LEGO Builder’s Journey (Switch, PC, Apple Arcade)

I have been fortunate enough to review nearly every LEGO game that has been released in the past decade or so (maybe longer).  It’s been a true honor and it’s great because the LEGO games are fun and perfect for both kids and adults to play together!  But there’s only one problem.  Pretty much every LEGO game in the past 20 years has played the same.  So much so that I can basically cut and paste parts of my reviews and change very little to meet the needs of each LEGO game review.  Don’t get me wrong, this format of LEGO game is still tons of fun.  But if you crave something a little different, this next LEGO game has you covered.  Builder’s Journey presents small single screen areas made of LEGOs, and you must solve puzzles with real LEGO blocks in each one (kind of reminds me of Captain Toad in a way).  Originally released on Apple Arcade, Builder’s Journey is now available on Switch and PC (reviewed on Switch here).

Play control is very simple.  Use the L stick to highlight and cycle through the LEGO bricks you can pick up in each level.  Then press the A button to pick up a highlighted piece.  Move it around with the control stick and tap the button lightly to rotate it. When over a place where you can attach the brick to another piece, hold down the A button to put them together.  You can also drop pieces with the B button and change the camera angle in limited ways with the R stick.  Too bad you can’t rotate the camera ALL around the level (just the front), but oh well.

So the object of each stage is to get a character from point A to point B.  This usually means building a bridge or walkway out of LEGO pieces for them.  Sometimes you might have to solve a small puzzle, too, but it still mostly involves putting LEGO bricks in the right places.  The neat thing is that you don’t always have to use the bricks available to finish the level.  It’s just up to you and how you want to solve the puzzles.  The game starts out simple enough.  After some tutorials and LEGO sand castle building, you’re tasked with helping a smaller LEGO person reach a bigger LEGO person.  Kind of like a son and a dad on a camping trip.  But after you reach a cabin and the smaller LEGO dude falls through a hole and into an underground factory, things get a little weirder.  But the object of the game is still pretty much the same.  While the graphics are simple, they are still very realistic and I felt like I could reach into the screen and grab the LEGO pieces with my hand!

The game does have a few problems here and there.  There were a couple of times where a goal or objective in a level was a bit unclear, especially when they introduce a new concept.  I had to consult a video guide a couple of times unfortunately.  Also, sometimes the lighting was a little TOO dark, and even though I have my Switch handheld screen settings on the brightest one, I still had to switch to TV mode a few times to see what I was doing.  And finally, the game is a bit short and best played in short bursts.  But if you enjoy LEGO games and want something a little different, this one is still great and a very relaxing, unique experience.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  If a character breaks apart or falls off the screen, they just reappear back on the level.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text at the beginning, but not necessary to play.  LEGO Builder’s Journey is rated E for Everyone.

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