The LEGO video game series stretches all the way back to 2005, and has maintained impressive momentum throughout its installments. Hopping from one franchise to another, the longevity of the series has relied on accessibility and consistency. The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group continues this sturdy track record with a crisp and addictive world.
Toggling between up to seven unique characters, the environments demand particular tasks to be completed with specific tools. The special abilities of the various characters are utilized in a very balanced design. Sometimes Jay’s nun chucks need to wrap around a crank, or Zane’s bow needs to launch an arrow at a hanging target. Not only does the weaponry work as a key system, but so does the elemental powers of the crew you play as. Nya’s water conjuring fills empty tanks, and Kai’s fire melts down high rise structures.
The combat system is taught to you in a charming dojo at the beginning of the story. With a streamlined set of moves (only four), you go from a crawl to a sprint in no time. The fighting is playful and incredibly forgiving with a noticeable aim assist. In the midst of multiple combatant scuffles, the legibility of movement drops significantly. Like a cartoonish cloud with protruding arms and legs, fights require little to no finesse, but merely ferocious button mashing. Each character has a signature finishing move that slows time to display a quirky burst of personality.
The ninja team has an entertaining banter almost constantly, and gives the game a nice coating of color. Puns and dry humor fly, a staple of the series, complete with self-aware jabs at the world design. Scenes from The LEGO Ninjago Movie are interlaced throughout the game. The story does not take itself seriously, which is vital within the context the movie narrative that frames the levels. Serving as high budget cut scenes; these clips unfortunately contradict the game’s story on multiple occasions.
The game attempts to inventively fill the narrative gaps of the feature film, but only accentuates the film’s poor writing. A jumbled collection of levels feel like incompatible puzzle pieces being jammed together. Yet what the story lacks in cohesion, it makes up for in pace. Jetting across easy-to-conquer obstacles in close succession feels invigorating. The mechanics of the game are simple and effective. You destroy then you build. You wall run, then you swing. Sure these tasks grow tiresome in the latter half of the story, but initially they are rather spiffy to pull off.
The main story of the game breezes by, but the partially open world design unlocks a vast network of environments to explore and scavenge. The majority of collectables reside outside of the main storyline, and in order to unlock them you must retrace your steps in familiar levels with reduced enemies. This completionist’s journey is not as arduous as it may sound, and actually provides an interesting angle to the level design. Some of the side missions are laughable however, for example the races are just parkour runs that you have already completed.
Character customization returns with a plethora of interchanging items. There are no boundaries to the extremes that you can mashup your characters. Scattered throughout the world, items are designed to be dug for, and collectibles sometime come at a price. Yet in reality, the game has no price tags, because there are no consequences whatsoever. No hard resets or deaths, you merely go until the task ahead of you is done. No progress is lost from dying, so heath is reduced to just a minor convenience. You can complete the game without executing a single dodge, which is unfortunate because playing evasively would be rather satisfying if it was incentivized.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game offers a slick imagining of the Ninjago world, but adds little to its personality. This shortcoming lies in the disjointed narrative thread that is handcuffed to a supercut of the film it accompanies. The blistering pace of the gameplay gives an unexpected satisfaction from a repetitive series of mechanics. The game opens up nicely with an original segmented open-world design. Almost every inch of the map deserves to be scoured, and the utilizing of space is superb. The element of shuffling between members of team breeds some frustration, but only at certain hectic junctures. A destructive blaze through city and forest, The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game packs a clattering punch.
Check Out The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game Trailer:
The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game is now available for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
In addition, here is the movie review.