Building with LEGO bricks is fun, but building with digital LEGO bricks on a screen can be a bit frustrating. While the story and overall premise of LEGO Bricktales is certainly enticing, the execution leaves a bit to be desired. If you can push past that, though, you will find a charming game that has a great deal of promise.
Your goal is to travel to five locations (jungle, desert, city, castle, and island) to solve puzzles and overcome challenges in order to unlock more skills and eventually help your grandfather reopen his amusement park. Along the way, you will have help from a floating robot head named Rusty that seems to have some history with your grandfather. In fact, the way it was introduced, I kept thinking this must be a sequel to a game I had missed, but that is not the case. While it was an odd way to introduce Rusty, I did quickly forget about it as the journey began.
The isometric stage design has a locked camera and it seems to work most of the time. There were moments when I would have liked to rotate the camera just a bit to get just the right angle on a set of stairs, for instance, but it was never something that killed the experience for me. What you can do, though, is pause the game and rotate the camera around to see all angles of each of the five diorama biomes. This reminds me a lot of games like Captain Toad.
In most LEGO games, when it comes time for your character to build, you hold a button while their arms flail around and bricks begin to fly into place. LEGO Bricktales asks the question, “What if you actually built it yourself?” Instead of reaching an impasse and just holding down a button, you go to a building screen, where you assemble the bridge, part, or tool you need. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this game was developed by Clockstone, the same team behind the Bridge Constructor series.
Unfortunately, this is where the game seems to struggle the most. While the builds themselves make sense, and they certainly were reminiscent of my time with Bridge Constructor, I found it difficult to place bricks exactly where I wanted them. I would frequently place one where I thought it should go only to see it fall to the floor or be off by just one row of studs.
I thought it would be a better experience to use the touch-screen, and in many ways, it is better, but it was often not as responsive as I thought it would be. This is where a stylus control for precision would have been better. The best way to build is probably to use the analog sticks and buttons, but you will need to do quite a bit of memorizing in order to do it quickly. If not, you will find even a simple build taking much longer than it should.
I really want to like LEGO Bricktales; there is so much to like. It both looks and sounds great, and the puzzles are the right amount of fun and challenge. I like the different dioramas, and the characters are charming. There are tons of collectibles along the way. You can even customize your character, your builds, and the amusement park itself. The sandbox mode is a great place to just play around or improve upon previous builds. But in the end, it comes down to the main brick-building mechanic just not working. I found myself more frustrated than having fun, which is really sad, because this game has so much going for it.
GAME: LEGO Bricktales
PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch
DEVELOPER: Clockstone Studio
PUBLISHER: The LEGO Group and Thunderful
ESRB: E for Everyone
OBTAINED: Code provided by developer/publisher for press purposes
Steve is the Senior Editor of NintendoFuse and co-host of the NintendoFuse Podcast. He’s been a Nintendo gamer since age 6 and has been on staff with NintendoFuse since 2008.