The LEGO brand has seen no shortage of video game adaptations, as seemingly every major entertainment property has taken the LEGO world for a spin. That said, there’s something compelling about the LEGO universe on its own, when it’s not piggybacking on other established entertainment properties. This is what made me so fascinated by LEGO Builder’s Journey, a new puzzle game from Light Brick Studio that puts the focus on the LEGO bricks themselves.
Brick by brick
LEGO Builder’s Journey is a puzzle game through and through. There’s no dialogue or overarching plot, no visual goofs or quips, just a ton of LEGO-based puzzles. The player is tasked with helping a child character get back to their home. As the builder, you place blocks for them, creating a path for them to follow. A level is completed whenever the character makes it to their parent on the other side of the stage.
The catch is that the child can only move on the yellow bricks, which the game will give you a limited amount of. Players will have to think strategically and use the other bricks in order to create a clear path for the child to follow. If a yellow brick is placed too far away, or at too high of an incline, the child will not continue.
With LEGO being all about creativity and building, it’s a bit mind-boggling that there are so few LEGO games like this. LEGO Builder’s Journey is all about the bricks and how players decide to use them. Most levels have more than one solution, which is indicative of what it’s like to actually play with LEGO bricks.
Speaking of real life LEGO, LEGO Builder’s Journey aims for realism in its design. From the way the bricks move, to the snapping sound of them popping into place, or even the fine scratches on the sides of them, it’s the closest a LEGO video game has ever made me feel like I was playing with the real thing. It’s easy to use, too, as bricks can be picked up, moved, rotated, and placed with a click of the mouse.
LEGO Builder’s Journey also goes for realism in its use of ray tracing and DLSS. Light Brick Studio partnered with NVIDIA to bring some of the company’s graphics tech to the game and it pays dividends. LEGO Builder’s Journey is hands-down the most beautiful LEGO game ever made.
Ray tracing brings realistic lighting to LEGO Builder’s Journey, as it is the first ray-traced game made in the Unity engine. It’s a cool juxtaposition, the very simplistic and minimal art style of LEGO and the ultra-realistic lighting effects of ray tracing.
Searching for more
For as neat as the mainline missions are in LEGO Builder’s Journey, it’s a bit of a bummer that there isn’t much more to do. It’s a smaller game that can be beaten in a few hours, and players aren’t expected to sink a ton of hours into it.
That said, it would have been really neat to have some sort of sandbox mode, where I could just mess around with the full library of bricks and items. With the gorgeous visuals and neat building mechanics, a sandbox mode would have been a cool LEGO building simulator.
The builder’s journey ends
LEGO Builder’s Journey is a very relaxing puzzler with some cool concepts and ideas. The game is incredibly serene, as its peaceful tunes and minimalist design are quite relaxing. The integration of ray tracing and Nvidia DLSS make for a visually stunning game. LEGO Builder’s Journey is refreshingly original take on the LEGO series, and represents a direction that I hope to see the franchise head in the future.
This review is based on a digital steam code provided by the publisher. LEGO Builder's Journey is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC for $39.99 USD.
LEGO Builder's Journey
- Encourages creativity
- Consistently challenging puzzles
- Stunning visuals
- Nothing to do outside of the standard levels