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Game Info:

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game
Developed by: Traveller’s Tales
Published by: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
Release date: September 22, 2017
Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Number of players: Up to four
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for cartoon violence
Price: $59.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment for sending us this game to review!

Although I have enjoyed previous LEGO movie entries, I must confess that I have not seen the recent LEGO NINJAGO movie. With that said, a good video game should be able to stand on its own and I believe that The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game does so despite its lame title. Throughout this 3D action game, you’ll get to play as many of the characters from the movie.

Each of the ninjas has a unique weapon and elemental Spinjitzu ability that will be required to bypass various obstacles in the levels. Sometimes multiple ninjas are required to pull down weak walls with their grappling hooks. Thankfully, you can switch between multiple characters by pressing the X key. At first you start off with Kai and Cole (looking for their mechs), but several other characters are unlocked along the way.

The main enemy, Garmadon, enjoys frequently attacking the city of Ninjago and his son, Lloyd, wants to put a stop to that. Despite Master Wu’s warning of not relying on weapons, but inner strength, Lloyd uses the ultimate weapon on Garmadon and then things get hairy (pun intended). To save Ninjago from the new threat, Lloyd and his teammates (who are quite upset with him), must seek out the ultimate ultimate weapon. An unlikely alliance is made along the way.

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fresh fighting moves added to the classic LEGO videogame formula
Weak Points: Main story is short, but there is plenty of replayability; visuals are a bit confusing in the flying mode; long load times
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence

Gameplay wise, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game plays very similarly to other LEGO games. You can smash many items for LEGO studs and if you ever get stuck, try breaking stuff as you may uncover a pile of bricks needed to construct a useful tool required to progress onward. There are incremental goals for collecting a targeted amount of studs and by reaching those goals, you can earn coveted golden bricks. These bricks are required for unlocking new areas and challenges. Gold bricks can also be obtained by finding them in obscure places, completing side quests, or various puzzles.

There are walkthroughs available to help you find any golden bricks that you may have missed. After you complete a story level, you can go back and play it again in freeplay mode. Many areas are not accessible at first since there are areas requiring ninja abilities or Spinjitzu skills that have not been acquired yet. Besides the story mode levels, you can go to training dojos and battle arenas for multiplayer battles.

Battles are a big part of this game and the fighting system is fun and promotes mixing up your attack styles to prevent the enemies from deflecting your blows. You’ll learn several attack moves which have different button combinations and uses. Some attacks only work on airborne foes while others will stun the enemies for you. As you build stuff and increase your “ninjanuity,” you’ll be able to make your attacks stronger by increasing their damage, stun length, studs dropped and so on.

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

At first I was pleasantly surprised to have airborne battles to mix things up a bit. Sadly, the air battles are more confusing than fun. The visuals get too cluttered and it’s hard to see where the targets are until it’s too late. Fortunately, this mode seems to be pretty forgiving, but it can use more polish if it gets implemented in future titles.

Other than the flying modes, the visuals are well done and the cutscenes looked and performed well on the Switch. I am assuming the cut scenes are from the movie, but I can’t confirm that without seeing it. There’s a decent amount of variety in the enemies and bosses.

The voice acting is well done and I enjoyed Jackie Chan’s voice for Master Wu. The sounds of LEGOs breaking as structures are demolished are spot on. When enemies are defeated they break into little pieces so there isn’t much violence in this game.

If you’re a fan of LEGO games and/or the Ninjago series, then this title is worth picking up. The main story is relatively short and can be completed in less than ten hours, but there is plenty of replayability when it comes to collecting everything and multiplayer battles. The console versions have a $20 premium over the Steam price of $39.99. I have seen the Switch version on sale on Amazon for $39.99 and for that price it’s worth it, but I wouldn’t spend $59.99 on it.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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