LEGO Bricktales


Finally I can build something out of LEGO and don't need to worry about treading on loose bricks...


LEGO Bricktales starts you off by introducing you to your Grandpa and his robot Rusty. Gramps is an engineer & inventor, and his workshop and machines are run down and need fixing, as does his dilapidated amusement park, which is in danger of being closed down. With tips from him and Rusty you soon learn all the basic techniques you'll need to move and manipulate the various bricks into place to repair or build the required structures. As you help Grandpa you'll unlock new areas, and it soon becomes apparent that Legoland is inhabited by lazy and/or incompetent people who constantly ask or require you to perform tasks for them.

Gameplay-wise there are handy modifiers in the controls to give the ability to duplicate bricks and snap them vertically or horizontally into position. As the story progresses you'll have some lightweight RPG-like interactions with NPCs in various locations (Jungle, Desert, Medieval, City & Caribbean), and all the dialogue is done with speech bubble text. Some characters will need rescuing, some need help constructing or rebuilding something–the game is all about exploring, completing building or search & carry tasks to progress.

The game looks and sounds fabulous and other than the lack of control over the camera, which results in some semi-hidden objects and passages–which is no doubt intentional–plays solidly. The only problems I'd point out are that objectives are incredibly obscure ("Search the Jungle" for instance) and the maps, while not very large, are complex and interlinked via a flick-screen process that loses you any sense of direction you may have had, and the isometric view and fixed camera doesn't help.

LEGO wouldn't be LEGO without a pirate ship, would it?

The building sections are where the game both excels and shoots itself in the arse. Tasked with building various objects (which could be anything from a bridge to a helicopter) you're given a basic area which you must not build outside, and anchor points to which your construction must be attached. A basic set of bricks is supplied for the task, and if you complete a load-bearing construction successfully, it can then be tested by a robot to see if it's sturdy enough. Complete a successful build and you can enter 'Sandbox' mode and use any of the bricks you've unlocked to make a fancier version. I found the controls a tad too sensitive when building, and although you can actually control the camera in build mode, it's still easy to place a brick in the wrong place. A nice touch is that Left & Right on the D-pad give you a quick way of undoing or rebuilding your construction.

So… about all the exploring. Travelling back and forth between the 5 worlds can get tiresome and you're going to need to do that if you want to see all of Bricktales' secrets. As I mentioned previously the maps are not large but are preposterously complex, which frequently results in you being able to see an object or location you want to get to, yet leaving you utterly clueless how to get there (teleports, a whip or a hoverboard are usually the answer.) 

The maps vary and are always complex and beautiful to look at.

Although it's recommended for ages 12+, the game has no hint system and some of the puzzles are a bit obscure, so I'm really not sure who it's aimed at. I'm not convinced many adolescents have the attention span to enjoy a game with this much exploring, puzzling and to-and-froing, which is sometimes up there with the Tomb Raiders of this world. One thing's for sure, being observant and having a good memory will definitely help if you hope to complete LEGO Bricktales.

Thanks to Clockstone, Thunderful Games and Plan Of Attack for the review code.