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'The LEGO Movie Videogame' misses chance to be great

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The developers at Travellers Tales Games have struck gold with their LEGO-brand video games in recent years by telling funny, original stories framed within popular universes such as Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

Anyone who has visited this space knows how much I've enjoyed the likes of "LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes" and last year's "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes," which cracked my list of the top 10 games of 2013. You could imagine my excitement, then, at the mere thought of what TT Games might have in store for its "The LEGO Movie" video game adaptation. If ever there was a license that was tailor-made for the TT Games treatment, it had to be "The LEGO Movie," right?

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Rather than let gamers explore a side of "The LEGO Movie" universe not seen in theaters or introduce us to new characters, "The LEGO Movie Videogame" falls into the same trap that has snared so many movie-based games before it - following too closely to the source material.

My kids and I played through the first few levels before going to see the film and the game portrayed the events of the movie so well, it should have come with a spoiler warning. After seeing the movie - which is outstanding - we were all anxious to hurry home and relive some of the biggest moments for ourselves in the game, but it was a bit anti-climactic knowing just what to expect. Dealing with a license is always a tricky proposition, but given TT Games' track record, I was hoping to see them have more fun Emmet, Wyldstyle and friends.

Expectations aside, "The LEGO Movie Videogame" remains a fun, family-friendly game that my kids and I thoroughly enjoyed. The game play was instantly familiar as we smashed everything in site, collected studs and built items to solve puzzles. As with previous LEGO games, being able to play with a friend via local co-op remains a major highlight. The hacking mini-game featuring Benny the Astronaut was interesting the first time we saw it, but quickly became one of our least-favorite things to do.

The presentation was outstanding, as the colorful worlds from the movie such as Cloud Cuckoo Land have been recreated in brilliant detail. The list of playable characters, while not as deep as other LEGO offerings, contains a welcome hodgepodge of talent, with the likes of Gandalf and Green Lantern sitting alongside Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln.

"The LEGO Movie Videogame" falls short of reaching the high bar TT Games has set in recent years, but it's still an fun little romp that kids and adults, alike, can enjoy together.

"The LEGO Movie Video Game"

Developer: Travellers Tales Games

Publisher: Warner Bros.

Rating: E for everyone

Available for: Multi-platform ($29.99-$59.99)

Score: 7.2/10


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