If you’re a LEGO fan – and if you’re here, of course you are – LEGO Brawls is an exciting concept.
A multiplayer combat game now available on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC, LEGO Brawls sees up to eight players battle it out to emerge victorious across a range of maps. Sometimes all eight competitors might be against each other in a free-for-all. Other times they might be split into two teams and need to battle for supremacy of a zone. Needless to say, while it might look like a Super Smash Bros. clone in screenshots, it’s actually fairly unique.
But ‘unique’ doesn’t equate to ‘good’. Unfortunately, the action found in LEGO Brawls is just too basic to even be fun in the short term, never mind the long term. Just three attacks are on offer, and these don’t change no matter which of LEGO Brawls‘ many characters you take control of. On top of that, mechanically it just doesn’t impress. Most battles just boil down to hammering the standard attack button and hoping for the best.
The only things that inject a bit of fun into LEGO Brawls‘ events are a number of special abilities that can be used. These range from shields that prevent you from taking damage for a short while, to conjuring up a dragon that you ride around the screen while firing fireballs. For just a moment, these can make LEGO Brawls somewhat entertaining. But they’re not enough to rescue it.
It’s a shame, too, because for LEGO fans, the fact there are nearly 250 minifigs to unlock and take control of here is a huge draw. A huge range of themes are included such as Knights, Jurassic Park, Pirates and even Ninjago. You can even choose a theme to concentrate your progress on, allowing you to unlock the minifigs you want to make use of first. And once you’ve unlocked a minifig, its parts and accessories are added to your pool, increasing your ability to create your own zany characters.
Again though, it’s just a bit silly that characters have nothing really to differentiate them apart from their looks. Whether they’re equipped with boxing gloves or a spear, for example, they still have the same attack range and power. On the one hand it keeps things fair, but ultimately it leads to gameplay that lacks depth and nuance.
In terms of modes, LEGO Brawls‘ primary offering is Brawl, which throws players into a random online match. This is the best way to make progress with regards to unlocking new minifigs and accessories, and there’s also a rank system which some will enjoy. Other than that, there’s simply a Party mode, which allows players to create matches with their family and friends either locally or online. At least cross-play support makes it as easy as possible to find people to play with.
Playing the PS5 version of LEGO Brawls for review, the game’s mobile roots shine through. While the minifig-based characters have been lovingly created, the combat arenas aren’t as impressive. There’s an abundance of jagged edges, too. There’s nothing here that should be technically demanding, so it’s disappointing that the resolution isn’t a little bit sharper.
As fans of LEGO, LEGO Brawls should have been the brawling game of our dreams. But unfortunately, it’s nothing but a massive disappointment. Collecting minifigs is fun, and creating your characters even more so. The actual gameplay, however, is monotonous, repetitive, and ultimately devoid of any real depth. LEGO Brawls is impossible to recommend, then. Even to the most ardent LEGO fan.