LEGO Universe

Common Sense Media says

Quest-based MMO is cute but hard to figure out how to play.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids are exhorted from the start to use their imagination to save the world.

Positive role models

The heroes of the world are brave, creative, and work as a team to save the world, and kids are encouraged to do the same.

Ease of play

Camera angles are sometimes awkward and although there are hot-tips in the game, parents may have to turn to the LEGO Universe website for help with the main features of the game. Younger kids will benefit from the guidance of an older sibling or parent to navigate through this game.

Violence

Like other LEGO video games, this online game is heavy in violence as players need to smash enemies and objects in the world to progress. Players will use weapons such as swords, hammers, and laser guns. But all of the people and things are made of LEGOs and simply break apart.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

LEGO provides a "white list" of words which may be used by players to chat. Words not in the dictionary will not be displayed.

Consumerism

LEGO is a brand name of building bricks and purchasing information is available on the website, but no advertising is seen in the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an MMORPG -- Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game -- that requires purchase of boxed software as well as a monthly subscription to play. The game is both CARU (Children's Advertising Review Unit) and COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant, and although kids will be playing online with other kids, chat is limited to a "white list" of allowed words. There is some violence as kids use weapons to attack and defend themselves, but this is a LEGO world, so the worst that happens is that LEGO characters and things break apart. The game suffers from a lack of tips and directions, but for kids who have the patience to keep trying, it can be rewarding.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Four adventurers search for the Imagination Nexus, the source of Pure Imagination, but the greed of one causes a dark Maelstrom of chaotic energy to be released. In LEGO UNIVERSE, you are called upon to defeat the dark forces of the Maelstrom and save the Universe.  Players entering this massively multiplayer online world of LEGO Universe will explore through the world, battling and smashing evil creatures, collecting bricks, and building LEGO creations in their own player properties.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids who have played other LEGO games will know what to expect from LEGO Universe. It shares the same smash-things-and-collect-items-that-drop game mechanic, allows for quick building of LEGO structures by simply pushing a button, and offers platform puzzles where your character jumps and double-jumps to navigate through the game's environments. The game also allows for some LEGO building from the ground up using bricks collected via smashing things or earned as quest rewards. Kids will also be able to build race cars to race against others. One of the most creative and interesting aspects of the online world is the ability to add and link behaviors to model which will program it to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli. This elementary programming encourages kids to think logically and work out sequences of actions and reactions.

The game however, is light on tips and directions. This is a large open world that can be confusing to younger children. The camera angles can be awkward and kids are thrown directly into the action. Younger kids could easily get their avatar (mini-figure) smashed again and again just in this first area as the evil forces will attack if you wander too close. It is a difficult first step, but kids who persevere will obtain their first property and be able to build their first LEGO structure.

Online interaction: Kids are limited to a "white list" of words to use in text chat and the game works in such as way that many players attacking one creature will help each other, not hinder each other.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about setting computer time limits. How much time is too much time online? Can staring at a computer screen for long periods of time actually hurt your eyes?

  • Families can also talk about cartoon violence. What does getting smashed mean? The LEGO objects and characters get broken into bricks -- does that mean this game isn't violent?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$39.99 + $9.99 monthly
Available online?Not available online
Developer:The LEGO Group
Release date:October 26, 2010
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Mac, Windows)

This review of LEGO Universe was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 10 year old Written bybrain in a can October 28, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Ive never played it, but just from seeing LEGO i know my son will love it, so i watched videos, and it looks like something hed love. I have no concerns.

Kid, 10 years old Written bybyrneclaw November 1, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

great for tweens

it sounds like a game i would love, im a lego obbsesed person, tweens are the perfect age to play!

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old Written byshockninja August 2, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Building Adventure

This is a fun game for any LEGO fan, but, I do not recomend this for younger gamers because of some scary monsters that you may face. Also, this can encourage fans to become active builders in not only in game, but in the real world. So you might want to be aware that this game will also burn a hole in your wallet (not just because of real life building, but because of $10 a month). Also, if you would like to friend me, my minifig name is "MineMech".

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: As of January 30th, 2012, this game HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN due to the fact that not enough people were subscribing. I and many others were in shock. Therefore, do not buy this game. Do not buy it anywhere, it still will not work.

What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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