There are few ways to spend a better day than building LEGO. The feeling of pieces snapping together like a pile of plastic bricks into a grand creation is immensely satisfying in a way that digital representations can’t always replicate. While most have found success as silly action platformers with sanctioned tie-ins, LEGO Bricktales goes in a completely different direction. It ditches pop culture characters and co-op combat for an original story with building-based puzzles. In real life he’s not exactly like building LEGO, but it gets pretty close, even when fighting cameras and obscure mission objectives.
In LEGO Bricktales, you’re a brick man tasked with helping your eccentric grandfather power up the theme park where he supposedly lives before it shuts down for good. Remember Doc Brown. But instead of a powered-up DeLorean, Grandpa has built a portal to transport you to faraway lands. Your Mission: Help the locals in several biomes and collect Happiness Crystals that can be used to power theme park attractions. Help an archaeologist explore a jungle temple, find a missing pirate ship, and cure a kingdom full of poisoned peasants as you try to restore Grandpa’s park to its former glory. is all a day’s work.
LEGO Bricktales Gameplay Screenshots
Each level in LEGO Bricktales is designed to look like a detailed diorama when zoomed out, reminiscent of Captain Toad’s stages in Super Mario 3D World. Unlike many of the most popular LEGO games, there is no platforming or combat here. Instead, LEGO Bricktales combine exploration and building puzzles for a more grounded approach. I mean, it’s as grounded as jumping into a portal and spawning in ancient Egypt or the Middle Ages to develop special abilities like power generation.
These puzzles usually require building something with Lego to progress, such as stairs, observatories, or amusement park attractions. The developer’s ClockStone is best known for his Bridge Constructor series, so it’s not entirely surprising that many of the LEGO Bricktales puzzles also involve characters building bridges across chasms. There is none. We do this block by block, just like with his physical LEGO set.
Just like in real life, making these pieces can be wonderfully zen. Each of these puzzles has a limited number of bricks of various shapes and certain parameters that must be met, such as height and width restrictions. Physics and common sense apply here, so bridges need to be reinforced and sturdy, paths need to be clear, and anything floating in the air needs to be properly balanced. Before I finish building it, I need to do a test run to make sure it won’t fall apart too quickly under the weight of the subject (who happens to be an adorable robot).
These segments are LEGO Bricktales’ greatest strength, but they can also be its greatest weakness. Assembling challenging structures and seeing them in the world and using them as intended can be incredibly rewarding, but getting to the finish line can be more frustrating than fun. It’s not always clear why it’s not working properly. At one point, I saw him spend over an hour building and rebuilding a fire escape, only to see the stairs fall apart and the test robot repeatedly plummet to the ground. He may be missing one piece needed for reinforcement, or the whole structure may be unsound. It would be easier to understand if the camera had good operability, but I felt like I was fighting for the viewing angle throughout the entire process.
Cameras are my biggest annoyance, both during LEGO Bricktales building segments and exploration. In the latter case, you cannot control and move the camera at the same time. To zoom out to get a bird’s eye view of the area, the action must be completely paused. This can make searching for hidden nooks and crannies feel like a chore. This isn’t ideal when LEGO Bricktales encourages you to go off the beaten path and find collectibles. Let alone figuring out the cause properly, it can still be difficult to arrange the pieces the way you like them.
Once you’ve completed the building puzzle, you can go back and rebuild in sandbox mode. This allows the rules to be a bit looser and allows for additional pieces of different colors and styles, but there is no real motivation for doing this. I would have liked to have seen more of the creativity and weirdness displayed for the first time in these challenges rather than repeating them over and over again. Sometimes it’s not out of place to find a raft with brown pieces representing slabs of wood. It is much more effective to have a
That said, it’s easy to put these annoyances aside and enjoy your adventure. You can find treasure. Similar to his other LEGO games in encouraging exploration, the collectible creatures (ladybugs, hermit crabs, rabbits, etc.) motivate enough to re-read familiar lands. Even if you’re not a completionist, it will take you about 12 to 15 hours to complete the story. Jumping back and forth between the sofas made the adventure even more fun.