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Lego Builder's Journey [PC/Switch]


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Described as an "atmospheric geometric puzzle game." I'd never even heard of this but caught Lego's Twitter feed tweeting about it this afternoon. Apparently it started out on mobile about a year ago.

 

The ray traced version looks stunningly lifelike (in the plastic bricks sense), much like the Lego movie animation. I wonder if this will make it to the new generation of consoles. It looks like a lovely relaxing experience.

 

 

PC Gamer review:

 

 

Quote

Each of the dioramas that make up Lego Builder's Journey is shaped by a single goal. On one side of each level is a stack of pieces denoting a child, who must cross the minute world in front of them to reunite with their parent on the other side. There is, however, no prescribed solution to any puzzle. In true Lego style, you're free to use the handful of blocks provided in any way you see fit, as long as you can complete your goal. Establishing a route from A to B is often an iterative process, but it's one with no fail states or wrong answers. As long as it does what you want it to do, your solution doesn't need to be elegant or efficient. If the pieces fit together, there'll be some kind of way forward.

 

As those pieces come together, they handle in a manner almost as satisfying as the real thing. Simplistic controls let you snap blocks into place. Piles of bricks rattle as you comb through them looking for exactly the right one, and flit seamlessly through different positions as you rotate them into place. It's an amazingly tactile experience, especially when you consider the level of detail on offer in each diorama, all of which are created entirely from pieces you might find in a set you've picked off the toy store shelf. Characters move by hopping from block to block, as they might at the hands of a real person, with the attention paid to every brick, shadow, and ray of light only building that realism further.

 

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Across the 35 levels that made up the original mobile version of Lego Builder's Journey, both narrative and puzzles gently twist and turn, picking up new ideas and dropping them again, all within the format of the brick-based dioramas. Throughout the earlier stages, the game's sandbox style persists, with the few levels in which there's a more defined solution often trying to highlight a specific theme. The guiding hand through the game's different ideas is subtle, which when coupled with camera controls that limit your ability to take in a diorama from all sides can lead to the occasional issue with transparency. The difficulty curve remains steady throughout, often relying on the complexity of the bricks you use rather than the puzzles themselves when it ramps up. When the original finale does arrive, it's an excellent capstone to story, theme, and design.

 

Quote

Unfortunately, the levels that come after maintain very little sense of that gentle progression. In a series of levels added for the PC version, a significant new approach is introduced. Rather than use complete bricks, these puzzles allow you to stitch together fragments or duplicate the blocks you've already made, adding an unwelcoming extra element of experimentation. Newly-implemented fail states are punishing and monotonous—in one instance a three-strikes approach wipes your progress and only takes you back to the diorama once you've completed a repetitive task. The increased complexity aligns with a far less transparent approach and a far less defined building system. The charm remains—the levels inspired by the imaginative, colourful dioramas from earlier on—and the dioramas themselves are as pretty and detailed as any of their predecessors, but it's hard to think of these less enjoyable levels as anything but unnecessary padding in an otherwise expertly-crafted game.

 

Within the beautiful environments and open-ended approach to puzzle solving, Lego Builder's Journey is perhaps the most authentic, earnest Lego game there's ever been, capturing every joyful aspect of its source material. From the sense of freedom that a pile of bricks offers right down to the individual bricks between your fingers, Lego Builder's Journey manages to recreate not just what Lego is, but what it can be. The attempt to build on its finely sculpted first half is unfortunately clumsy, sacrificing much of the gentle, open-ended approach that makes it so successful, but the way in which it captures with such care and attention something so beloved through its physicality and tactility, even in this virtual format, makes this a very special game.

 

 

https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/lego-builders-journey-review/

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This is available on Apple Arcade, believe it or not. I played it a while ago. It's a charming game that maybe takes an couple hours to complete at most. It worked great with touch controls, so I imagine using a mouse would also be a great input device. I'm not so sure how well it translates to a controller though...

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