LEGO Brawls Review – Barebones Beatdown

LEGO Brawls was Apple Arcade exclusive since 2019, but now the game is available on consoles and PC. What was essentially a mobile freebie you could enjoy if you were a subscriber of said service now costs whooping forty bucks. That’s a pretty steep increase, surely justified by the extra content and added polish on the big platforms, right?

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Well, the short answer is NO. LEGO Brawls for iOS and LEGO Brawls for PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, or Switch is essentially the same game, save for the difference in resolution and framerate. It’s a basic port that works substantially worse on Nintendo Switch than on iPhone. That’s right, the game stutters when playing online on Switch, which wasn’t the case on the bloody MOBILE PHONE. And that, unfortunately, it’s not the worst thing about it.

Extremely Simple Clone

LB 01

LEGO Brawls is a barebones clone of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, probably the best party fighting game in existence. With a single attack button, and the ability to jump and deploy power-ups, its gameplay is beyond simplistic. In theory, this might appeal to a younger audience; in practice, even preschoolers will get bored quickly here. The combat is hectic, but that’s a euphemism for button mashing, a singular usable strategy in LEGO Brawls. Besides mindlessly smashing the button, you can also jump and deploy various randomly spawned power-ups. From wooden horses to flying saucers, those vary depending on the match’s theme (Ninjago, Western, etc.).

There are several match types, all designed for eight players, either human or AI (in local mode). Free for Brawl is a basic mode you can play online and locally (4 players). Online modes vary from the simple control point and item collection to brawl royale and free-for-brawl. Matchmaking is automatic and painless, but your choice in the match selection is limited to voting for the next map. You can engage in online matches confined to your default platform’s ecosystem, but the default modus operandi is cross-play. Multiplayer is ranked by default, with your league (bronze, silver…) depending on your brawling prowess.

Button-mashing Beatdown

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The main issue with the combat is the lack of much substance beyond jumping into the crowd and spamming the attack button. Regardless of the game mode, that’s the only feasible “strategy”. You can also pick up and use power-ups, but those are best employed right away since you can die in a split second. On-screen cacophony is the ever-present detriment. Explosions, spawns, environmental effects, and a plethora of other blips and blops create a blinding fog-of-war that envelops the action. You can reasonably expect to lose sight of your avatar 30% of the time.

LEGO Brawls offers different match layouts snatched directly from their thematic portfolio. Ninjago, Jurassic World, Pirate, Western, Vidiyo, The Hidden Side, Space, Castle, and Alien Conquest have distinct visual styles and few unique power-ups. Substance-wise, there’s a lot less diversity. Most zones work the same way without providing substantial gameplay differences beyond a unique environmental hazard (lava in the Castle theme, for example).

Your Own Unique Monstrosity

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The cornerstone of your in-game identity is LEGO Minifigure avatars, infinitely customizable by mixing the parts of figures you had unlocked. There are two hundred Minifigures, unlockable via the system resembling a battle pass. Some Minifigures follow different principle. Unlocking “heroes” is tied to mastering the previous figure, i.e., playing with it until you max out the progress lines. It’s a bit confusing and unnecessarily obfuscated, but if you are persistent, you’ll eventually get everything. LEGO claims that there are 77 trillion potential mixes of heads, torsos, legs, arms, weapons, etc. You can easily make a cute monstrosity that’s completely unique.

All that mixing and matching is purely cosmetic because parts don’t affect combat performance at all. That’s really disappointing. Reasonably implemented, mix and match performance system could have been great, providing the meta layer that would single-handedly uplift the game from mediocrity. Imagine if you could configure your avatar with raptor legs, making it faster but less durable than an armored knight. They could have at least provided default presets for the younger audience, not used to complex customization. Say, unlockable Ninjago figurines could have temporary stealth, countered by deployable scout parrot that comes with the pirate captain. Just thinking out loud here, but you get the point.

Forty Greens is Way too Steep a Price

LEGO Brawls Review Janitor

All things considered, forty bucks is too much considering the simplicity and the limited modes on offer here. LEGO Brawls has an addictive unlock and customization mechanic, but that’s probably the single redeeming quality. There are many awesome LEGO games out there, but sadly, LEGO Brawls trails far beyond those. We wholeheartedly recommend LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga if you are craving a long-term quality LEGO fix. It might not have competitive brawling, but the force of LEGO is far stronger with it.

5/10

Highs

  • Infinite possibility for mixing LEGO figurine parts.
  • Good fun for a couple of hours.

Lows

  • Banaly simple gameplay.
  • Pretty steep price for something that is essentially an Apple Arcade game.
Review platform: PS5
Developed by: Red Games Co.
Published by: LEGO® Games
(read our Review Policy for clarification)

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