LEGO The Hobbit (360, Wii U, 3DS, PS3, PS4, Vita, Xbox One)

HOBBIT_BOXBased on the movie and book, LEGO The Hobbit takes you on an adventure in Middle Earth. Play as Gandalf the Wizard as well as a host of dwarves, Hobbits, and other characters as they tromp all over Middle Earth looking for treasure and face off against the fearsome Smaug the dragon! LEGO The Hobbit is available for all current game systems, but reviewed on 360 here.

At heart, it plays like any other LEGO video game. Sock enemies, bash blocks and build new LEGO structures, use teamwork, and solve puzzles. Collect LEGO studs to buy new characters to use in Free Play, and find hidden Mithril LEGO bricks to unlock cheats and other goodies. Just like the others, a second player can join in and hop out at any time for some co-op fun. You can ‘buddy-up’ with another player for team attacks, too!

Similar to other more recent LEGO titles, you reach levels via a hub world which encompasses all the areas in the game and lets you explore the vast land of Middle Earth to find all sorts of secrets. This title seems to have a little more emphasis on mini-games, too, similar to the LEGO Movie Videogame. There are also a bit more adventure elements, too. As you break blocks, you can collect materials that you use to build and craft new items or trade with others. You can also open up a ring menu to switch characters, use magic, check your inventory, and switch weapons. Those of you wishing for a LEGO Zelda, this is the closest thing you’ll probably get to it.

LEGO titles are usually ridden with game bugs, which is my main problem with these kinds of games. But I haven’t encountered any of these glitches yet in this one, knock on wood. Overall, LEGO The Hobbit is fun for anyone who likes LEGO games, and this one has some more adventure elements to it, too. However, it’s best enjoyed by people who have seen the movies or read the books.


Kid Factor

LEGO The Hobbit is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief. You can punch, slash, and zap bad guys, but they just fall down or go to pieces when defeated. They make it perfectly clear that everything is made out of LEGOs, so violence isn’t really that bad. If you’re OK with your kids watching the movie, they’ll be fine with the game, too. I’d be OK letting any kid play any of the LEGO games, personally. If you are defeated, you just appear right back where you were with a minimal loss of studs, so it’s not too frustrating. Even though the game has tons of spoken voice, reading skill is still helpful for the menus and tips. If a younger player does need assistance, another can join in at any time. Which is always recommended, as LEGO games are more fun with a friend anyway.

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