We very much like the Lego games here at Everybody Plays, with their own special mix of puzzles, punching and platforming – and a healthy dose of humour too. We've flown all over the Lego Harry Potters, whipped across each Indiana Jones and brawled our way through Batman – but those of you who're new to the LEGO game craze may not realise that there are other, much older, Lego games that don't draw from popular films; games such as the Mario Kart-esque Lego Racers, which let you build your own car, and the free-roaming Lego Island, which gave you an entire Island to explore, to name but a few. And it's the latter, where you were tracking down the nefarious Brickster who's escaped from jail, which springs to mind most when we hear about Traveller's Tales latest Lego outing, the Wii U and 3DS exclusive Lego City: Undercover.
Taking inspiration from the Lego City range of toys, LEGO City: Undercover sees you play as Chase McCain, an undercover detective armed with many clever disguises, who's on a mission to stop the fiendish Rex Fury, a villain who's behind most of the crimes that take place around Lego City. Like all cool cops, McCain has a whole array of high tech gadgets at his disposal, which are accessible from the Wii U GamePad, giving you a map, so you can see whereabouts in the city you are, receiving mission updates, so you know who you're chasing, and it can even be used to scan for criminals and hidden clues, in a way not too dissimilar to Face Raiders on the 3DS.
But where other LEGO games have always had you running around a level, moving from one area to the next, LEGO City: Undercover promises to be an entirely different experience, instead giving you free reign over an entire city of LEGO goodness. Being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want, we're expecting a city bustling with LEGO characters, and crooks that need to be hunted down, and reprimanded by your plasticy arm of the law.
Lego games have always loved their disguises, whether it's donning a specific hat to infiltrate Nazi bases in Indiana Jones, or just the obligatory disguises option in the menu, which gives everyone a Groucho disguise – and Lego City: Undercover takes this to the extreme. Being an undercover detective means Chase has one hell of a dress up set, letting you turn into everything from a fire fighter to a construction worker to even a robber, each of which have their own special abilities for getting through the game.
Another common aspect of the Lego games is vehicles – whether it's flying pumpkins, motorbikes or that recurring ice cream van, we've crashed them all, and now Lego City: Undercover lets us write off another hundred vehicles with our terrible steering. And with the new aircraft joining the sports cars and motorbikes, and me not being able to fly for toffee, things might get a little hairy as I try to make friends with the floor... Seriously. Aircraft, in a LEGO game, with an entire city you're free to explore. Is this not the greatest game ever made?
It wouldn't be a Lego game without the two player co-op, and Lego City Universe is no different, letting you fight crime with a friend – but as you have an entire city to wonder around this time, without the constraints of much-narrower-in-scope level, we can't help but wonder how it'll work? Split screen? Both of you locked to the same screen, with the second player riding passenger in the vehicles? One using the Wii U GamePad and the other the TV? Or perhaps, for the first time in Lego history, it'll be online co-op only – although that seems pretty unlikely.
There's apparently also a 3DS version due, but information on it is rarer than a purple stud – although we'd imagine it'd work pretty similarly to the Wii U version seeing as, after all, the Wii U is a lot like a giant DS with it's two separate screens. Whether it'll have co-op, StreetPass or SpotPass functionality remains to be seen.
That's all we know on Lego City: Universe, except for one thing – that it's the one Wii U launch title we NEED. That's NEED with a capital NEED. The English language hasn't yet invented words that are capable of describing just how excited we are for this one. As of yet, there's no release date announced or anything, apart from a vague 'Holiday 2012' so we'll just have to wait, but we'll be sure to let you know when anything comes out of the brickwork in the coming weeks. Until then, here's a trailer to whet your appetites a bit: