Who would have thought that it would fall to LEGO to save the movie tie-in video game?
It doesn’t seem so long ago that Hollywood viewed games as brand extensions – like lunch boxes or T-shirts. This meant developers were giving precious little time to make decent games, which in turn meant most movie tie-ins sucked.
Then LEGO and UK developer Traveller’s Tales arrived and the game changed. Using the former’s cute veneer and the latter’s simple template, the LEGO game library includes some of the biggest film franchises on the planet – Star Wars, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter among them.
Now Pixar’s The Incredibles has been added to the list.
If you’ve ever picked up a LEGO game in your life, you’ll know exactly what to expect here, as Traveller’s Tales subsidiary, TT Fusion, has take a very ‘If-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it’ approach to development. The action is split between a story mode and a central hub filled with collectibles.
In the story, and players are greeted with a cutscene, after which they progress by smashing up the scenery and enemies, building LEGO structures and solving the odd puzzle. In the central hub, they’ll essentially smash more scenery and enemies while searching for collectibles to unlock more content.
The main story is based on the event in both films and wisely starts with the sequel, since this is the reason most punters will pick up a copy of the game. The plot centres on Elasta-Girl and her attempts to stop a villain called Screenslaver, who is brainwashing heroes using their phones, TVs and tablets.
It’s here that tons of new characters are introduced to the player and all of them are shot through with the charm and humour the LEGO series is renowned for. Players head into a level with two characters and they use their different abilities to solve puzzles and progress.
If you stick to the main story you’ll clock LEGO The Incredibles in about six to eight hours, but explore every piece of content the game you’ll likely be going until spring. There are loads of puzzles to solve, collectibles to find and you can even unlock characters from other Pixar properties to boot.
The visuals in the different levels are fantastic. One, for example takes place on top of a hover-train, with scenery zipping past the camera. Another involves saving a politician from a burning airplane as the backdrop falls apart. It’s scenes like these that really give players a sense they are in their own little Pixar action flick. The second half of the game, which follows the events of the first film and The Incredibles’ battle with Syndrome, suffers a little from lousy pacing but is still a lot of fun to play.
The game’s biggest appeal – as is the case with all LEGO games – is that it is easy to pick up and play regardless of one’s age. This really is a game for the whole family and it’s likely to keep kids playing with their parents as the cold months stretch on.