Although most associate the term “Lego games” with the licensed titles released by TT Games in the past decade or so, the company has been producing video games since 1997 (1995, even, if you include the Japan exclusive Lego Fun to Build). Today, Lego is still making games from its own properties, but is best known for its work with other brands, namely LucasArts, Marvel, and DC. Movie tie-in or not, here are the best Lego games of all time.
There are a lot of Lego games, though. We’ve narrowed our list to 10 options, but there are plenty more for you to play. If you’re interested in a particular franchise, there’s probably a Lego game for it. Lego Indiana Jones, for example, is an excellent game, but it feels a lot like Lego Star Wars. We tried to make our list as diverse as possible, so if you don’t see your favorite franchise, it doesn’t mean the Lego rendition is bad, just that it doesn’t stand out from the pack.
Lego City Undercover is an oddity in Lego’s current lineup of games. Since Lego Star Wars, the brand has mostly focused on licensed games, with a few oddballs here and there for mobile and PC. Lego City Undercover is the first full Lego game set in Lego City, which is a location the company has been developing sets for since 1991.
It isn’t exclusive to PC or mobile devices, either. Originally, Lego City Undercover launched as a Wii U exclusive, published by none other than Nintendo. Since then, it’s undergone the remaster treatment and is now available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
Before Lego moved into the licensed game market, it had a range of different series that focused on lines featured in physical Lego products. Among those was Lego Racers, a series that received three entries, though unfortunately died out in the days of the PS2. The first game, simply titled Lego Racers, originally released for PC in mid-1999, before moving over to the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation later that year.
It’s not a good racing game, much in the same way that Super Smash Bros. Brawl isn’t a good fighting game. It’s still an extremely fun game, though. Lego Racers plays a lot like Mario Kart, just with the twist of building your own vehicles. You can completely customize your ride using Lego bricks, and carry those changes into a race. There are other customization options, too, including a custom driver’s license and custom racers.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the first game in the Lego Star Wars series to focus on a particular film. It covers the full events of The Force Awakens, as well as some transitional material between it and Return of the Jedi. The game even features voice talent from the actual cast of the movie, with Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford reprising their roles.
Gameplay-wise, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is mostly the same as previous entries, with you solving puzzles and blasting enemies through a series of linear levels. New to the series, though, is the Multi-Build mechanic. In other games, you often have to break structures into Lego bricks in order to progress through a level. The same is true in The Force Awakens; however you can construct certain brick sets in different ways, allowing you to access new parts of a level.
For the indecisive, Lego Dimensions allows you to have your cake and eat it, too. Instead of a single franchise, Lego Dimensions features characters from not only all of the franchises Lego has official games for, but new ones, as well. It’s a toys-to-life game, and although Lego isn’t releasing any new content packs, there are still a lot of sets available, ranging from The Simpsons to Mission: Impossible to The Goonies.
The toys-to-life model works really well for Lego Dimensions, too. If you’ve played any Lego game, you’ll be familiar with the format. Either solo or with a friend, you’ll traverse linear levels, solving puzzles and beating up baddies along the way. The twist is that you’ll unlock instructions in the level to help you build whatever set you purchased. You’ll also enter each level by placing a unique Lego figure on a toy pad, which itself is built from Legos.
Both of the Lego Harry Potter games are excellent, but like the books, the last three years home in on what the series is all about. Plus, Years 5-7 looks better than the first game and has a darker tone (though, the signature Lego humor is still intact).
This game features the events from The Order of the Phoenix to The Deathly Hallows, bringing in events from the books and movies. In addition to the standard puzzles and combat, you can learn and use spells from the books and unlock more than 100 characters, many of which have unique abilities.
Another movie/book tie-in, Lego Lord of the Rings released in 2011, dead center in Lego’s heyday with licensed games. In the same year as Lord of the Rings, Lego also released Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, all while presumably developing Lego Batman 2, which released the following year. Despite the seemingly frantic development cycle, Lego Lord of the Rings is one of the best games to come out of Traveller’s Tales.
It doesn’t fuss about with multiple entries, featuring the events from The Fellowship of the Ring all the way to The Return of the King. Graphically, the game looks excellent, despite its age. The weather and lighting effects, in particular, shine thanks to the setting of The Lord of the Rings.
Although unassuming, Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes is a milestone in the Lego series. It’s the first game to feature full voice acting, ditching the grunts and sighs featured in previous games. The voice cast is excellent, with the talents of Troy Baker and Clancy Brown, among others, and the music is just as good. Lego Batman 2 features compositions from Danny Elfman’s work on the 1989 Batman and John Williams’ work on the 1978 Superman.
In short, it was a huge leap forward in production level for Lego games. It was also a huge leap forward in gameplay. Lego Batman 2 is an open-world game, allowing you to explore Gotham City with over 70 characters from DC Comics.
Lego Island is the first game that would make its way from Japan to North American shores. The first game ever to use the Lego brand, Lego Fun to Build, was released exclusively in Japan in 1995. In 1997, the U.S. and other territories got their collective hands on Lego Island.
It plays much differently than the Lego games of today, but the jovial tone of the franchise is still intact. You roam a Lego island from a first-person perspective, completing missions related to pizza delivery, Jet Ski racing, and more. It’s a nonlinear game, one without any concrete plot or objectives, but it’s still a blast to play. Physical copies show up from time to time on Amazon and eBay, but there are some shareware versions floating around online, too.
Lego Island 2 is great, as well, and much easier to find. It was released on PC and PlayStation in 2001.
For many, their first introduction into the Lego games was Lego Star Wars, and for good reason. Prior to the first game’s release in 2005, there had only been a handful of licensed Lego games, all of which were expansions for Lego Creator. Lego Star Wars, and in the following year, Lego Star Wars II, changed the course for the Lego brand, ushering in an era of quirky licensed video games.
The Complete Saga, which launched the year after Lego Star Wars II, includes both games. That means you’ll have access to Episodes I-VI, though sadly not anything after that. An and Nintendo Switch, will include everything from The Phantom Menace to The Rise of Skywalker., set to launch in 2020 for PS4, Xbox One,
Believe it or not, the best Avengers game comes from Lego, at least until the Crystal Dynamics Avengers releases later this year. Lego Marvel Super Heroes isn’t Lego Marvel’s Avengers, though (that’s a different game). Rather, it’s a title set in the universe of the Avengers, fit with a Lego version of New York City and Asgard, just with a vastly expanded roster of characters and unique plot points.
There are 180 characters from the Marvel Universe you can play as, marking the first time the Lego games allowed three figures of playable characters. Additionally, Lego Marvel Super Heroes features a character builder, allowing you to create your own superheroes to fight alongside the Avengers. Plus, it’s one of the longest games in the Lego franchise, beat out narrowly by Lego City Undercover.
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