I think it’s safe to say we all want to feel like a kid again from time to time; to grab hold of a piece of our childhood and not let it go. I’m sure most of us used to play with those colorful little building blocks called LEGO bricks and build whatever our minds could think of. What better way to bring back some nostalgia and still live in the now than to pick up a LEGO video game.
While some of them may not really live up to expectations or capture the essence of the material it's based on, LEGO games have a very distinct fingerprint and they have managed to keep their games fresh and entertaining through their own unique and comedic approach. They have no doubt come a long way in their development, eventually evolving to have hub worlds and full voice acting.
A big reason for the success of the LEGO series is the fact that they found a way to bridge the gap between both casual and hardcore gamers, as well as they age gap between the younger audience and the more mature audience. They have found a way to strike the perfect harmony between frustrating annoyance and cathartic success. It is a series that you can pick up and play with anyone and while there are some entries in the franchise that everybody should play, there are also those that are nothing short of a waste of money and are better left on the shelf.
15 Best: LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
The LEGO Star Wars games will always hold a special place in my heart and I suspect with many of you readers as well. The original trilogy is typically held in high regard, just as the first installment is.
Being thrust in a building block-filled galaxy far, far away for a second time didn’t carry with it any lull in the action, provided just as much fun and was a great interpretation of the films that spawned one of the most beloved and widely known franchises of all time. This game was heavy with subtle comedy and made itself without any voice acting. It was hard to believe that the widely popular kids toys were the focal point of an incredible game that spans generations.
14 Worst: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
While the Pirates of the Caribbean films are pretty popular, this “LEGO-fied” game of the popular series just doesn’t carry the same wow factor of the films. We do want give probs to the setting and environment of the game, as few others feature the locale types that this game does.
But it doesn’t really change up the formula at all, making it feel similar to previous entries in terms of gameplay, which only serves to subtract from the game's enjoyment. It starts to feel familiar despite the fact you haven’t played it yet. It bears too much similarity to previous games and just doesn’t keep the gamer interested. While the title itself is not absolutely horrible, it keeps the gamer from truly having as much as they can; especially given the energetic source material, it just feels like a missed opportunity.
13 Best: LEGO Racers
By far the oldest entry on this list coming out in 1999, six years before LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, LEGO Racers kept the fun going in a big way. The game featured LEGO-themed competitive racing and allowed the player to build their own car out of unlocked bricks. The races themselves consisted of the same kind of competitor-screwing power-ups that you would find in other non-realistic racing games. The tracks were fun, innovative and sure to provide good times.
It created a level of competition unseen in other LEGO games and pushed friendships to the limit. It is one of the first big LEGO games and helped pave the way for all LEGO games. Though not without its technical issues, it is a fun game all the same.
12 Worst: Lego Marvel's Avengers
While this should have been a sequel that improved on the very well received LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, it fell flat by catering to the Marvel films, which cut a huge hole in what characters and storylines could be tackled. What made the previous game so successful and enjoyable was the staggeringly large quantity of characters and the original story that it followed. However, this was not the case when sequel time came around.
The licensing agreement between LEGO and Marvel made it so that it centered on the storylines and characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and left out those characters whose cinematic rights were not controlled by Marvel. It was very upsetting to learn that the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Deadpool, and Spider-Man (added later after the Sony deal) did not return for the second outing. Since the films are so well known as well, it felt like more of chore to complete the story than a delight.
11 Best: LEGO Jurassic World
LEGO dinosaurs! What else really needs to be said? LEGO Jurassic World, despite what its title may imply, actually includes content from all four films and follows the stories seen within the films. Since most of the cast from the fourth film recorded additional dialogue for the game, it feels a little more authentic. Plus the charisma of leading man Chris Pratt also leaves its mark on the game.
LEGO Jurassic World also adds new features not seen in previous titles. Previous titles include custom character creation, but this game takes it one step further, allowing the player to create custom hybrid dinosaurs built from the game's default dinosaurs. It’s about the closest that LEGO games have come to being BAMF.
10 Worst: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
While this game and its sequel, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, are based off one of the best-selling book and film franchises in history, it doesn’t exactly deliver a quality gaming experience. I couldn’t figure it out until a good bit into it why it seemed so boring. There are almost not combat sequences and very little action throughout these games.
The games are comprised mostly of puzzles and trudging through Hogwarts to get to where you have to go next. LEGO Harry Potter lacks energy and it constantly feels like you are just doing repetitive and bland tasks. You find yourself constantly waiting for something to amp up the pace and provide some excitement for you, but it never really comes. The whole game just feels like its bogged down by boring level designs and bland personifications of beloved characters.
9 Best: LEGO Indiana Jones: The Orignal Adventures
LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is now considered kind of a classic amongst the rest of the series, as it featured some of the best moments in a LEGO game. This game stayed very faithful to its source material and provided an incredibly fun experience that made you never want to put it down.
It does an exceptional job of balancing difficulty with enjoyment and every level was filled with fun puzzles and challenges for the intrepid archaeologist to uncover and solve. The characters were full of quirkiness and the wide array of characters was also quite enjoyable. There is a ton of fun to be had in this title and it still retains that fun factor even now, after 10 years. It takes a special game to have that type of longevity.
8 Worst: LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
We just covered why LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures game is a classic and is loved by many fans of the LEGO series. That same love does not carry over to the “sequel” of this beloved title. LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is only kind of a sequel, but I see it more as a deluxe edition of the original.
It features levels for the fourth installment in the film series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as levels from the first three films just as the previous game did. The levels were reworked to feel fresh and new, but the whole game just feels like an unnecessary addition to the franchise. The big draw for the making of this game was the new film and since the film wasn’t very well received, it was unlikely the game would be any different.
7 Best: LEGO Batman 2:DC Super Heroes
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is a linchpin of today’s LEGO games with it being the start of the modern LEGO games. It switched up the formula that previous games in the series used and introduced a ton of new mechanics and features that are used by new installments today. The most prominent of which was the full voice acting. It was the first time the characters spoke and they didn’t just communicate via shrugs and vague hands motions. It was a huge step in the right direction for the franchise and was accompanied by another big change, with the new open world aspect of the game. This was the first time you were able to explore the city you were in, instead of just a small base with warp doors to levels. It made the game feel much larger and gave the player more freedom.
6 Worst: LEGO Rock Band
There are a ton of LEGO games out there and many of them take popular source material and turn it into an oddly unique game that undoubtedly fills the place it carves for itself. That does not apply to this game however.
LEGO games are generally there own entity built from the framework of the source material’s universe. That was not the case for LEGO Rock Band. The one thing that comes to mind when I think about this game is one simple word: unnecessary. It is just a Rock Band game with a fresh coat of paint. Maybe Rock Band developer Harmonix was looking for a more kid friendly entry to their series, or maybe LEGO series developers TT Fusion were trying to cash a quick check on a relatively simple game, but one thing remains certain; this title brings nothing special to either franchise.
5 Best: LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
This game is what many would consider the start of LEGO games as we know them today. LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game did what many would never have thought possible: make the prequel Star Wars movies fun and entertaining. It was an incredibly daunting task for any project to undertake, but it achieved it nonetheless.
Not only do we get a quality game with fun levels, wacky characters, and a fresh take on the films, but they did the impossible: Jar Jar Binks became not only useful, but necessary for the story to progress. It wins over LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy because of the daunting task it had before it and the stellar way it accomplished its goal and brought some positives to the much disliked prequel episodes.
4 Worst: LEGO The Hobbit
LEGO The Hobbit is yet another example of a game being made after a film franchise that wasn’t very well received. This game fell into the same rut as its silver screen counterpart. Many fans felt that the films weren’t very reliable to the source material of the books and that same criticism obviously applied to this game, since it was based of the film.
The characters all seem rather robotic and lack a lot of personality. This, combined with the use of voice lines taken directly from the film, creates a rather disjointed story and unappealing dialogue. The voice lines don’t often fit with the way the scenes are portrayed, resulting in an annoying visual conflict. This is similar to the same thing with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.
3 Best: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
Undoubtedly one of the best to come from the series, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes combines everything you could want in a LEGO game: humor, freedom, action, variety, and lots and lots of characters. You are free to fly, swing, and leap around New York City as you see fit, while looking for other heroes to recruit and citizens to help.
This game features one of the largest rosters of Marvel characters in any game ever and takes the mechanics that made previous games great and implements and improves on them. The levels are fun and well designed, the story is original and pits the heroes against Marvel’s most iconic villains in epic fashions. Plenty of characters are given time to shine, whether they are popular or still obscure. It’s hard not to have a blast when playing this game with a friend.
2 Worst: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
You would think that following two of the most successful games in the series, this game would be just as successful, especially given the huge following that The Clone Wars television show has. This quickly proved not to be the case.
Even with the leap in technology since the previous LEGO Star Wars release, this installment never seemed to break itself out of its boring lull and bland repetition. It was definitely a far cry from the action-packed and diverse levels of previous titles and it showed that is wasn’t capable of filling the large shoes of the first two games. You know you're in trouble when the new addition of lightsaber throwing isn’t enough to keep your game from being boring.
1 Best: LEGO Dimensions
This game is a pretty clear winner. No other LEGO game offers the sheer amount of content that LEGO Dimensions offers the player. While yes it does require the player to purchase additional figures to access this content it is very reasonably priced and each pack unlocks a ton of content.
This is also the only game in existence that allows you pit together Gandalf and Marty McFly with the likes of Batman, Sonic the Hedgehog and The Doctor. It is truly a one-of-kind game and the ever-expanding roster of characters and universes are sure to keep the fun going for quite a while. While the other entries on the list feature great worlds and characters there is only one who features these in numerous quantities. The potential for fun is so far above the rest of the games, it’s almost unfair to compare it to the rest of the games in the series.