More of the TT Lego action that fans love.
By Robert Marrujo:: The LEGO Ninjago Movie Game surprised me. While it's not at the same level of some of the premier entries in the series, like LEGO City Undercover or LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, it's a still a fun time to be had. It has some issues with pacing and load times, but for the most part Ninjago had me wanting to return to stages to find more secrets and uncover more of the game.
Ninjago acts as something of an advertisement for the movie by interspersing clips from the film throughout the campaign. Overall, the whimsical, funny tone of the movie carries over to the game, thanks in no small part to the talented writing team at TT. If you've played a LEGO game before, you know the sort of humor that Ninjago provides, which is a good thing.
One area where predictability does not help this game, however, is the somewhat bland level design. Each stage looks pretty enough with quality lighting and character models, but none of the set pieces are all that engaging. I felt a sense of samey-ness (or redundancy, to use a real word) as I traversed each locale, which was something of a letdown. Still, the combat more than made up for this. While it leans more towards button-mashing, I still really liked the fluidity and speed of dispatching foes.
I would say, however, that the mandatory pauses required to upgrade a character were a momentum killer. At the same time, though, I suspect that TT anticipated that this would be a game geared towards a younger crowd, meaning the team wanted to make sure that players wouldn't neglect to take advantage of powering up their collection of digital minifigs. Ultimately, being able toggle this feature on or off would have been a much more serviceable solution.
There are a couple of areas beyond where momentum is further slaughtered, namely at load screens and during portable 2-player co-op. Moving between sections can take up to 30 seconds, which isn't the biggest problem but can make playing the game a slog. Ninjago's co-op, meanwhile, is a solid inclusion, as the incorporation of another person into the proceedings amps up the fun by quite a bit. However, this feature works best in TV mode, as played in portable mode the framerate dips beyond a reasonable level. It's also a little hard to keep track of the action on the small screen of a Switch.
Overall, Ninjago is a fun, if sleight, experience that will please fans of the movie and toys, but likely leave older and/or more seasoned players out in the cold. It can be glitchy at times, but the combat is fun, co-op works on a TV, and the humor injected by the cutscenes is solid. I can't say this is a game for everyone, but anyone wanting a TT LEGO fix could do worse than to pick up Ninjago.
SCORE: 7.5/10 (GOOD)
Positives: Funny writing; sound if simple combat; graphics are pretty; 2-player co-op in TV mode.
Negatives: Long load times; glitchy; framerate issues at time; 2-player co-op in portable mode.
Binx was provided with a copy of this game by a third party for review purposes, but this in no way impacted our recommendation. For every review, Binx.News uses a standard criteria.