Ninja-GO! TT Games is back to bring us another movie adapted in their signature LEGO video game style. To be fair, this adaption is the LEGO Ninjago Movie so they’ve already got the LEGO thing down pat. The LEGO Ninjago Movie follows masterbuilder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, on his adventures, accompanied by his friends and led by Master Wu, to defeat the evil Lord Garmadon who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad, whoops!
The first thing that hits your face when you boot up the game (wow I’m old) is the old TT Games splash screen, but wait, it’s not the same old screen. They’ve completely redone it to look like the beginning to those old Kung-fu movies, such as Enter The Dragon, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It really gives the feeling of watching (or in this case playing) some classic Hong Kong cinema and as a cinephile myself, I definitely appreciated this a lot. This could have gone badly, or looked cheesy, but they did a great job with it (even added a bit of film burn/old film effect) I love it!
The combat is insane. Literally. LEGO Ninjago definitely set’s itself aside from the other LEGO games with it’s own unique combat style not really found in any other LEGO game. The combat is choreographed in such a way where you just get lost in the action and forget you’re playing a LEGO game (until the enemy blows up into LEGO pieces of course). There’s a move where you can knock an enemy into the air and juggle them 10+ times until you smack them back down to the ground ultimately defeating them. Each LEGO game tries to add something new to the formula and LEGO Ninjago’s contribution is definitely it’s combat system. So fun.
One of, if not THE, coolest things the LEGO games do is their detailing of the individual bricks. If you’ve ever built or played with LEGO you’ve probably noticed that not every LEGO brick is perfect. Many have an extra little bit of flash, or maybe some scarring in the plastic. Sometimes there’s tiny little seamlines. These LEGO games have perfectly recreated those small, minute details into their digital LEGO creations, an addition they definitely did not have to do, but the fact that they did just means so much more. The devs behind these games are obviously so passionate about putting out a good game, that they include such painstakingly small details.
One thing you can always rely on TT Games to include in their LEGO games is humor, and LEGO Ninjago is no exception. Right off the bat, in the tutorial level you’re pitted against and evil Kung-fu chicken who uses training dummies to fight you. Later on in the game (slight spoilers as it’s a cutscene taken from the movie), Lord Garmadon uses a laser pointer to make a real life, live action cat destroy a bunch of Lloyd’s teams mechs and stuff. Some funny nods and winks in-game are re-occurring throughout the game, some witty back and forth banter.
There’s not really much I can fault this game for. It has all those typical LEGO game glitches, but I noticed a couple bad ones in LEGO Ninjago. For instance, I went to build something to progress in the game but nothing happened. I held down the build button, and the progress circle would open and rotate but it’d just keep going around and around with nothing actually being built. After a bit of stopping and starting again it did fix itself, but issues like this are a little annoying when you’re after a seamless non-stop action LEGO experience.
As we saw with the LEGO Movie videogame, having everything in the environment built out of LEGO can get super nauseating. Thankfully this time around they opted out for total LEGO-ism, and have set their LEGO scenes against more realistic backdrops, which worked well….for the most part. Some parts of the game suffered from this though, for example one scene while flying around some rocks and water, everything got kind of cluttered and started blending into each other to the point where I just started blindly firing just to get past the certain stage. Some scenes felt like they had too much realism stuffed in there along with the LEGO structures.
LEGO Ninjago The VideoGame is another smash hit from TT Games. The game is a lot of fun, and keeps in line with the LEGO game fashion while still adding new elements that add even more depth to the gameplay. It’s funny, written well, and just looks great. The added definition in the LEGO pieces themselves showing imperfections is incredible. Sure it suffers from some of the same old LEGO game glitches and bugs, and even some odd new ones, they’re usually not bad enough to affect the game play. It really shows that Travellers Tales truly cares about their games, because a lot of love and time was put into this game that could have easily just been a cash grab tie-in to the movie. The LEGO Ninjago Video Game is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.