Sports gaming specialists 2K have teamed up with LEGO for a new brick-based racing game, out today (Friday 19th May), with their hot new release going by the not very imaginative title of LEGO 2K Drive.
When we spoke to the developers a few months ago, their enthusiasm for the game was infectious, and now we’ve managed to put quite a few hours into LEGO 2K Drive ourselves. But here’s the big question – is the game any good?
We’re pleased to report that, yes, LEGO 2K Drive is a fun game at its heart, and it’s easy to imagine players – particularly young ones – spending a lot of time happily playing it. It’s colourful, enjoyable and filled with silly little jokes. And the music is quite catchy, as well!
With a hefty single-player campaign, heaps of multiplayer options (both local and online) and an impressively deep vehicle creation system, LEGO 2K Drive is a game that it’s easy to spend time with. It has a decent selection of nice-looking open worlds to explore, and when it gets down to the actual racing, it offers a fun twist on kart racing.
That being said, LEGO 2K Drive is not a game that reinvents the wheel. It wears its inspirations on its sleeve, make no mistake. The open world exploration feels like it was heavily inspired by Microsoft’s Forza Horizon series (which had its own LEGO DLC in recent memory), and the actual track racing element will feel pretty familiar to anyone that’s spent time with Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing or any of the other power-up-infused imitators that have cropped up over the years.
Rather that reinventing the wheel, LEGO 2K Drive lets you build your own set of wheels and repeatedly smash them to pieces. The game has just enough quirkiness to make it interesting without veering too far into the lane of annoyingly cheesy and naff attempts at comedy. It’s charming, above all else.
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As you explore the various open world biomes (which look utterly gorgeous at times), you’ll be given all sorts of random tasks, from collecting lost farm animals to tracking down a sweet-toothed racer who went looking for pie when he should’ve been on the track.
One thing the game does really well is showcase the vast possibilities of LEGO. You’ll see some LEGO versions of real cars, but you’ll also see spooky ghosts and alien spaceships and all sorts of other random stuff. Similar to how The LEGO Movie captured the magic of LEGO itself, it feels like the team behind LEGO 2K Drive totally ‘gets it’ – young or old, LEGO fans will enjoy the creativity on display.
The game does guide you a bit too closely at times – with constant instructions and unsolicited tips that make everything seem a little easy – but you’ve got to remember that this game is designed for kids to enjoy as well as grown-ups.
The lack of core-concept originality doesn’t feel like a major problem, either, with enough new elements mixed in to freshen up those old inspirations. The car creator, for example, allows you to embrace whatever wacky idea you fancy, and the game always shows you that any silly idea is valid (for example, one of the first cars I drove around in was actually a pizza oven on wheels).
The game also allows you to essentially have three vehicles on the go at any given moment – you have a track car, an off-road vehicle and a boat selected at all times, and the game will automatically switch between them as you venture across different terrains. This is a fun twist and it’s executed very well in the game.
The power-ups, too, are different enough from the red shells of yore to make each race feel like its own thing, more than just a copy of Mario Kart. So if you’ve got room for a new racing game in your life, one that caters to actual kids and big kids alike, we’d recommend checking this one out. And with seasonal DLC promised, it could get even better – and more original – as time goes on. Brick by brick, this could build to something special.
LEGO 2K Drive is out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed on PS5.
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