We had a look at the latest Lego MMO offering on the market, this time from Funcom and available to play now in open beta.
How does it fare? Does it stand up on proud plastic legs or sink like a brick?
Ideas In Time
Ideas have the right time to come. Some ideas change the way we play games, some ideas never quite gain traction. One current idea in gaming that doesn’t seem to have moved on is the idea of collectible figures that allow you to play another character in your game. Prime amongst this would be Skylanders if not Disney Infinity. You buy your little toy, you use the character in the game, life is presumably good.
Lego Minifigures themselves as a collectible line have been around for the last four years and come out in series groupings of around 16 different collectible little folk. What better thing to marry to a video game concept than that? As a result in the Lego Minifigures Online game you currently can play as any of the figures from Series 9 or Series 10 if you have unlocked them.
With the game set to be available on Windows, iOS and Android, this means that anyone can play anywhere they have a connection. Further to that Funcom have announced that as well as unlocking the characters in the game, people who collect the bagged Minifigures will eventually find codes in the packs that allow them to unlock those same models online.
Is this then the Lego MMO idea whose time has come?
Everything is Awesome
Lego Minifigures Online plays out like your child’s first Diablo crawl. Click to move around the world in the same dungeon crawling view you have come to know and expect, find something or someone worth smashing and get to business. Admittedly… while fun, I wonder if the now defunct Lego Universe would have found a greater audience in the wake of the Lego Movie than Lego Minifigures Online. Who can say for sure? The undeniable appeal of collecting and a small, cheerful, safe space for parents and children to play in is a powerful combo.
So how does it play?
You have a team of three minifigures. Initially you must choose from between three packs of three for your starting characters and work through a clever little tutorial table showing the minifigs going about their business in what clearly is the best Lego stocked basement in the universe. Left click is a basic attack with right click being a special move that usually requires some cooldown.
Beyond that if you are looking for complexity, then you might be looking in the wrong place. There are some decisions to be made; do you want to focus on offense, defense and creativity. Different minifigs are better at different things. You could have a team of three strikers and build up your offensive power or maybe try something a bit more balanced. There is a levelling up system as well as a method to boost your power, but don’t expect intense theory crafting here. Remember what age this is aimed at.
Ages 8+ Recommended
On the age issue, we need to talk safety. This is less the game for people like me and more a game for people like me who have kids. Parents who might want to get their kids into MMO gaming or perhaps just enjoy the idea of people playing Lego together online as well as off. In that neither Lego nor Funcom are failing you in any fashion.
Character names are assigned through a random combination of three word wheels, a system that was also present in Lego Universe prior to your character there being granted its name. While yes this means you are limited in name choices somewhat, it means that Magic Squirrel Ninja is just as anonymous as Adorable Strange Nomad. Chat too is limited only to subscribers and fitted with the Crisp Thinking chat filtering and monitoring system. So between the watchful minders and the fact that you either need to pay for a subscription or grind out a lot of diamonds to earn a months access to chat, children will be well looked after.
Of course where you have a game designed for children and an in game store, people worry. How many times have we seen the news stories about Junior racking up a few thousand euros worth of damage on an iPhone app? Parents will have access to the child’s Lego ID which is used for play, so that’s one step in the right direction to keep costs down. The other is the aforementioned subscription option.
Subscriptions come in three flavors. 1 Month for €6.99, 6 Months for €34.99 or a full year for €49.99. The various benefits to each can be found here and aren’t too bad.
In my time playtesting I suppose the only thing that I found myself wanting a subscription for would be the Pocket Adventures. Little extra dungeons scattered on your path, I am sure that parents will soon find their darling little MMO players begging for the subscription if only so they can gain access. Are they worth it? I haven’t brought myself to pay for them just yet, having been content laser blasting ghost pirates instead.
This is all my opinion though. My view on if Lego Minifigures Online is worth it or not. If it’s a worthy Lego game or not. I am absolutely not the target audience. With that in mind, I thought it best to reach out to someone a bit more talented and skilled than myself. After all if you want proper games journalism, you go to the people in the know. You find people with a passion for the property and knowledge of it.
It also helps if they’re inside they’re well…. younger than I am. Without further ado, I give you the last word on Lego Minifigures Online.
The Most Important Review
Pure awesome! I liked being able to choose my characters and their unique special attacks. I battled with other mini figures plus monsters. Health potions made battle much better and kept me from dying as much. All the characters and bad guys were super cool but I didn’t like having to wait when I died.
A Note To Editors and ReadersBeta, Kids, LEGO, LEGO Minifigures Online, Preview