With the world of LEGO dominating the video game market with numerous adaptations of beloved properties, a venture based on The Incredibles films seems like a natural fit. With The Incredibles 2 out in cinemas, you may think that LEGO’s “cash grab” tactics may be at play here. Well, you would be terribly mistaken. LEGO The Incredibles takes various mechanics, visuals and an overall sense of charm gained from previous LEGO titles, culminating in one of the more engaging and nostalgic experiences I’ve had in quite some time.
Now, let’s get this out of the way. I grew up with The Incredibles. I grew up on LEGO. Now that these two properties have collided, I was worried that at an older age, I wasn’t going to connect with this particular experience. LEGO The Incredibles is loosely based on both the first and second films, retelling the overall story while deviating in the form of open worlds and multiple side missions. An obvious downside of the title is that while it may not be a completely accurate retelling, enough is explained here that may spoil the second film, so without blatantly promoting The Incredibles 2 itself, I would recommend seeing that first. An issue like that, I can forgive. However, LEGO The Incredibles oddly and inexplicably tells it’s story backwards, forcing to to finish the story of the second film before playing through the events of the first film. It’s an issue I honestly could not even begin to understand, as the events of the second film cap off the first so gracefully.
A small positive however is that the events of each film flow nicely at the time, it’s just a shame they aren’t placed in their original order. In addition to this, the story is told via dialogue taken straight from the films, which is always a nice touch. Players will find themselves taking on super villains, while encouraging team work and puzzle solving that’s held together by the Incredible charm (no pun intended) these games carry along with them. Blending a linear narrative along with open world segments introduced in the vaguely similar LEGO Marvel Superheroes games, there’s a lot to unpack here, and a lot more to love. While the open world may not be an entirely original or functional idea, developer Traveller’s Tales should be applauded to attempting to expand The Incredibles universe in such a way that allows kids to live out their fantasies of fighting crime with their favourite Disney/Pixar characters. It seems that side missions never go beyond rushing to a location to beat up some bad guys, which is a shame because side missions soon became errands that left the world feeling a little lackluster as a result.
Mechanically speaking, LEGO The Incredibles is solid. It seems unfortunate that the more LEGO tries to innovate and explore, the less they can do before completely destroying the formula altogether, following the classic saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In that sense, it’s hard to pick on a game that’s aimed at a much younger audience than myself (although I consider myself a big kid), as the game intentionally keeps things basic in order to compensate. Co-op play is back with signature drop in/drop out gameplay, and while the puzzles themselves aren’t brain busting, the feeling of progressing with a buddy comes with its own sense of fun. It’s hard to say I was ever bored with the mechanics themselves, but at this point in time, let’s just say these LEGO games know what works at this point in time. In saying that, there is a ton of variety in aspects such as locales, stages and playable characters. Boasting over 100 playable characters from both films and beyond, players can explore each character in free play and free roam, allowing players to mess around, and even take those newly unlocked characters back to previous stages in order to access new sections, thanks to a character’s super power.
While LEGO games are known for their extensive roster, LEGO The Incredibles seems to use this in their favour, as no character seems truly unnecessary. For example, the LEGO Star Wars games included useless droids that all functioned the same as seperate characters. Here, there’s a sense of individuality to each super hero that makes players create and visualise a world of super heroes that in turn helps build the world of the movie. It can also be noted that while some characters do function similar and some will of course be more popular than others, it’s hard to criticise LEGO for at least trying to extend the boundaries of a particular universe.
While LEGO The Incredibles remains similar to its predecessors, some elements fit here better than previous LEGO titles. The create-a-character aspect works as well as you would think, given the ability to create your very own superhero, which I found undeniably funny when fighting next to the Parr family. Mystery character packs also have a place in LEGO The Incredibles, which adds a nice touch to the collectors aspect that comes with a roster of more than 100 unlockable characters.
Overall, LEGO The Incredibles is a solid entry into the LEGO games library. But beyond the nostalgia and accessible mechanics, the games falters with a backwards sense of story telling and an open world that’s initially interesting, before succumbing to a repetitive mission structure. You may think i hate this game but I really don’t. The positives far outweigh the negatives, thanks to an extensive character roster, engaging and varied story missions and a charm that only LEGO can provide. Plus, it’s time for me to start realising that these games while aimed at a general audience are in fact marketed at a much younger audience, in which things must be accounted for. While not “Incredible”, it’s hard to deny the experience as a LEGO game worth playing.
Score: 7 out of 10
Highlights: Solid gameplay mechanics, co-op is still fun, filled with that classic LEGO charm
Lowlights: Oddly structured story, repetitive open world mission structure
Developer: Traveller’s Tales, TT Fusion, TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
Review conducted on PlayStation 4 with retail code provided by the publisher.