lets you create any bit-by-bit design your little brick-snapping heart can dream up. (There are also some instruction kits that give you templates for readymade buildings and constructs.)

Along with these major gadgets, there are also smaller tools you can find in a treasure chest, discover along the way or buy from a local merchant. I'm talking useful stuff like pneumatic hammers, grappling hooks and lanterns, which can help you dig out underground caverns and stay down in that sunless world as long as you've a mind to.

Zombies, Dinosaurs and Donuts, Oh My!

Then there are the quests. The new planets you visit give you the opportunity to run errands for local residents who pay in golden bricks. Those bricks do everything from repairing your spaceship to unlocking bigger and better worlds to giving you access to the tools you can't normally find just lying around. Oh, and the duties you perform can involve anything from helping save a caveman's mate to eliminating a gaggle of zombies for a local farmer.

Now, I'm not saying that those quests are exactly thrilling. After finding donuts for construction workers or collecting wild critters for a female animal lover, things can start feel a bit repetitive. But for younger players, they're silly and relatively harmless repetitive activities. Yep, even the goblin, zombie, werewolf and dinosaur missions.

Monsters, they may be, but they're cute plastic beasties and anything but creepy. There are weapons to use—ranging from swords and bombs, to revolvers and rifles—but there's no blood or mess. Characters simply break into their blocky basics when their health meter is depleted.

Of course, the real draw here is in using your imagination to build detailed, expansive and potentially impressive … stuff. That's what physical LEGO blocks have always been about. And, really, nothing's changed with the brand's latest digital iteration. LEGO Worlds simply gives you an enormously wide-open and creative playspace to build in … and practically every LEGO bit ever made to do it with.

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Episode Reviews

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