I’m generally not a fan of the Brawler genre, sorry “Platform Fighter Genre”, but LEGO Brawls has my attention. Partly because we love a bit of LEGO here at The Cottage, but also because it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Pitching up against the fan favourites like Smash Bros, All Stars or the more recent Multi-Versus, LEGO brawls had to bring something new. That comes in the form of family friendly LEGO brand humour and customisable mini figures.
Generally Platform Fighters can only go so far, the chaotic matches don’t really lend themselves to skilful play or progression. While the players growth cannot really be matched in upgrades to avoid an unfair imbalance. I firmly believe there is only so far you can go with the genre to keep the player on board. LEGO Brawls recognises that by not being ambitious or forcing you to buy unlocks.
Exit stage left pursued by a Dinosaur
LEGO Brawls comes with a few familiar settings and game modes. It’s all easy to pick up and the true constant is family friendly. LEGO fanatics will recognise the Ninjago, Jurassic Park and Space settings to mention a few. Most people will wonder why Vidiyo gets a look-in. Each of the themes have specific upgrades and weapons that are available, most notably the chance to control a T-Rex and stomp the plastic out of your enemies.
While there are not an exhaustive list of game modes, there are enough to be getting on with. The traditional Brawl, Last Man Standing, a play on Area Control and some Collectibles with twists. All straightforward and easy to pick up.
The gameplay is frenetic, but once you find your pace it’s quite fun. The health bars aren’t overly large, so a few whacks can take someone out. Not forgetting judicious use of powers will often help to turn the tide. While there are some level specific power ups, they all help in a squeeze. In a Rock, Paper, Scissors kind of way.
Play the Objective, take the Reward
Matches can turn on a dime, especially if you are trying to stay alive with a pile of collectibles for more than a minute or so. The key is to keep on the objective, not try to chase down the last person that knocked you off.
Winning matches means point and points mean prizes. Inevitably the nature of LEGO Brawls rewards the player with all manner of figure customisations. Each theme has its own list of unlockables to be opened up as you gain ‘experience’ for want of a better word. Not forgetting the general mini-figure unlocks that come from chests. As you level up you also get access to various Brawler characters, each with their own skills, also unlocked with experience.
That said, the charm and personality lie in the player being able to create their own character. Often a quick look at some new unlocks turns into a ten minute run of changing up your avatar again. Who doesn’t love a good mini-figure?
LEGO Brawls in summary
It’s a fun game with easy to pick up modes, the unlocks add a bit of excitement and simply plays well.
Some of the jumping may feel a touch ‘floaty’ and the basic attack is the same for everybody, but there is a simple replay value on offer here. The fact that the game is widely populated and cross play means that matches come thick and fast. I have no complaints trashing a roster full of Apple Arcade players, because I’m another few points closing to unlocking John Hammond.
It’s a Brawler, of course its shallow and while it feels like there’s something more to come, the game itself is a handy time-sink for a bit of mindless slapstick. Perfect to keep at hand when you need a diversion for ten minutes or while you wait for something bigger to download.