What is The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game?
The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game lets you recreate all your favourite moments from the film in a drop-in, drop-out split-screen co-op adventure. Following the same story as the LEGO Ninjago film, the game tells the tale of young Lloyd and his ninja pals as they take on the supreme bad guy, Garmadon, in an attempt to put a stop to his repeated attempts to invade Ninjago City. During the course of the game, you'll visit key locations from the films, as the young ninjas find themselves and their elemental powers, while Lloyd learns to overcome the stigma of having a major bad guy for a dad. Despite some changes to its structure, this is still the familiar, winning LEGO game fare you've come to know and love, full of co-operative bad guy bashing, LEGO smashing (and rebuilding) and some light puzzle solving, all wrapped up in a handful of film clips straight from the movie. While it's not essential to have seen The LEGO Ninjago Movie before playing, you may well come across a few story spoilers if you haven't!
How do you play The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game?
Hitting all the hallmarks you expect from a game in the best-selling LEGO series, you'll be running, jumping, smashing and bashing your way through some gorgeous Ninjago-themed levels, making use of each ninjas' unique abilities in order to proceed. Whether it's kick-starting a generator with a ninja's lightning powers, standing on pressure pads to open a door, or freezing a waterfall into a set of icy steps to reach the cliffs above, each level is full of light puzzles to keep your brain ticking. In keeping with the LEGO style, you'll often have to smash up your surroundings and rebuild the remaining LEGO bricks into something more useful at the touch of a button - perhaps an ice cream van for a poor yeti, a switch to operate a locked door or a giant fishing rod to pull something up out of the river. After finishing each level, you'll have the ability to return to it in free play mode, where you can play as a much wider range of characters, and unlock new areas.
The other half of the LEGO Ninjago experience is its combat, a slightly revamped take on the usual button-mashing of past games to better accommodate the ninjas' more athletic abilities. With a few different combat abilities at your disposal, and enemies that are sometimes immune to certain moves, you'll need to think a little about how best to defeat them. For example, some flying robot enemies require you to use your homing jump attack, while some crafty enemies will block your attacks if you use the same move too many times in a row, which is where switching up your moves comes in handy.
How easy is The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game to pick up and play?
For the most part, The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game is easy to pick up and play. With simple controls, plenty of prompts for who-has-what-power when a certain ability is needed, and no punishment for dying (you'll simply reappear exactly where you left off), it's forgiving to say the least. However, there are a few things here that make this a tad more complex than other LEGO games.
As mentioned earlier, some enemies can block certain types of attack. Flashing a certain colour to show they're not taking damage, all you have to do then is change to a different move - usually performed by pressing a different button, or pressing them in a different order.
One of the more notable tweaks to The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game is that the levels are much more open and free-form compared to previous iterations. With more extensive secret areas, hidden collectibles and extra pathways, finding where you need to head next in a given level is a little harder. Fortunately, some of the areas are locked off behind skills you don't learn until much later in the game, and many of the potentially distracting side quests won't appear until you return in 'Free Play' (having finished the level once), cutting down on the chances you'll get lost along the way. It is worth noting that there's no indicator showing where your co-op partner is, though.
Fully voiced, and garnished with a fair few film clips along the way, The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game requires little in the way of reading ability to fully enjoy the game - so even non-readers should be able to get by.
As with all the LEGO games, The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game is pretty much as family friendly and inoffensive as they come - there's no bad language, no blood and gore and certainly no sexual content to be worried about. Combat is of the decidedly slapstick variety, as characters whack other LEGO figures with swords, spears and arrows, accompanied by bright light effects and almost comic book-style impacts (all that's really missing is a Pow! or a Thwack!). Defeated enemies simply break apart into their constituent LEGO parts and fade away. Some sections see you pilot giant mechs or robotic dragons, shooting at enemy ships and ground targets with projectiles, accompanied by colourful explosions.