TUCSON, Ariz. — With "Lego Bricktales," developer CockStone Studios attempts to replicate the satisfaction and challenge of choosing and placing the right Lego bricks to make your visions come to life.
After a brief tutorial, you're let loose to take on increasingly difficult levels that tax your creativity and precision. The challenges are loosely tied together by a story that casts you as someone attempting to help your grandfather to fix up his decrepit amusement park.
Phil Villarreal: Ideally, a game like this would allow would-be Lego creators to design and execute their creations without the cumbersome need to store and dig through bricks. I appreciated how the game focused on the often tedious and frustrating tasks necessary to create structurally sound builds, but I found the presentation and execution a bit dry.
What were your first impressions, Sean?
Sean Newgent: I think the idea of the game is great. You are given a certain number of various Lego bricks to construct bridges, towers, stairs, and other items to traverse the game's worlds. Everything you build has to be structurally sound — meaning you spend a lot of your time figuring out how specific bricks can be used to create supports and bases for whatever the objective might be.
That joy of discovering the proper way to build something to get your character from point A to point B is short-lived, though, because you wind up immediately running into another puzzle. I found the game dull without a lot of variety (there are collectibles in the overworlds, but that's about it). Even with a sandbox mode after completing puzzles with the limited pieces, there's no real reason to go back and make a better version of the original. I'd rather build with actual Legos.
Aside from the idea behind the game and some mechanics, how did you think it played, Phil?
Phil: I found myself much more drawn to the sandbox aspect. Accessing a dizzying amount of brick types was empowering, making me feel like I had slipped behind the scenes of the "Lego Masters" competition show. The story was a little dry and tedious, and the challenges were sometimes dry and aggravating.
As you said, the sense of accomplishment in plugging through and conquering a challenge was immensely satisfying.
That said, playing through the game made me prefer the mindless hyperspeed of constructing Lego creations by simply tapping the same button repeatedly. Maybe a more streamlined auto build function — one that you could tinker with afterward if the build didn't meet your needs — would have made things more fun.
The need to rotate the camera, micro-adjust the placement of my brick outlines, and place them incorrectly got on my nerves.
I see this game as something for Lego addicts with limited space to live out their brick-built dreams and be plagued by their nightmares.
Final thoughts, Sean?
Sean: I wholeheartedly agree that even where I invested in the story or engaged by the brick-building — I found the controls and gameplay frustrating. Perhaps this wasn't built specifically for a console audience and had easier 360-degree motion in the PC version. But placing a brick underneath a hovering object or within an intricate construction is difficult and makes the already difficult puzzles even more difficult. The game looks fine, definitely nailing the Lego brand and the puzzles feel like you're playing with Legos. But otherwise, nothing about this game stood out to me or grabbed me. I'm sure there is a lot to love for a puzzle game fan or just a Lego fan. But I found it bland, repetitive and lacking in any compelling reason to keep me coming back for more.
If you need a gaming Lego fix, just play "The Skywalker Saga."
The publisher provided codes. Phil played on Xbox Series X. Sean played on PS5.
Past game reviews by Sean and Phil:
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Diablo II Resurrected
NEO: The World Ends with You
Rainbow Six: Extraction
King of Fighters XV
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
Capcom Fighting Collection
Capcom Arcade: 2nd Stadium
Cult of the Lamb
TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection