I thought my attention span would cause me to switch games already, but yesterday all I wanted to do was break things. I had an insanely frustrating day and only wanted to see things shatter. A beat-’em-up wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted to see things cracked down to their roots. So of course I kept playing this family-friendly game.
I’m figuring out quickly that this game is not nearly the undertaking I was imagining it to be, even considering my tendency to fully complete them. There are fifteen levels–roughly the same as past entries–but only seventy gold bricks; other games have two hundred. In case you are more well-adjusted than me and don’t know the details of these kinds of games, the gold bricks are what you receive for finishing certain challenges, i.e. reaching a certain number of studs per level, or solving certain environmental puzzles, i.e. finding five blue jays and using your collection of characters to make them fly away. If you do the math, that means that as far as I can tell, there are only gold bricks in the actual levels, And you know what they say about hindsight…
After powering through more than half the levels, I decided to go back to the different hubs and look for secrets. The game has Metroidvania elements where you can’t get everything on your first try. You need a certain character or power to access certain rewards and bonus levels. After spending an hour re-exploring Brickopolis and the Wild West and finding next to nothing, I bothered to check the game’s stats and realized why I made next to no progress.
It shouldn’t be all that surprising. All of the Lego games that take on a license are one of two extremes. Either the game has what seems to be limitless material to work with–Harry Potter, Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean–or they can create their own story for the sake of the game–Batman, Marvel Heroes. With this being a single movie tie-in, they have considerably less material to work with. I mean, all of the cutscenes are scenes cut from the movie. It is as literal as you can get.
At the same time, some levels are entirely too long. Or too short. What is it with Lego games and extremes? Usually I expect a level to have one checkpoint and take about twenty minutes if I am not trying to look under every brick. Instead I find myself either powering through three levels and finding everything I meant to on the first play-through, or I end up going to bed a half hour later than I thought because it just won’t end. In a platformer, there is usually a level of consistency. That’s what makes them good for short spurts. If you know you only have a little time to play, you can figure out how much you can finish easily. Nine levels in, and I still can’t identify any kind of formula.
Also the more I play this game, the more I realize my inner/outer child has zero access to any part of my adult brain. One of the simplest parts of the game is when Vitruvius has to enter a secret password to enter a hidden door–yes, another example of the blind man having extraordinary sight. It only uses two different keys and yet I still manage to mess it up every time. Long gone are the days of Guitar Hero accuracy. Watching me try to enter these, you’d think my brain and fingers were made of half-formed Jello .
Now optimistically, I’m hoping to have this game finished over the weekend. Realistically, I picked the worst time to start playing Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Stay tuned to find out which cartoon character wins my mildly-valuable time.