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Funcom
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel N/A)  | Pub:Lego
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Something For Everyone to Love

By Christina Gonzalez on July 02, 2015 | Previews | Comments

Something For Everyone to Love

When you think of Funcom, you probably think of dark, immersive stories and gameplay that is more adult-oriented, which is why LEGO Minifigures Online might have come as a surprise. The game, which saw its original free to play release last fall, is relaunching as a buy to play game today after many changes and polish. I had the chance to play through the game’s tutorial as well as some of the group content at a play session last week, and it’s one of those experiences designed to be accessible to kids, but adults will also find much to love within.

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Players will begin the game by choosing a minifigure and playing through the game’s tutorial level. All of the dialogue is going to be voiced, which should help even the very youngest players keep up with what’s going on and add another touch of fun, as much of the writing has the signature LEGO humor. There are five worlds to eventually play through in the game’s story mode, and a central hub to meet, socialize, and even show off your minifigures’ special abilities.

In keeping with the game’s aim at a wide audience, it will be released across multiple platforms - PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android--all running on the same server. I imagine the notion that your kid can start on PC and continue playing on an iPad in the back of the car with the same friends and characters will have its appeal. Players also have a choice of control schemes, as traditional WASD, arrows, controller, and touchscreen will be options as applicable. Each minifigure has its own individual bio, traits, and personality, and just two abilities. A standard power and an extra powerful second ability with a cooldown. If it sounds simplified, it is, but players can carry up to three figures with them at any time, changing them from whatever they have unlocked as they go, and each figure can combo with other players or sometimes their own powers. Additionally, the building feature common in LEGO games is used here to create ways to get around as well as special buffs and skills.

For example, during a boss fight with Hades in the Mythology world, the next to last in the game, there were two things to build on either side. One would grant everyone who participated in building it a temporary lightning buff from Zeus, useful for the skeletal hordes that appear. The other side’s project helped shield from the fire pits thrown down on the floor, assisted by Athena. These extras are there to discover, since there’s no direction on what they do (or that multiple players can benefit from speeding up the building process together) the first time a player encounters them. Additional elements like a pad that rebuilds defeated figures, and also acts as a teleport to near group tool should help players of all skill levels.

The account I used had over 100 figures unlocked, and the team will be adding more right before the next series of toys is scheduled to roll out in September. So expect new content to hit the game on a regular basis. I tried out multiple figures during our instanced dungeon, beginning with the Roman Soldier, the Disco Girl (whose secondary ability was tossing up a large disco ball marking an AOE heal on the ground with flair), a King with his horse running through enemies as an ability, the Jester, tossing cards, a princess, the archer Forest Maiden, and Grandma. Grandma carries a basket and her primary ability is to toss yarn balls. Her second ability is tossing an AOE attack of three meowing kittens at enemies. You can even toss some yarn, then unleash kittens to follow as a combo. Others include the Waiter, sending torrents of juice at enemies, Spooky Girl, who can transform into a giant spider, Video Game Guy, Samurai, Wizard, Rockstar, and many more.

It might sound strange that a free to play title is relaunching as a buy to play game, but this new model is designed well. The game is aimed at kids and COPPA compliant, which means that there are filters and GMs to help keep children safe. Like many other hot children’s games of the moment, it will work with toys, but buying copious amounts of blind bag current series LEGO toys isn’t the only way to unlock the game’s playable minifigures. Players will be able to go through the story content and earn a few specific figures as they go, in addition to finding pieces as loot, from which they can build figures once they have all the right materials. In other words, you can grab a toy at the store, put in the code inside the package, and instantly unlock that same minifigure with fanfare in game, or you can find all the pieces through gameplay for no extra cost.

Players can progress solo, but grouping is encouraged, and there are elements of depth like comboing and utilizing the field and timing in ways that will be more suited to those with some skill. so while the target audience is children, there is something for those new to games and those more advanced. With five worlds (pirates! aliens! mythological creatures!), each with their own questlines, custom enemies, and boss fights with fully repeatable instances in the quest for loot, as well as the hub, it feels like an all-ages Diablo style romp with classic and modern LEGO touches. There is also exploration and with the relaunch, new animations, new cutscenes, the fully voiced dialogue, and expanded content has been added and redone to be an all-inclusive experience.

LEGO Minifigures Online relaunches today for $29.95 on PC/Mac/Linux and $4.99 for the first world/$3.99 each additional on iOS and Android.

Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column.