The super-powered Parr family first hit the big screen, courtesy of animation studio Pixar, as part of The Incredibles film way back in 2004. It’s taken until now, 14 years later, for the Parrs to make their long-awaited return in Incredibles 2 and, with almost perfect timing from developers TT Fusion, that’s lead to the arrival of an Incredibles themed LEGO game. Can LEGO The Incredibles do something different to stick out and rise above the many other LEGO games, or is it going to be one of those average movie tie-in efforts?
With such an incredible family at the heart of it, LEGO The Incredibles was almost certainly going to be better than average!
The story picks up exactly where the latest film does, with the Underminer causing chaos and the Parr family – Bob (Mr. Incredible), Helen (Elastigirl), Violet, and Dash – suiting up in order to save the day. Every memorable clash from Incredibles 2 is brought to life in LEGO form, seeing six levels recreated for it and a further six levels that capture the best bits of their clash with Syndrome in The Incredibles film. What’s slightly odd is that you’ll play through the action of the second movie, before getting stuck into sections based on the original one. It’s a little bit confusing to say the least.
Across the 12 story levels in LEGO The Incredibles, the core gameplay of the LEGO franchise hasn’t really changed, with the general aim still being to have a smashing time – literally – by breaking up items in each environment to obtain LEGO pieces, which can then be used to build viable solutions for the problems at hand. Doing this can also provide access to the mini-kit collectibles and will always see you garner a load of in-game Stud currency, which is used to spend on unlockables. In an interesting change to the major builds this time – or Family Builds as they are called – you’ll have to get the characters at hand to work together as a team and fill a meter for each of them by button mashing.
There’s quite a keen focus on the team ethic throughout, especially when attempting to overcome hazards. Take Violet for example, as she can shield characters from various dangers using force fields, whilst Elastigirl is able to transform into a boat to carry others across treacherous waters and stretch into all sorts of helpful shapes. In that aspect it really suits the family friendly ideals of The Incredibles, promoting teamwork and bonding, all in the name of fighting crime.
The levels on a whole are quite varied too, which ensures the type of mission you’re up against never brings about a sense of ‘oh no, not more brick bashing’. Of course, the standard format of causing destruction within an area does occur often, but the next minute it’ll throw you into a high-speed chase on a bike and then moments later have you tussling with a racoon whilst using the youngest of the Parr family, Jack-Jack. Very rarely are there any mind-blowing moments or ideas present, however you can rely on an enjoyable set of levels overall. A real highlight though is during a boss confrontation with Bomb Voyage inside a maze, mainly because it plays out like a game of Bomberman, albeit without any bombs of your own to fight back with.
Despite the ability to pull off combos and unleash super-human attacks, the combat is a tad repetitive and it becomes a mind-numbing experience in that sense. Maybe the problem is that it’s too easy, but given the younger target audience, that’s to be expected. It’d be good to have a block button at least to add an extra dynamic to the action.
If you’re like me, you might have expected to see some tedium creep in with the same characters popping up all the time, but in actuality, the amount of extraordinarily gifted individuals featured is great. Lending a hand are Supers like the acidic Reflux, teleporting master Voyd, the cool as ice Frozone, and many more. With all the special powers on show in the story missions and loads of additional heroes and villains to unlock on the 100+ playable character roster, there’s plenty of excitement to be had in trying the lot – it’s like some kind of DC Comics or Marvel spinoff, just with lesser known characters.
In terms of longevity, the campaign clocks in as a shorter effort in the grand scheme of all things LEGO and can be blasted through in around six hours or so. That’s where the free-roam side of proceedings kicks in though, with two major cities to explore in the form of Municiberg and New Urbem. Here, the priority is cleaning up the streets by completing Crime Wave missions and getting involved in stopping random crimes that occur. The latter of which are incredibly monotonous, simply due to the fact that they’re so damn repetitive. Beating up a group of thuggish mimes or chasing down a thief is fun at first, but by the 10th time in as many minutes, you just want to ignore it.
Crime Waves have a bit more substance to them and can even progress into boss encounters, however they become quite samey as well. Things like needing to find a bomb, ride the bomb to safety, and repeat, or locate thugs, beat them up, then find more to fight. The only saving grace is that completing a Crime Wave is rewarded by uncovering the collectibles in that particular district on the map. I’m talking Incredibricks, Gold Bricks and Family Builds. Whilst the regular Family Builds are great for constructing something monumental, it’s the Pixar Family Builds which are highly sought after.
Pixar Family Builds are no different to the normal variant in terms of the button mashing exercise needed to pull them off, but the rewards are so much sweeter. Firstly, it’ll unlock a game modifying Red Brick and that could offer a higher bonus multiplier for Studs, invincibility or maybe something very silly. Secondly, and most importantly for fans of Pixar, a character is added to the roster from one of their hit films. Without spoiling too much, it could be a human, a sea creature, or even a machine, that you acquire.
On the visual front, the character designs look great and the recognisable environments from the films are of a good standard in LEGO form. Some of the places do come across as bland though and could’ve been a generic back-drop to any game in truth. In the audio department, the balance between the soundtrack and voiceovers is spot on, with the latter being delivered with conviction.
Sadly, there are a few gameplay problems that must be noted, which at times ruin the experience greatly. The least of these issues is the terrible driving mechanics, both mid-mission and in free-roam, with vehicles ridiculously hard to handle. But it’s the bugs that cause the most pain, as characters get stuck for all eternity in the most harmless of situations and you can’t switch from, or to them. This happens more frequently in the later levels, forcing a quit and then having to re-do most of the mission all over again.
LEGO The Incredibles exceeded my expectations, as it contains a lot of fun to be had, plenty of variety throughout the levels and a dose of humour when needed. The roster is jam packed with exciting characters that possess every single ability you can think of, and the bonus Pixar ones are the icing on the cake. It’s a little bit on the short side though and the free-roam activities get tedious rather swiftly. The bugs are a real hassle too, but if you get past those, then there’s a very enjoyable game here and the collectibles will keep you going for hours.
If you like the films, then a purchase of LEGO The Incredibles is highly recommended.