Consider, if you will, a perfectly constructed piece of furniture. Ornate and exquisitely carved, with minute designs etched into high-quality wood, this chair, this wardrobe, this bed hasn’t been created to break new ground, but to serve a specific purpose extremely well, and to look great doing it. In many ways, that’s analogous to the work of British developer Traveller’s Tales, who since 2005 have been increasingly focused on creating games in the Lego franchise.
Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Marvel Super Heroes…all of these games follow essentially the same formula, the same blueprint. The aesthetic and veneer might be different – you might be using Frodo to crawl into a space Gandalf can’t reach, or you might be flying Iron Man over a gap Captain America can’t cross – but essentially, these are light-hearted puzzle games with mild platforming and combat elements and a heavy emphasis on collectibles.
If you’re familiar with the Lego series, it won’t shock you to learn that TT’s latest offering, Lego The Incredibles, is cut from mostly the same plastic as its forebears. The game takes on both the story of the original 2006 The Incredibles and its recently-released (in the US, at least) sequel, although it makes the rather bizarre choice of starting off its campaign mode with the second movie rather than the first one.
That choice hobbles the game right out of the gate, unfortunately, because rearranging the stories like this cheapens the reveals and story beats of both tales. It’s very likely that the decision has been made in order to promote the far newer The Incredibles 2 above its less timely sibling, but a valuable lesson can be learned here about when to let narrative sense take the reins over financial greed.
That said, if you’re playing with your kids, or you are a kid yourself (or, like us, you have a weird affinity for the Lego series no matter how many of the games feel identical), the narrative choices will feel less important than the moment-to-moment gameplay. In this area, Lego The Incredibles is…aggressively fine. Again, it won’t come as a shock to you that Lego The Incredibles changes very little about its predecessors’ well-established recipe.
Perhaps that’s a little unfair. What the Lego games lack in complexity, they more than make up for with increasingly impressive scope. What began as a fairly straightforward romp through a much-loved film series in Lego Star Wars has become a series of huge open-world expeditions, and the love poured into each brick of Lego Marvel Super Heroes’ New York or Lego Batman 3’s Gotham City is absolutely on display here, too.
This time around, it’s the hub cities of New Urbem and Munciberg, each from one of the two movies, that serve as your exploration playground. There’s a frankly ridiculous amount to see and do in these two cities, so if you do like the core gameplay loop of Lego The Incredibles, you’ll be spending a while with it yet, completing its challenges and collecting its overwhelming amount of characters.