A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know LEGO Legends of Chima Online is an online multiplayer game for kids based on a popular line of LEGO construction sets. Action involves LEGO minifigures shooting and hitting each other with energy blasters and melee weapons. Defeated characters break into plastic bricks that quickly disappear. Kids see other players in the game world as they play, but they can't communicate with one another unless their mom or dad signs into the parental controls and turns on text chat. While it's free to play, parents should note that kids are frequently encouraged to purchase various game items -- including memberships and gold bricks -- designed to augment their experience. These purchases can range from $1 to $60 each.
What's it about?
The free-to-play browser game LEGO LEGENDS OF CHIMA ONLINE places kids in the role of a fantasy Lego minifigure charged with protecting the magical world of Chima. Players spend most of their time clicking on enemies and objects to attack them, then collecting the studs, bricks, and other items that fall to the ground once they're destroyed. They can do this alone, or team up with other human-controlled adventurers they encounter within the game's world. Players are also given specific goals -- such as defeating a certain number of enemies, collecting a set amount of LEGO bricks, or building and upgrading structures at their outpost -- that result in rewards that help grow their character. It plays a lot like action role-playing games made for older audiences, just minus the blood, gore, and mature themes typically found in those games.
Is it any good?
Polished and accessible, this online LEGO game should prove appealing for many kids. The action is dead simple; players just point and click to do pretty much everything in the game. And prominent on-screen cues and directions means there's never any question as to what needs to be done next. The popular Legends of Chima brand is well implemented and will engage fans of the toys. It's not quite as visually detailed or refined as most other LEGO games, but it retains the franchise's familiar and pleasant plastic vibe. Kids will feel like they're playing with virtual versions of LEGO construction sets.
But, as with any online game targeted at kids, there are lingering concerns to do with privacy and safety. In most cases it's best to just leave the text chat option in the parental controls menu switched off. Open chat opens a big can of worms, and isn't necessary to accomplish any of the game's objectives. What's more, the option to spend real cash on in-game items could cause some family friction as kids pry at their parents' wallets. Just keep in mind kids can play through the whole game without spending a dime. Unfortunately, conspicuously placed ads and prompts indicating available purchases serve as a constant reminder to kids that they may be missing out on something.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. What rules does your family have in place when using the Internet? What would you do if someone online began acting suspiciously by prying for personal information or asking to meet in person? What if someone began bullying you or someone else in your group?
You can also discuss the value of virtual goods in games. How do you determine whether a virtual item or membership is worth the price? You may also want to consider establishing a monthly budget for expenditures on virtual items within games, or money spent on games in general.
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Hobbies: building
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: Free, with in-game purchases
- Pricing structure: Free to try (Kids need never pay to play. However, purchasing a membership provides access to exclusive quests and bestows hundreds of special bricks used to buy powerful items and speed up play.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: October 11, 2013
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.