LEGO City Undercover

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Fun, imaginative, safe adventure set in a plastic world.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This one's all about open exploration, fun experimentation, and good triumphing over evil -- without any blood or death. Kids are encouraged to run around and discover everything they can, as well as collect plastic bricks to create marvelous, imaginative structures including roller coasters, bridges, ferries, and sculptures. 

Positive role models

Chase McCain is an undeniably good guy. He fights crime and always captures rather than kills the perpetrators he seeks. He has a sense of humor, makes -- and acknowledges -- a lot of mistakes, and genuinely wants to help people, especially those close to him. 

Ease of play

Guiding icons and lines on the world map, trails of LEGO studs that lead to objectives, and hints offered by non-player characters help ensure kids are rarely at a loss as to what to do. There's no dying, and no game over screens. You can fail missions if you aren't fast enough, but even then the game provides a fairly generous margin of error (quicker players will finish chases with well over a minute left on the timer). Driving missions can be a bit challenging for newbies since the controls are very sensitive to the slightest movement.

Violence

Plastic LEGO mini-figures occasionally battle each other in cartoonish fashion. No characters are seriously injured or killed, but many get smacked, tossed, and handcuffed. Later in the game the player's character gains access to weapons, including goofy-looking pistols, but they serve only to stun, colorize, or knock down opponents. Slightly more worrying are the game's driving scenes. Players will often run into civilians, by accident or on purpose, while driving cars and trucks. They're never killed or even wounded (they just get up and run away), but the high speed impacts can be a bit jarring.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

There is some name-calling, including calling someone a "girlie man."

Consumerism

This game is a direct offshoot of LEGO's building toys. Players will likely find many of the game's vehicles, buildings, and minifigures familiar, as they were modeled after those found in actual LEGO construction sets. LEGO has also released at least one new set in conjunction with this game's release that comes with a code making it possible to insert new vehicles and bonus missions in the game. The game will most likely motivate kids to want more LEGOs.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. This game connects to Miiverse, Nintendo's online community, which allows players to connect with and leave text and drawn picture messages for one another.  

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that LEGO City Undercover is an enormous, open-world adventure game featuring virtual versions of countless LEGO construction sets. It's likely that kids who play the game will want to buy the LEGO sets they see, and that kids who play with LEGO will want to buy the game. However, if you can get past all the branding and commercialism you'll find a fun, family-friendly game with a winning protagonist who is good, charming, witty, fallible, and never uses lethal force. The game promotes exploration, discovery, and imagination in a colorful and cartoonish world that feels like the world's biggest LEGO collection come to life.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • initiative

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

With new discoveries waiting around every corner of this beautiful and enticing world, most kids will likely want to keep exploring and imagining for as long as they can.

Learning Approach

Players will feel in control of the experience, choosing what to do next and how to do it. They don't get to freely build things as they would in a game like Minecraft, but they'll be inspired by what they see built.

Support

Tutorials explain mechanics and onscreen guides keep kids on track. The game will likely encourage kids to pull out their own LEGOs, letting them further explore their imaginations and practice building.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • initiative

Kids will learn by logic, deductive reasoning, and puzzling solving while also experimenting and exploring in this exciting open world metropolis. They must work out the answers to contextual puzzles by using special mini-figure abilities, such as a miner's power to blow up rocks with dynamite. LEGO City Undercover presents kids with fun undercover missions and grand LEGO models, which may motivate them to imagine and construct their own ambitious projects with real-world bricks.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

Set in a giant plastic building block metropolis composed of actual LEGO building sets kids can buy in stores, LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER is an open world action adventure game starring a plucky cop named Chase McCain. He's out to capture the town's biggest crooks. That involves some exciting car chases through busy streets, puzzle-filled missions in locations ranging from a mine to a mansion, the occasional bit of fisticuffs (don't worry -- no one is ever seriously injured), and even some goofy backroom shenanigans, thanks to a selfish chief and a dimwitted colleague. When kids aren't following plot points they can freely explore the city, checking out every nook and cranny of the town and climbing their way to the town's highest peaks, where they'll often find rewards in the form of special bricks, unlockable minifigure characters, and major building projects. Players aiming for a 100 per cent completion rating can expect an adventure in excess of 50 hours.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There may not be any Jedi, young wizards, or DC Superheroes lurking in the streets of TT Games' latest building block adventure, but it might be better for it. This vast world of LEGO cars, buildings, and people is a pleasure to explore -- especially for avid LEGO collectors, who are sure to recognize several of their own building sets in virtual form. Plus, it makes terrific use of the Wii U gamepad. Players consult the screen frequently to view maps and routes, receive incoming calls from non-player characters, scan areas for criminals and secret bricks, and covertly listen to crooks' conversations.

Only beefs? No multiplayer limits the appeal for families that have grown accustomed to playing LEGO games together on the couch. Plus, a few technical hitches -- including some painfully long loading screens and unpredictable load locations after saving and exiting the game (you may find yourself restarting inside or outside of your mission) -- prove a bit of a nuisance. Still, they can't keep this game down. Indeed, LEGO City Undercover may be all the reason some LEGO lovers need to pick up Nintendo's new console.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about building stuff. What's the coolest thing you've ever made? Why do you think people enjoy creating things? What sorts of careers that involve making things might interest you?

  • Families can also discuss commercialism. Have you ever bought a product because it was part of a brand you like only to be disappointed by it? How can we make smart purchasing decisions and avoid wasting money on products that appeal only because of clever advertising? 

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii U
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:March 17, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Cars and trucks, Sports and martial arts, Adventures, Trains
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor (Nintendo Wii U)

This review of LEGO City Undercover was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK 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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Kid, 10 years old March 14, 2013
 

It's not that Mature But...

Okay game Has some violence Players use Fake items to hurt/kill other players (e.c Guns Machine guns ) To kill other players/people.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byThrill54 May 19, 2013
 

Common Sense Overexaggerates!

Common Sense thinks this game is for 9 year olds? Seriously! Me and my 4 year old brother love playing this game together! Definitely a little kid game!
Kid, 12 years old March 27, 2013
 

VERY OK

This game is VERY OK! I Played LEGO Batman and LEGO Indiana Jones. Just Cartoon Violence.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism

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