I swear I hear the phrase “strange times” a dozen times a day and hate it more every time, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t accurate. Between COVID-19’s effects, politics, and an increasing number of social and cultural issues, I feel like a James Bond martini most days: Shaken.
We’ve all got our coping mechanisms and means of decompression, and I’ve found the LEGO video games series to hit the spot for me. I saw that the LEGO Marvel Collection, which includes LEGO Marvel Superheroes 1 and 2 as well as LEGO Marvel’s Avengers plus all the season pass content for each game, was on sale for $17.99 in the Playstation store about a month ago. I jumped on it and found just what I’ve needed since March.
Here’s what this grown man loves and appreciates about a series of video games designed for children!
1. They’re Light Fare
This means really three things:
- There’s plenty of comedy. Visual gags and scripted humor shine across every title. LEGO video games don’t take themselves seriously ever. While I won’t promise non-stop laugh out loudness (it isn’t there), I can say that they give my furrowed brow a rest.
- There’s little complexity. This is a kid’s game, after all. There are some minor puzzles, but oftentimes the game will prompt you with hints as to what you need to do. More often than not the gameplay consists of breaking everything in sight (more on this below), assembling a thing or two, or using a specific character power. So easy a cave-child could do it.
- Death is inconsequential. No game overs. No restarting from checkpoints. You just pop back into existence wherever it is you lost your last heart and keep on chugging along. I’m not against the Souls-like genre, but sometimes it’s nice to sit down to a game with zero punishment, you know?
2. You Get to Break All the Stuff
There are businesses that exist where you pay to go into a room and just smash stuff to take out your frustrations. LEGO video games are the digital equivalent of that. Almost everything you can see can be smashed, and you’re actually rewarded with studs (the in-game currency) for doing so.
You can also beat NPCs to death over and over again if you’d like. Just assign one the name of the so-and-so who’s got you frustrated and smash away. You’ll not only get the satisfaction of seeing them literally fall to bits, but also of getting to do so again. And again. And again. Ahhhhhh…sweet catharsis.
3. There’s Tons To Do
Each of the LEGO video games has about a bajillion collectibles between characters, vehicles, red bricks, gold bricks, minikits, and series-specific to-dos like rescuing Stan Lee from a series of harrowing predicaments. I’m 25+ hours in on LEGO Marvel Superheroes and only have 64.8% of it all!
You’ll replay each level at least once to mine them for all their collectible goodness, but the replay will feel very different than the initial one because you’ll be able to freely switch to any unlocked character and use them to interact with the environment in ways you could not previously. The games also feature an open overworld riddled with side quests, as well. While the game itself isn’t terribly challenging, collecting all it offers is!
There’s definitely no shortage of things to do, and there are guides for all of it on the internet. Double win. Plus it’s nice to come home after a day seemingly lacking in productivity and make progress on something. It’s the simple things, sometimes.
4. There’s a LEGO Game for You
There is an impressive lineup of IPs in on the LEGO video games:
- Jurassic Park
- The Hobbit
- The Incredibles
- DC Comics
- The Lord of the Rings
- Marvel Comics
- Harry Potter
- Indiana Jones
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Star Wars
The list could go on! And with each IP comes a slew of references, nods, powers, characters, and jokes that’ll appeal to fans. Each game, in other words, feels like more than just a reskin. The developers put in good work to give each a character of their own. You’ll feel like Captain America when you sit down to the IP that tickles your fancy:
5. Play with Your Kids!
Local co-op is an option, so why not sit down with your son or daughter and play together? They’ll be more than capable of accomplishing most of what the game has to offer without aid, and you’ll be there to offer guidance or advice the few times they might get stuck. It is easy to have a conversation overtop of the gameplay, plus it is wholly cooperative.
As a bonus: I turn subtitles on, the volume down, and listen to podcasts I’m behind on while I play. Dialogue is minimal (some of the earlier games had none if I remember right) and the game is highly visual, plus I love multi-tasking!
I highly recommend picking up one of the LEGO video games if you haven’t yet given them a try, and for any one of the reasons listed above. They’re not perfect, but they’re accessible and fun. Even at full price, they’re cheaper than therapy.