Lego Ninjago The Movie Video Game Review

Developer: TT Games

Publisher: WB Interactive

Release Date: September 22nd, 2017

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Garmadon is attacking Ninjago city(again apparently) and its up to Lloyd and the other masters of Spinjitzu to stop him(again…. apparently) but is Lego Ninjago The Movie the video game(well that’s a mouthful) really worth your time?

If you enjoy the Lego games, then Lego Ninjago is an incredibly fun addition to the franchise although it does stumble in some areas. The initial loading times when you turn the game on are longer than needed but exploring the levels and beating up the bad guys is still a blast. Other additions can be somewhat frustrating though like the on rails portions. The first one I experienced had me playing as Lloyd as we flew around the city on the back of a dragon. With all the chaos going on, it was hard for me to make out where I was and maneuvering around the screen was annoying. I just simply fired at things until it all eventually stopped and moved me on to the next bit. To add to that though, the ending of that level was really fun as Lloyd circled the boss on dragon back while fending off all Garmadons goons at the same time and I quite enjoyed that.

Garmadon’s thugs do their best…. they really do.

Combat is fun if not somewhat buggy. The ninja’s all come equipped with their own special items and abilities as well as a fun array of combat skills like the Skyward Dragon and Swooping hawk. Those moves don’t involve a whole lot more than mashing the attack button though and I seem to spend a lot of time watching my characters float during combat. I’ll begin to attack and suddenly my characters are on top of enemies or Lego objects I’m trying to break for studs. It doesn’t seem to have much effect however, outside of just being a tad jarring and somewhat obnoxious. It’s a bug that’s persisted throughout the Lego games and you’d think it would have been iron out by now honestly. There are also constant interruptions to the flow of the combat so cutscenes can show more enemies showing up on screen, which almost always throws off your combat multiplier.

There’s also a lot of familiar elements that returned and some that have changed. Collecting studs, now levels you up instead of just capping out at a certain point in a level and unlocks new lego pieces and red bricks have gone away to make way for Ancient scrolls. Completing certain milestones in a level will also reward players with “Ninjanuity tokens” to level up your combat skills which are gained after you complete certain ninja techniques. They often pop up after you’ve chained together a wall run, jump and something else or solved a problem in the word like using your characters to get passed a blocked corridor.

Lloyd and Nya just never should have gone Zip Lining.

Gold bricks have also returned with a few ways to find and earn them and they also do more than just open up new levels to play now. The first gold door I opened when I amassed enough bricks, I went into another temple and fought off a small wave of enemies with a boss to earn a new character and another gold brick after solving a puzzle. Character packs can be collected as you play too but I usually did enjoy picking these things up. Every time you grab one, the game stops what you’re doing, plays an animation of a Lego minifigure pack being torn open, shows you the character, then loads up the roster and where they go, then lets you get back to playing. Overall, it’s a very frustrating part of collecting stuff in Lego Ninjago as it disrupts the flow of the gameplay. What feels like an exciting battle through the city is interrupted by an obnoxious unlock animation.

After a level is complete you’re free to go back and play levels with all the characters you’ve unlocked to access restricted bits of the levels. You can also go back and explore the cities where the ninja’s have the option to use their collected studs to build parts of the city and complete quests. When you find an Ancient Scroll, they’re automatically unlocked now as well. You no longer need to find them and buy them with studs like the Red Bricks. Building things requested by NPC’s may open up new routes through a city or open a new quest and completing quests will offer a gold brick as a reward. There’s also challenge rooms called “Dojos” which pit the players against waves of enemies and other level modifiers. Completing specific milestones in them will also unlock new mini-figures to play as in free roam and each mini-figure tends to sport it’s own unique traits useful for reaching new areas in a level or the city.

Visiting the many beautiful locales of Ninjago city and run on the walls!

The voice acting and writing for Lego Ninjago is um… pretty cringe worthy It’s like they tried to mimic the Hollywood actors from the film but couldn’t nail it down which makes some of the scenes similar to the movie feel really awkward. You would think they also could have employed the actors from the television show but no, instead we get a really bad Kumail Nunjiani impersonator. Then you have to deal with some of the crumby dialogue like Lloyd learning an ancient martial arts technique for example. He just can’t help but claim how great it’ll be to slam dunk basketballs with it. I get the humor is written for kids but sometimes it’s just bad. However, it does manage to pelt out a few jokes too and the cutscenes are quite entertaining, its just that the story is a mess and the side dialogue is a miss more often than a hit. A bug also prevented me from skipping cutscenes, which was obnoxious as I use the start of levels in Lego games as a checkpoint when I turn the game off.

Lego Ninjago The Movie video game is a fun addition to the Lego video game franchise and licensed product. Unless you’re a fan of the Ninjago series, the game may not be as fun as say Lego Marvel Superheroes or Star Wars but the small changes it makes to the franchise are welcomed and help the game stand on it’s own two feet. If you need a game with hours of content while you wait for those big triple-A games to come out this holiday, then you may want to give Lego Ninjago a chance.