Bricktales: First Impressions [Guest review]

A few months ago now, we announced the forthcoming arrival of BrickTales, a Physics puzzler from Thunderful games. Release is coming up on October 12th and we were fortunate to be given the opportunity to take a look at the game, pre-release. Its been a busy few weeks, so I passed the Keys on this one over to our in-house games Reviewer, Harry .

Here are his First Impressions of the Game Play

For those who, like myself, find time to be at a premium, I’ll cut to the chase: it’s a pretty good game. It’s a game I’ll probably keep playing even now that this article is written, which is more than I can say for some of the other games that Ramblingbrick’s asked me to play over the last year or two, naming no names. You are the grandchild of a Doc Brown-esque eccentric inventor, who has requested your help with a science experiment. He announces he’s invented technology that can create portals through space, and as soon as his little helper bot goes through to test it, the machine blows up. The robot then teleports back, announcing that it’s spent hundreds of years travelling through space with an alien species that gave it upgrades, and it’s come back to help. 

The plot is a bit flimsy, but it’s also not what you’re there for; it exists to provide context for the LEGO building puzzles and given the strength of that core gameplay, I’m willing to let that slide. The dialogue goes for a comedic tone which at times veers towards being slightly annoying, like the running gag at the start about how Professor Grandpa is actually kind of thick and it’s the robot who does all the intellectual heavy lifting, but I’m not ashamed to admit that a few of the jokes made me laugh; the bit where an archaeologist gives you a whip and says they’re a must-have for “indies” springs to mind. 

screenshots from Bricktales

The gameplay is the real draw, though: You traipse through the linear level path in a gorgeously detailed, brick built environment with your customizable minifigure protagonist, and whenever you reach an obstacle that needs to be solved by building something, you press the contextual button prompt, and it transports you to a little LEGO instruction booklet pocket dimension.

You’re given a limited selection of bricks to build a staircase or a bridge or a ski-lift or whatever; when you’re done, a little robot comes along to test out whatever it is you’ve built, and as long as it doesn’t break apart, as if it’s been subjected to the Annoying-Little-Brother-of-Legend, you get transported back to the level with whatever you’ve built. I found the building mechanic to be reasonably intuitive, with the in-game tutorial providing enough guidance to succeed.

You’re then given the option to do it again but without the brick limits and with a bunch more types available to pretty it up, but given it’s a linear path and unless you’re the type to go collectable hunting you aren’t likely to be coming back I didn’t see much point in bothering; this is likely a feature that the LEGO fans will get more use out of, I suspect. I have a few nitpicks on the gameplay front; firstly, it’d be nice if the camera would let you see the underside of what you’ve built so if you need to fiddle with the supporting structure, you don’t have to either do it effectively blindfolded or remove large chunks and build it again. Secondly, the robot sometimes has a habit of getting stuck on the geometry of whatever you’ve built for no discernible reason. 

One of the first puzzles in the jungle section requires you to build a bridge between two points, which I dutifully did. When I went to test it though, the robot kept getting stuck on seemingly traversable space until I removed a plate from the bottom, which shouldn’t have affected its movement at all. The character movement overall feels a touch janky – steppy as you climb up the steplike terrain, though to be fair given the entire world is built out of LEGO and as such the characters are constantly moving slightly up and down planes this isn’t unexpected; if I had to make an educated guess, I’d say that the walking animations don’t necessarily account for the terrain, hence the slight lurching in movement animations in the overworld and occasional issues with what it will recognize as an acceptable shift in height when building.

Nitpicks aside, when Rambling Brick asked me to cover this game, he gave me two questions to consider; would Johnny Game Enjoyer like this game, and would Jane Lego Enjoyer like it? Having played through for the first hour and a half, I’m inclined to say that there’s enough of a challenge in the puzzles to keep the non-LEGO fan gamers satisfied, and the LEGO building mechanics and world are integral to the experience rather than just a coat of paint, which should satisfy the LEGO fans who don’t typically play video games. 

Thank you Harry: I look forward to looking at this a little closer, if only for purly recreational reasons in coming months. The game will be released on October 12th on XBox, Playstation, Switch and PC. Thank you for the team at Thunderful/planofattack for providing us with the opportunity to bring you this early review the game.

Are you curious about this? you can also watch the final pre-release trailer here:

I’d love to know your feelings about this. From what I have seen in trailers and screenshots so far, I would love to see some sets associated with the game, or certainly MOCs inspired by it over the next few months. why don’t you leave your comments below, and until next time…..

Play Well!

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