LEGO Builder (PS5) Journey review

Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t blame you for hearing the “mobile game” and immediately fleeing to the nearest forest, but this is a mobile game turned console title that is well worth your time. A puzzle game that makes the most of everyone’s favorite plastic bricks, LEGO Builder’s Journey is a puzzle game with a lot of flair.

Visually, the game is amazing, presenting these diverse profiles of plastic in the best possible light. Literally. The lighting in the game is surprisingly great, given the simplistic nature of the visual presentation. Shadows are subtle, and the tiny dioramas that make up each map react to changes in light as you move the pieces around. A clip in story mode where you navigate dark environments with only occasional pulses of light uses this in particular.

The puzzles themselves are generally clever, although more rigorous in their solutions than you might expect from something with limitless creativity from LEGO. You are tasked with moving a character from one end of the diorama to another by placing pieces to form paths for them. Placing them greets you with a satisfying click, although getting the piece to hover exactly where you want it to be at times will be a challenge.

Each part of the game has its own gimmick. One part calls for smooth pieces to function as a skateboard track, while another part requires creating patterns on an industrial press. This flexibility ensures that the puzzles never get old despite their solidity, although the solutions become more flexible as you get closer to the end. However, with the entire experience clocking in at barely 90 minutes, this freedom doesn’t last long.

Apart from the puzzle mode, there is a creative mode, where you can build your own dioramas. Choosing from eight templates, you can use a pre-selected set of bricks to build your liking and then go into picture mode to show off your handiwork. Much like the story mode, it’s not the most powerful of the systems, but it does what it plans to do well enough.

In the end, the biggest obstacle to the game may be its price. $19.99 for this experience sounds like a lot, even if everything that’s offered is totally fun. The story mode is nice, but it’s not necessarily worth replaying. Creative mode is fun to fiddle with once or twice, but there isn’t enough to lure you back into playing it over and over again.

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