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Game Review

Store shelves and family room TV tables are already piled high with LEGO versions of lightsaber-swinging Jedi, a cave-spelunking archeologist named Jones, power-ring toting Hobbits, silly pirates, kid-magicians and various DC and Marvel superheroes. But when a derring-do dino franchise roars for you to make room … well, you make room!

LEGO Jurassic World plasticizes all four Jurassic filmsJurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III and the recently released monster smash Jurassic World—giving gamers the chance to play through each of the cinematic storylines separately. And like all the many LEGO games before it, the key to making it through this one's movie-mirroring conundrums is to explore, break things apart and create something new.

A Job Fit for Man or Beast

Of course, getting those bust-and-build tasks done also means switching back and forth between scores of playable characters and relying on their unique movie-based skill sets. The raptor-whisperer, Owen Grady (of Jurassic World), for instance, can use his dino-knowledge to sneak past the most carefully watching predator. And the straight-laced Claire Dearing can lean on her park management moxie (and a passcard) to access important areas and panels.

Jumping back to the original flick for a couple more examples, Dr. Alan Grant can assemble bits of fossils (so old they've turned to plastic!) into useful structures, while his sidekick Dr. Ellie Sattler knows how to grow LEGO plants and literally dive into a mountain of dino dung to find important clues. (It's only gross if you think too hard about it. The blocky construction of everything masks much of the foul odor here.)

And there are more than just human roles to switch between in these polyethylene-jungle playgrounds. After discovering chunks of amber in the various levels, players can also stomp around in the scaly loafers of up to 20 different dinosaurs. That lets you take the controls of, say, a bone-domed Pachycephalosaurus while it shatters cracked things with a good noggin smack, or a venom-spitting Dilophosaurus that can ptooie its way past key obstacles, or even a Velociraptor—clever beasts that they are—to make it pounce on foes, track scents, and even navigate tricky door handles and such.

Silly Blockosaurus, Plastic Battles Are for Kids

Besides all that single-player or multiplayer tag-team scrambling and puzzle-solving, though, there's also a certain LEGO game charm to make note of here. As you might expect, LEGO Jurassic World comes packing more than enough character silliness to transform even the scariest movie scene into something far less tense and much more giggle-worthy.

For example, remember that sequence in the first movie where the enraged T. rex attacks the overturned SUV, terrorizing the vehicle's kid-passengers and then gobbling up a lawyer who's hiding in a nearby bathroom? Well the plastic Rexy still does a lot of tire chewing here, but in this case he's distracted by Dr. Grant's quickly built dino chew-bone dispenser. And when he grabs that potty-bound attorney, the grinning guy proceeds to scrub the big beastie's teeth with a toilet brush.

No blood. No muss. No terror. And four out of five dino dentists approve of the result!

In the rare case where some LEGO guy or gal might actually appear to be gobbled up whole, if you wait long enough you'll spot them alive and well in some comical follow-up.

Even in the midst of the game's human-vs.-dino duels, it becomes clear that the LEGO play is never really about all that foul-language-and-trigger-pulling-rage so common in other action-and-mayhem titles. Here, the worst exclamation is "heck." And if a hero does take too many hits from, say, a knee-high Compsognathus, he merely breaks into his building block basics and then reconstitutes for another try. In the heat of a chase scene, the action tends to revolve around a roaring dinosaur patiently pacing himself while your characters find the right combination of blocks and the best mechanical solution for the situation at hand.

This One You Can Finally See?

By the time you reach the last plastic roar 'n' rampage, then, you can't help but recognize that the LEGO game gang has worked its magic again, delivering one more fun building-block game of supersilliness and pain-free puzzles. Not to point any fingers or take the gaming side of things, but you could say that LEGO has translated yet another set of action-adventure movie spectacles into the truly family-friendly amusements they should have been from the beginning—the kind of thing that Hollywood rarely seems to manage.

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Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC, 3DS


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment


June 12, 2015

On Video

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Bob Hoose

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