LEGO Builder’s Journey PS5 Review. I can say without doubt that Lego Builder’s Journey is the most authentic Lego experience of all. It’s a Lego game that fully understands what makes Lego building a timeless activity, and translates it into a narrative-led puzzle game with surprising ease.
As faithful as Lego games generally are to creating a sense of what Lego does best (build things), the focus is nearly always about going bigger and broader. You only have to see the recent Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga to note it featured a ridiculous amount of collectables and a multitude of planets to visit. Lego Worlds had a creative streak, but that was trying to be more like Minecraft than it was a representation of the popular Danish toy.
LEGO Builder’s Journey Review (PS5) – The Most Authentic LEGO Experience Of All
A Wordless Story Filled With Creativity
In Lego Builder’s Journey, there’s a simplicity to the setup that gives players more of the intimate side of the act of plastic brick-building. Its wordless story tells of key parts of the Lego experience. Finding creative solutions with the tools at hand, plus the importance of parental influence and interaction.
The levels are presented as dioramas entirely made of Lego pieces, and tend to see the player tasked with getting a character from Point A to Point B by assembling loose pieces into makeshift paths. What struck me most was just how realistic the levels look, and as a result, how the game aspect of the package works as a great stand in for the imagination of play.
By eschewing any environment not made of plastic pieces, there’s a consistent and believable look to the whole thing. It certainly helps that Ray Tracing adds so much to a simple aesthetic
Far from being static, the levels have a little bit of magic to them where ‘water’ will flow, and pathways will crumble. It’s done in such a way that it doesn’t violate the structure and integrity of the developer’s vision, but adds some subtle stardust that is very much in keeping with how Lego is perceived.
Builder’s Journey is a Lego game that trusts the player to use some of their own imagination and interact with the experience in exactly the same way you would if presented with the same task in physical brick form.
Solid Puzzles That Get Progressively More Complex Throughout
The puzzles themselves are the best example of this. They start relatively simple and become more fiendishly complex as the story progresses, but there’s no one solution for any of them. You’re given a certain set of extra bricks to play with on any given level, a handful of places to put them, and are unable to interact with the rest of the diorama, which keeps some focus on the job at hand.
From there, however, you can put the pieces together in all manner of ways to solve the puzzle, and that actually helps alleviate a lot of potential frustration with hitting a stumbling block, because playing about with the blocks is in itself an enjoyable task.
What isn’t so good for frustration levels though is how fiddly a lot of interactions can feel on a controller. Pieces soft snap onto areas before you commit to firmly pushing them in place, and this leads to moments where the piece you’re trying to put down flits to a spot nearby by virtue of its proximity. Thankfully there’s not much in the way of time constraints to make this an aggravating problem.
All the same, I much prefer not having the feeling of assembling tiny Lego pieces with ham hands. I get enough of that in reality.
Creative Mode Gives You Reason To Continue After The Story Ends
Anyway, while that does pour a bit of gray water into a colourful bucket of bricks, there’s still so much to admire in what’s been made here. The serene pace, the tranquil soundtrack, the freedom to experiment in small ways, they all replicate the best parts of putting together Lego in bite-sized portions.
I really cannot stress enough how far this understanding carries Builder’s Journey from quaint puzzler to something more meaningful.
Once the story is out of the way, there’s a humble creative mode that takes the idea even further, allowing players to casually build their own personal dioramas without the mess and threat to bare feet of real bricks.
Again, the fiddly controls muddle this a bit, but it’s honestly a lovely thing to tinker with and have a nice, relaxing time making little models. It also does that most important of things: it made me want to go build little things with Lego for real. I don’t think there’s a better advert for that experience than Builder’s Journey.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.
LEGO Builder’s Journey is out now for PS5 and PS4.