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Lego Builder's Journey

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Lego Builder's Journey Game Poster Image
Violence-free puzzler rewards logical and creative thinking.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Subtle themes of respect, individuality, and breaking free of molds run through the somewhat vague story. Play rewards logical thinking and a willingness to experiment.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The builder is a problem solver, using wits and creativity (supplied by the player) to overcome obstacles in constructive, non-violent ways. He's also an eager learner, but capable of working independently.

Ease of Play

Tutorial levels contain no written or audible instructions. Players must learn through trial, error, and observation. But the mechanics are simple enough that most kids shouldn't experience too much trouble.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

This game features familiar Lego building blocks, but contains no ads or incentives to shop for real-world products.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lego Builder's Journey is a downloadable puzzle game for Apple Arcade. The game is founded on Lego building blocks. It's viewed from an raised perspective and has no violence. The goal of the game is to guide a builder by finding, manipulating, and placing bricks to build things and create paths for the hero to traverse. Players are rewarded for thinking both logically and creatively -- many puzzles can be solved multiple ways. Kids familiar with Lego will intuitively understand how to play, and may come away from the game with the impulse to go play with (or buy, though the game contains no ads or calls to purchase) physical Lego kits.

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What's it about?

LEGO BUILDER'S JOURNEY is a puzzle adventure that sees players manipulating virtual Lego blocks to create simple structures and paths for the game's hero to traverse. Each level is essentially a floating Lego island with one or more incomplete areas that players must fix in order to progress. Kids might need to place golden bricks to create a trail for the builder to hop across, or assemble some twigs and a light-up stud to create a fire for him to sleep near. No instructions are provided, which means learning is a matter of trial and error, but most puzzles can be solved in a variety of ways and the mechanics are surprisingly simple. Just touch the screen near a piece to pick it up, slide your finger to move it into position, and hold still to click it into place. Part of the challenge is to find and identify pieces you can interact with and figure out where they might be usefully placed. As puzzles are solved, the builder's story progresses, and we see him move from eager student to independent problem solver.

Is it any good?

It's hard not to appreciate this game's relaxing vibe. Lego Builder's Journey is a more or less wordless experience, leading us through its indistinct yet uplifting story via images composed of colorful backgrounds, photorealistic Lego bricks, and the cute animations of its primary hero, who isn't a traditional Lego minifigure but rather an assembly of little Lego pieces roughly shaped to resemble an explorer. By the time you become accustomed to the adorableness of everything, you'll likely be hooked on the simple but compelling puzzles, which are typically pretty straightforward but nonetheless enjoyable. Clicking these digital pieces into place is just as satisfying as doing the same to their counterparts in the real world, and may even give imaginative kids some new ideas for models to build with their own bin of plastic bricks. That most puzzles have multiple potential solutions will only serve to stoke players' imaginations.

The only time the experience stutters is when timing becomes a factor. Making a piece settle into the proper place takes a little patience as you maneuver it just so and then wait for a second or two for it to click. Most of the time, this isn't an issue, but if you, say, need to create a path of bricks on the ground that begins to fall as soon as a brick is laid on it, then repeatedly do it again, it can start to become a little tense and frustrating. Happily, not all puzzles have timing elements, and in those that do, failure simply means picking up the pieces and trying again. This one snag aside, Lego Builder's Journey is a short but beautiful little puzzler that captures the spirit of the iconic toy on which it's founded almost perfectly.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Lego Builder's Journey is a short game, but would you rather experience all the puzzles at once, or work through them just a few at a time so it lasts longer?

  • What advantages come with making things physically compared to on a screen? What benefits do you gain from building stuff in a virtual world?

Game details

  • Platforms: Apple Arcade
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Light Brick Studios
  • Release date: December 18, 2019
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Adventures
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: January 13, 2020

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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