LEGO Brawls

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LEGO Brawls – Review

Whether you’re assembling pieces to make various buildings, ships, or the Batcave, shopping at their many retail stores, visiting their theme parks, playing their many games, singing along to “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” or screaming in agony after stepping on a piece, the LEGO brand has continued to build much enjoyment since 1949. Much like the Monopoly board game, they have collaborated with hundreds of other media.

In 2019, their Smash Bros-inspired game LEGO Brawls, developed by RED Games, was released on iOS devices as part of Apple Arcade and PC, and it is now available on PlayStation 4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch, this time published by Bandai Namco, who ironically, also helped develop Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

At first glance, ‘LEGO Brawls’ is very much like the Super Smash Bros series, but it plays very differently. The matches are either 4vs4 multiplayer, with the goal being to fill up your team’s colour, or 8-player free-for-all, fighting until only one player is left standing. This makes it only the second Smash Bros-style game to allow 8 players since Super Smash Bros on Wii U/3DS.

LEGO Brawls is a perfect port of the mobile game, which is also one of its biggest downfalls. Not even five minutes into playing the game, the underwhelming gameplay is already noticeable. It starts with a tutorial that vaguely explains the basics of any 2D side-scrolling platform game, nothing more, and it feels very abrupt once it’s over. This gives a very early indication of what the rest of the game will be like.

The actual matches have some interesting ideas that set it apart from the other games inspired by the iconic Nintendo franchise that started this sub-genre, but the gameplay is what really lets it down. It has the same control layout as the mobile touch screen but it does feel better using a controller. Players have a jump button, a basic attack button, short dash buttons, and two other buttons assigned to weapons scattered around the stage that can be picked up.

Three generic LEGO characters are available from the beginning and many more can be unlocked by playing online matches and earning in-game currency. The unlockable characters represent the large range of different LEGO sets based on various themes such as western, pirates, medieval, and many more recognisable franchises, including Ninjago and even Jurassic Park/Jurassic World.

Unlocking the large range of characters certainly gives some incentive to keep playing, however, every character seems to play exactly the same no matter their theme. This may help with the game’s balance, keeping things even between all characters, which can be an issue in many fighting games, but it doesn’t mean much if the overall gameplay experience is incredibly lacklustre.

The first time watching a match may look fun, but actually playing it is just confusing, repetitive, and just plain boring. The variety of moves is very limited, and the lack of impactful sound effects and character voices doesn’t help add any excitement or give any indication that the hits have landed, and players will most likely just find themselves mashing buttons until one LEGO combatant is left and the victory screen pops up. With eight LEGO characters on screen at once, it becomes very difficult to distinguish them while they’re moving all over the place, and this also makes it easy to lose track of your character leaving you vulnerable.

There’s a nice variety of stages based on the different LEGO themes that utilise familiar LEGO pieces. The colourful backgrounds also add to the environment and the music fits in pretty well with each stage. A variety of weapons will also appear and are different depending on which stage the match is taking place. Monsters, dragons, and even the famous T-Rex from Jurassic Park will occasionally appear and can be used by players to get an advantage. As entertaining as these features are, they do get old pretty quickly.

The online play seems to work well for the most part and being cross-platform amongst all the consoles, even the iOS devices, really opens it up to a large number of players around the world. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much to it due to the basic and lacklustre gameplay as explained above.

LEGO Brawls was initially designed as a mobile game and can be an enjoyable way to kill some time playing online matches. As a console game that doesn’t add anything new to the gameplay, it’s just a generic platform fighter with little to no excitement. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the game was cheap or just free, but it’s shockingly priced at $60 AUD which makes it impossible to justify. There are tons of indie games out there that offer so much more at a cheaper price.

Even with some interesting ideas, LEGO Brawls offers very little and is probably more fun to watch than play, but the novelty wears off really quickly. The biggest letdown overall is its generic gameplay that just isn’t much fun at all. Non-fighting game players often describe the genre as button mashers, and this game accurately fits that description and is a poor representation of the genre. Even stepping on a LEGO piece is more entertaining than this.

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The Good

  • Perfect port of a mobile game
  • Lots of character to unlock from various Lego themes plus Jurassic Worl
  • Nice stage design using Lego pieces
  • Cross-platform online play amongst all consoles, PC and iOS devices

The Bad

  • Generic, lacklustre and underwhelming gameplay
  • Every character plays exactly the same
  • Very limited move set
  • No character voices
  • Confusing
  • Tutorial explains very little
  • Lacks excitement and intensity
  • Entertaining features get old quick
  • Very overpriced at $60

Written by: Sammy Hanson


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