With the recent release of The LEGO Ninjago Movie in theaters, it’s pretty obvious that a videogame adaptation would be released alongside it. Since this is one of the many videogame adaptations based on a LEGO movie, there are things that many fans have been clamoring to know – that’s whether or not the game has something new to offer. Fortunately, Traveller’s Tale manages to craft a fun LEGO game for all, despite its flaws.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Videogame is a game based on the movie of the same name. For LEGO fans who have already watched the movie, they might have a hard time enjoying the game as the plot is pretty much in-line with the movie. While that may be a bad thing, the game somehow manages to capture the humor and the atmosphere on some of the game’s cutscenes, which is derived from the movie itself. For those who have not watched the movie, players will play as the famed Ninjas of Ninjago as they defend their city from Lord Garmedon. Players will play through several levels based on the movie locales. For those expecting a meaty story, this game doesn’t have it as it’s pretty much light-hearted and can be dragging as you are nearing the end. The only thing that makes the game’s story worth seeing are the funny moments.
When it comes to the gameplay, fans will be have a lot of fun especially in the field of combat. Similar to the combat of Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games, the famed Ninjas of Ninjago are now able to execute a few combo variations. Some Ninjas that you get to play as can perform acrobatic maneuvers making the combat somewhat satisfying. The combos that the Ninjas get to execute are from varied martial art styles. From a few art styles, my favorite is the Stinging Bee or the Rushing Boar. In addition to the combos, the enemies AI are more smarter where they will block your movies if they notice you have been using the same moves.
To even further make the combos more deadly, players can purchase upgrades from the skill tree available. By using ‘Ninjanuity Tokens’ that are acquired by doing certain activities in-game, players are able to buy numerous upgrade that varies from increasing the overall damage or causing enemies to erupt in a fountain of studs upon death.
Aside from story missions, there are other things that you can do in the game and that includes exploring through the areas you already unlocked and do sidequests. With many characters that you can unlock, each of them have their own specific powers that you can use to uncover certain things in the game. As you unlock more characters in-game, it’s recommended that you go back to the previous areas that you’ve already been through as there’s a chance a new path might show up, opening access to further new content.
There are a lot areas that you can explore in Ninjago. In fact, the several areas that you get to unlock as you play through the story are all open-world. With several sidequests tucked in every corner of the map, you will find a lot of things to do in the game, especially if you are into gathering all collectibles. For someone like me who has played several LEGO games in the past, uncovering these collectibles are fun as it gives more excitement to the overall gameplay and of course adds a ton of replayability. In the case of Ninjago, it’s the same and those completionists out there will be pleased to know that this game has a tons of collectibles to gather.
In majority of the LEGO games that has been released, there’s always a co-op mode available. In this Ninjago game, it’s also available and the drop-in and drop-out feature is always nice as anyone can easily join you at anytime. Playing with a friend is fun, especially when trying to tackle a puzzle or just simply smashing your way through blocks that are destructible and collecting the coins. If there’s one gripe that I have in co-op, it’s how annoying the camera angle is. You will mostly find yourself in an environment that you can’t simply adjust the camera, which can be very annoying.
Speaking of puzzles, there’s a decent amount that can be found in this game. The majority of them are quite easy and involves smashing nearby objects into pieces and subsequently building them to build others to reach new areas or at least beat the boss. Unfortunately, the puzzles found in this game doesn’t feel that challenging and the overall puzzle design is just uninspired and not really innovative.
Performance-wise, the game runs somewhat subpar on the Nintendo Switch. When played in handheld mode, there are hiccups to be expected and it’s mostly on the frame rate. In the many in-game moments where the game can get quite messy on-screen due to a lot of things going on at the same, you will see a drop in the frame rate, even when playing in docked mode. Frankly, it really kills the excitement and fun when the frame rate drops in an intense boss fights. As for the visuals, the game looks okay on handheld mode. The visual fidelity isn’t that concise and rough edges can be seen throughout the game. In docked mode, the game gets a slight boost in frame rate but the problem in dropped frame rate happens a lot of times. In load times, the game loads fairly quickly in docked mode compared when playing in handheld mode.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie video game offers a refreshing new take on the combat system, allowing a variety of combos similar to Arkham games. However, that doesn’t stop it from having problems. Performance issues are common while playing the Switch version, along with weak puzzles. The story also drags at time, making it hard to get into. While these flaws impact the experience, it doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable journey, assuming you can overlook some of these flaws.
[Editor’s Note: The LEGO Ninjago Movie Videogame was reviewed on Nintendo Switch. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]The LEGO Ninjago Movie Videogame Review,