A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Lego the Hobbit is a cartoonish action game based on Peter Jackson's Hobbit films. Plastic Lego minifigures are substituted for all characters, making it a much lighter and more whimsical telling of the story, though it does use dialogue pulled straight from the films. The heroes get into a lot of fights using melee weapons, but enemies simply break into plastic pieces and disappear when defeated. Most kids are likely to eke out messages to do with teamwork and courage from the story, and local co-operative play makes this a good social gaming experience. Just keep in mind that kids who play the game will likely come away jonesing to watch the movies and buy associated Lego sets.
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What's it about?
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug serve as the basis for LEGO THE HOBBIT, the latest in a long line of Lego games to parody popular films via the classic Danish building blocks. Both films are whimsically recreated scene-by-scene with copious amounts of dialogue plucked from the movies. Players get in on the action by taking control of not just Bilbo, Gandalf, and the story's famed dwarves, but also peripheral characters including elves, other wizards, and even a goblin or two. Goals in each level include fighting off enemies with plastic swords and hammers, bashing objects and collecting the Lego studs they release, and solving contextual puzzles using party members' unique skills, such as the dwarves ability to "stack" so other characters can climb them. Fans of Lego games will notice a few new additions to the franchise's tried-and-true formula, the most notable of which is the ability to collect loot -- metal bars, food, gemstones -- used to build special Lego models at workbenches. As always, a second player can join the first at any time with the press of a button.
Is it any good?
It may not significantly alter the Lego game blueprint, but Lego the Hobbit should still prove a blast for anyone young or old who enjoys the movies or book upon which it's based. It does a fine job of capturing the spirit of the films while simultaneously sending up beloved characters with all-ages jokes. And the action is as addictive as ever, begging players to keep smashing Lego models, solving little puzzles, and hunting down an almost endless array of collectibles. What's more, a surprisingly large hub world spanning from Hobbiton to Erebor offers more than 100 additional quests, objectives, and puzzles outside the main missions. There's enough here to keep kids (and their parents) playing for weeks on end. The only glaring issue is that the game only tells two-thirds of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale -- the events depicted in the first two Peter Jackson films. That leaves the story on a frustrating cliffhanger. A significant chunk of (paid) downloadable content based on Peter Jackson's final film in the trilogy will arrive alongside the movie this fall, but until then this otherwise great adventure is left feeling a bit unfinished.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy. What's the difference between fantasy and science-fiction? How are they the same? Do you prefer one over the other?
Families can also discuss teamwork. Do you think you work well with others as part of a team? What do you like about cooperating with people? Are there any activities you prefer to do alone?
- Platforms: Mac, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Hobbies: building, collecting
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, solving puzzles, strategy
Creativity: imagination, making new creations
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: April 8, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
- Last updated: November 27, 2019
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