Games Gazette Logo

The Official Notes:
In The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game, players battle their way through waves of enemies with honour and skill as their favourite ninjas Lloyd, Nya, Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Master Wu to defend their home island of Ninjago from the evil Lord Garmadon and his Shark Army. To do so, they must master the art of Ninjagility which allows them to traverse Ninjago by wall-running, high-jumping and battling the foes of Ninjago to rank up and upgrade the ninja s combat skills. Players can harness the power of Spinjitzu combat to defend Ninjago together. The game features eight large, action-packed locations based on the story of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie. Each location includes its own unique Challenge Dojo where players can put their combat skills to the test and battle with increasingly tougher enemies. And with Battle Maps, players can go up against their friends and family in four different game modes, with competitive split-screen local gameplay for up to four players.

Online from £15.00 

As an 'older' person LEGO has been around for all of my life, in fact it began just before I was born. I have seen it change from being just a children's building game to being almost a forgotten toy, until someone had the idea to create 'board' games using LEGO pieces. Unfortunately the folk who designed the LEGO 'board' games went for simplistic game mechanics and aimed their games at younger children; fortunately, the core board gamers with families took the games to heart and encouraged LEGO to expand further afield. Suddenly the shops were filled with LEGO products, games, franchise box sets, starter kits, computer and console games and eventually the superb LEGO DIMENSIONS, which for reasons unknown to the millions who bought it they dropped like a hot cake just when it could have gone to greater heights (how many of us Lego Dimension players were hoping for Star Wars or Indiana Jones sets, after all LEGO have some type of licences for those as seen by the stand-alone Lego 'adventure' games for them.

Anyway, as I was saying, Lego grew up and outwards and one of the most popular sets with today's kids is 'Ninjago' something I had never heard of until Master Wu, Cole, Jay, Kai and the Ninja Team became a major part of Lego Dimensions.

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie PS4 game is another in the long line of Movies turned into games. There is the LEGO Movie, LEGO Batman, LEGO Jurassic Park, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Star Wars etc etc.

On a 55 inch HD TV and using the power of the Sony PS4 LEGO NINJAGO is a manic, non-stop action adventure filled with typical Lego game style puzzles. All the way through you are goaded by the evil Lord Garmadon (complete with evil pantomime bad-guy's laugh) as you fight, run and jump your way from scene to scene encountering high walls, long jumps and of course the Shark Army.

Unlike what I, and many others I am sure, thought, LEGO NINJAGO is not based on an Asian animated TV show, in fact the Cartoon Animated show is Canadian-Danish and based on the LEGO figures from the world of 'Ninjago'.

After the excitement of the fighting off the Shark Army units as they come at you in numbers there are the end of level style combat puzzles to solve as you work out how to defeat Lord Garmadon's massive multi-weaponised machines, and dragon-mechs. 

Many of the scenes in this Movie-Game are direct cuts (or exact duplications) of parts of the film itself. The game also follows the movie plot by having a group of friends, joung trainee Ninjas, find themselves as the only heroes available to take on Lord Garmadon who is intent on taking over and ruling the Land of Ninjago.

Being Ninjas, young or not, television and movies have programmed our brains into believing that Ninjitsu, Karate and Kung-Fu, among other martial arts, are going to be prominent in the action, and our thoughts are not wrong. Watching Lego figures performing martial-arts is brilliant, so amusing and so much fun, especially when you are controlling every leap, jump, punch, swirl and kick.

As with all (or at least the majority) of LEGO games (including Lego Dimensions) the characters get to beat the heck out of just about everything, from lamp-posts and flowers, to vehicles and ... well, so many things. As things are demolished they let loose a flourish of mini Lego pieces which you collect to use as coinage of a kind. Mostly the pieces bobble on the ground and then evaporate into the air but occasionally some are left on the ground; when this happens your characters get to build something. You never have an option as to what they build but as you would expect it is usually something that is required for the next episode or to get you into the next episode.

To keep this game one step ahead of its predecessors in the Lego Console game world the characters have a few new special moves, especially in melee, that include grabbing, hoisting and throwing opponents. Disintegrating adversaries Lego-style is always good fun, though thankfully getting dismantled yourself isn't too much of a bother as you quickly reappear all brand sparkly new and ready to get straight back into it.

Then there are the upgrades which gain your characters better skills - by collecting Tokens and Studs - rapidly enhancing your heroes and making you want to go back after the game end to discover and complete parts you will almost undoubtedly have missed or failed to finish in your quest to the end.

In the 'real' world children (mostly) pay £2.00-£3.00 (or more) to purchase Blind-Bags which contain a LEGO figure, unknown until the bag is opened. Within this game there are 100 of these Blind Bags (aka Easter Eggs) which are available as rewards through the use of your fighting skills. When you are awarded one of these you gat to see the 'bags' actually open themselves and the 'surprise' mini that you have rescued, as such, tumbles out.

Solo play is, in my opinion, the best way to play, though like other LEGO games there is the opportunity for another player to drop in and out without disrupting your game with the exception of there now being a 2-part split screen. The way Lego handle split-screens is so much better than the old way of years ago as there is now much more flexibility.

The NINJAGO WORLD Characters: (thanks to Wikipedia)

Protagonists

Antagonists

Basically this is a LEGO action game like all of the LEGO action games, only better than most (by content), but of course everyone will have their favourites. I truly enjoyed many of the console productions, including the Batman and Harry Potter games immensely, and recently the INCREDIBLES kept me stuck on the sofa with PS4 controller in hand, fingers furiously working on the mini sticks and buttons. 

NINJAGO CITY looks, from a distance and top down angle, like an expertly stacked number of Licorice Allsorts, but don't let that bother you as your ninjitsu, spinjitsu cast along with Lord Garmadon's Shark Army, can easily turn much of it into an amateur building site.

You wouldn't have read this far if you didn't already like LEGO games, so let me just say that there is nothing in this game that will change your mind about them, but there is plenty to enthuse about. Never complicated, often obvious, sometimes mind-boggling, always fun. 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015