Lego Legends Of Chima: Laval’s Journey PS Vita review – Kiddie-friendly block ‘n’ roll
Don’t worry if the title’s left you baffled. If, like me, you’re less-than-up on what’s currently down with the kids, you could be forgiven for not knowing in advance that Legends Of Chima is the Danish brick-peddler’s latest ‘theme’ of toys for parents to be pestered into purchasing. It’s also the latest block-based outing from Traveller’s Tales, combining familiar staples from games past – platforming and puzzling, with a dash of combat for good measure – into a handheld offering that’s fun for big kids as well as small, albeit in fewer ways.
Lego Legends Of Chima: Laval’s Journey PS3 review
So, to bring the adults up to speed: Chima is a land populated by tribes of anthropomorphic minifig animals, and you take control of heroic lion Laval and his pals in a bid to wrestle the Triple Chi Armour from dastardly croc Cragger, who’s bound to use it for unwholesome ends. While none of the elements comprising your adventure prove too challenging – this is a game aimed squarely at children, after all – they are neatly integrated and give you plenty of cause to use multiple characters’ abilities.
One section, for instance, sees you rearranging parts of library shelving using eagle Eris’ ability to transport power between switches, while others have you using Laval’s roar to shatter sturdier segments of your environment. Character-switching with the shoulder buttons is seamless, and they’re each different enough to make doing so feel worthwhile.
Combat, again, never overwhelms. It’s snappy enough, especially with Lion-O’s – sorry, Laval’s – sword to smash up foes. If you’ve gathered up enough of the Chi Droplets scattered about, you can also ‘Chi up’ for stronger attacks. You’re never rushed by more than a few goons at once, and Arkham-esque lightning bolts handily indicate who’s about to attack. As usual in Lego games, respawns are both instant and barely punished – a double-edged sword that keeps things light on both frustration and consequence.
The main problem, however, is that if you’re not already familiar with the Legends Of Chima franchise then Laval’s Journey is bereft of the Lego games’ greatest appeal: seeing beloved characters shrunk down into adorably blocky miniature form. It’s still entertaining in a scenery-smashing, stud-collecting way, but lacks the sheer joy of familiarity contained in the likes of the Harry Potter and Batman outings.
Laval-loving kids will doubtless hoover up the thousands of collectible studs on offer with all the greed of Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s factory. While adults may well still enjoy the running, jumping and turning everything in sight to rubble, some of the magic is lost on those of us grown-ups who’d never otherwise visit Chima.