Tag: board games

LEGO Builder’s Journey

Developer: Light Brick Studio, Light Brick AS
Publisher: The Lego Group
Music: Hendrik Lindstrand
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X & S, iOS, PC (Windows & Mac)
Released: 20th December 2019
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Indie

Now you might be thinking, “Oh, a LEGO game similar to the likes of Harry Potter or Star Wars” well you’d be wrong this little gem is a small-time indie development that differs greatly from other games in the LEGO franchise. This story follows a father and son depicted in LEGO where they go on an adventure in a series of different stages using the ability of building LEGOs to reach their destinations. There are no subtitles or dialog to follow, simply the story is told throughout gameplay using its environment to illustrate each challenge and using beautiful level design to instruct the player how to overcome each stage.

There are many different levels with different themes, such as hoping along beaches, climbing mountains, navigating swamp lands as well as some dark industrial style levels. You play as both the parent and child using your third-party abilities to move LEGO pieces around the scene to help build bridges, steps, or make shift ramps to get each character to the end of the puzzle. Some levels are more difficult than others but overall, there is no incorrect way to solve them just the limit of you LEGO building imagination.

LEGO Builder’s Journey is a 3D puzzle platformer that is very kind on the player. LEGO is about building and creating solutions with your imagination and this block building brilliance allows you exactly that. With each puzzle you encounter you are free to move pieces where and how you like. With very intuitive block moving and placing mechanics the game feels smooth and intentional. As you progress through, levels can become a little more challenging with the introduction of sinking mud, larger gaps to cover, weight scales and not to mention some levels that involve making a skate track for your character to ride on.

I played LEGO Builder’s Journey on the Nintendo Switch and found the controls to feel really intuitive, you can even use the touch screen when in handheld mode, my only issue was that you have to use the A button to both rotate and place pieces. The UI is minimalistic and innocuous, I actually consider the UI to be my overall favourite aspect of the game it felt really kind on the user, it also felt totally natural when moving through the main menu as well as understanding narrative without any dialog. I found that the tutorial parts of the game where enhanced buy this seamless UI experience. The UI design is simply phenomenal.

There is exclusively one gameplay mode which is the story, with the PC version of LEGO Builder’s Journey has a couple more levels than the Nintendo Switch version if end up looking for more content, which could happen given that the gameplay time was roughly 2 hours in total. I must say that LEGO Builder’s Journey could definitely have benefited from being much longer as it was kind of sad that the moment, I was getting right into it, it came to an end. In saying that each moment that I did spend in game was well and truly worth it, don’t let the short run time deter you from this fantastic indie experience.

The sound design is calming and simple, using delicate sound effects for each object you interact with as well as nice clinks and clunks from placing blocks. The score of music that plays in the background is the best kind for unwinding after a long day. The composer Hendrik Lindstrand has provided a beautiful soundscape for you to drift away on, as you place LEGO blocks the music gently guides you on your journey and really adds to that feeling of imagination and wonder that we all know and love about LEGO.

I must say that LEGO Builder’s Journey is blocktacular and beautiful. With subtle and effective UI too delightfully calm music, it really is a short and sweet adventure. From around $20 on the Nintendo eShop and $30 on Steam it maybe a little steep so keep an eye out for when it goes on special. Despite how short the duration of play is I found the story captivating and each level I played I was spurred on by the beautifully directed relationship between child and parent. What is LEGO without a heart-warming family building relationship? At least this one you don’t accidentally step on any bricks in the middle of the night… OW!

Games are popular, On Pause, and Trick or Treat

Video games more popular than Free-To-Air TV

A study conducted by Bond University’s regular Digital Australia report has revealed that 17 million Aussie’s play video games in some form. 5.5 million households own two or more dedicated game playing devices while 92% of Aussie homes own at least one gaming platform. This report has shown some pretty interesting information about the habits of Australian’s during the pandemic, mostly relating to gaming as a form of social connection with 76% of parents who were part of the study having played some form of video games with their children throughout. The average age of a video game player is now 35 and has steadily risen since the generation of Game Boy, NES, SNES, and PS1. And most interestingly is that while streaming TV/Movies is in the number one spot, Games is now in second place before free-to-air television in Australia. If you’d like to check out all the stats click here.

BlizzCon on ‘Pause’

The gaming giant Activision Blizzard has announced that they are currently putting their plans on hold for an online BlizzCon event in 2022. A spokesperson from Blizzard said, “Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, an entire-company effort, fuelled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much. At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.” BlizzCon 2020 and 2021 were both cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with next year’s BlizzCon on ‘pause’ it is speculated that the recent situation Blizzard has with the widespread discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit may be cause for delay relating to whether BlizzCon 2022 is going ahead. Blizzard also suggested that if the event was to return it would be a very different event from the ones we’re used to seeing.

Trick or Treat – Zed Games horror game suggestions for Halloween

Dead by Daylight – Available on all platforms Dead by Daylight is a four-person survival game with the goal of escaping a killer before daylight breaks. Four players take on the role of a survivor while one player hunts in a big one vs four multiplayer survival mode. This is a great game to play with friends and enjoy a heart pumping adrenaline fuelled action.

Phasmophobia – Available on PC and VR Phasmophobia is an investigative co-op horror game where you must work with your friends to identify the types of paranormal activity inside different locations. Tasked with four objectives you must complete, but do it quickly, because the longer you stay in the haunted house the more your sanity drops and the ghosts start to hunt you.

Little Nightmares II – Available on Nintendo Switch, PS, Xbox and PC, Little Nightmares II is a puzzle-platformer which is a little less terror and more spooky. You explore and solve puzzles in order to progress through the narrative as this little boy guided by a girl in an ominous yellow raincoat.

Resident Evil 4 VR – Available exclusively on the Oculus Quest and relive the arguably most terrifying Resident Evil game of them all in VR, almost certainly an experience filled with jump scares, screams, and pure terror.

Dead Space – And finally, a classic available on PC, Xbox, Switch and PC is Dead Space, looking for some regular old poop your pants kind of action this Halloween. Play this classic space horror  game, a single player campaign where you are in an interstellar mining ship exploring and unfolding the creepy story whilst fending off jump scares and terror from unknown extra-terrestrial forces.

This week in game releases:

Oct 28
• Age of Empires 4
• Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
• Plan B from Outer Space: A Bavarian Odyssey
• Riders Republic
• Sunshine Manor
• Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
Oct 29
• Mario Party Superstars
• Zombo Buster Rising
Nov 2
• Giants Uprising
• World War Z
Nov 3
• Bloodshore
• Time Loader