“I’ll be Dash if you’re Violet and you do the ball…thingy” one twin excitedly says to the other. “Okay, but you’ve got to be Dad [referencing Mr Incredible] when we’ve done this bit and you’ve got to throw me up there [points to ledge]” the other twin replies. It’s the summer holidays, the Sun has disappeared behind a storm cloud, the rain has cancelled our trip to the park and we’re stuck indoors. Instead of arguments, fighting, a 5 voice chorus of “Daaaad” ringing out every few seconds or the mushing of Play Doh into my carpet, there’s peace and relative quiet. That’s the power of LEGO The Incredibles.
Unlike the last two console generations, movie tie-in games have become a rarity on the PS4, Xbox One and Switch. Sure, movie tie-in games still get released but they’re usually a re-skinned match-3 or endless runner game released on mobile devices. The one exception to this rule is the titles from TT Games. From Harry Potter to Jurassic World, Star Wars to the Avengers, the British studio have been releasing on average of 2 licenced video games per year since 2002 and, more importantly, they’ve been consistently good, clean family fun. Their latest release, LEGO The Incredibles, continues this trend by making a playable version of summer blockbuster, revisiting a classic film in unexpected ways and adds small quality of life innovations to their tried and tested gameplay formula.
If you’ve ever played a LEGO game in the past, you’ll know what to expect here as the core game mechanics remain mostly unchanged. A third person adventure set in world that’s partially built of LEGO and partially a recreation of Pixar’s pair of The Incredibles movies, this game puts you in the super-suit of the various members of the Parr family and their allies as you bash, smash, dash and build your way through 12 story missions (6 from each movie). Boiled down into its component parts, the levels in LEGO The Incredibles are a series of game play puzzles and hidden collectables which challenge the player to figure out how to overcome the problem at hand. Locked behind a door? Use Elastigirl/Mrs. Incredible to stretch up through an vent and flip a switch. Can’t reach a high platform? Use Mr Incredible’s strength to throw another character with ease. Helpful symbols and visual effects are always on hand to give you a hint on what to do but the same staples that have existed for a decade by TT Games are applied here; Lasers/fire destroy gold bricks, psychic/magic characters can build objects with twinkling lights around them, electric characters can power generator switches and so on and so forth. The abilities of each character are listed in the character choice menu via simple to understand icons which are displayed in-game if you get stuck in a spot for too long.
Much like any good movie tie-in game, the story levels themselves are snippets of The Incredibles movies recreated in-game and then partially expanded upon. To avoid spoilers for the new film, I won’t mention any of the scenes used here but what I will say is that a few minutes of screen time action in the film are lengthened into half hour levels for the game in some pretty interesting ways. Regarding the 6 levels based on the original Incredibles movie, these have had the most alteration – partly to make the game more family friendly and secondly to add that trademark LEGO humour and depth to the game. Mr Incredibles time on Syndrome’s island has been vastly changed to incorporate co-op play in some really fantastic ways as is the opening sequence versus Bomb Voyage. These changes all add a freshness to a storyline my family and I have seen at least 30 times and give some screen time to characters that are only mentioned in the movie, which is a pleasant surprise.
LEGO The Incredibles does introduce a few new innovations to the LEGO game formula. First and foremost, combat has been improved via the means of a yellow outline that appears around the target of your attacks. The main benefit of this is that in co-op play, you and your partner in crime fighting won’t be fighting against the same enemy and can pick your targets without simply button mashing. It’s a small change but has a pretty profound effect on the fight mechanics. Secondly, Build Spots which featured in LEGO City Undercover make a welcome return but rather than requiring a set amount of LEGO bricks to complete, they require the collection of Build Blocks. These are collectibles that require the Incredibles family to work together to unlock and once they’ve collected enough, trigger a mini-game. Each playable character then gathers together at the spot and you have to mash the circle button to fill a gauge and make them build – but you have to have all of the gauges filled to complete the mini-game and as you switch characters, the gauges empty.
The last improvement is with the other mini-games within the game. There seems to have been a concerted effort with LEGO The Incredibles to make the puzzles easy to solve but more rewarding if you understand the constructs around which they are built. Interacting with computers, for example, brings up a mini-game in which there is a grid and 3 pairs of dots. To complete this puzzle, you have to link the 3 pairs of dots without crossing the path of any other link which is simple enough, but should you fill the entire screen with links in the process, you are rewarded with a higher amount of studs. There’s a smart level of accessibility here which makes the game playable for the younger audience while allowing the older player to really get their teeth into it and go for those “True Hero” awards by hitting a Stud target.
TT Games are renown for showing a love for their licenced characters and that certainly comes to the surface in LEGO The Incredibles. Each member of the Parr family, Frozone, Syndrome, the cast of Incredibles 2 (again, no spoilers) and many more characters from that world have been recreated in minifig form. It’s that attention to detail that really shines through here, with the idol animations for each character portraying their personality and their abilities reflecting those shown in the movies. What’s more, this game also features some playable fan favourites from other Pixar films too including Bing Bong, Dory, Flik, Lightning McQueen and more as well as nods to those movies (such as Pizza Planet billboards) littered around the hub world.
For fans of the collectables in the LEGO games like my family and I, the hub world is where you’ll end up spending a lot of your time. As well as featuring iconic locations from the movies like the Parr family home and [Redacted – spoilers], there’s a whole city to explore full of Gold bricks, Family Build Spots, criminals to apprehend and side missions to complete. The hub is broken down into different districts and at any one time, one of these districts is currently flashing red on your map which indicates there’s a crime wave in progress. Head to that district and there will be optional missions to undertake and eventually a crime boss to defeat. By doing this, TT Games have focused the action on one section of the map at a time, making it easier for younger player to navigate, and means that if you want to 100% the game, you’ll be exploring the entirety of the moderately sized map. The only step back during the hub world play is during co-op. In previous LEGO titles, it has been possible for both players to be off doing different missions at the same time but in LEGO The Incredibles, that’s not the case. If player 1 chooses a side mission to complete and activates it, player 2 is directed to complete the same mission and vice versa.
While LEGO The Incredibles does put a lot of emphasis on the collaboration of the Parr family, combining their powers to push forward, there are some moments when the game doesn’t provide enough to do for both players when playing in co-op. An example – in one of the story missions, player one (playing as Mr Incredible) has to throw Player Two (playing as Frozone) across a gap. player two then has to defeat some criminals and craft a way for Mr Incredible to proceed over the gap which could take a little time. During this period when Player Two is off having fun, Player One has virtually nothing to do but sit and watch. This isn’t a criticism I’ve had with any previous LEGO game, the solution to bring the two players together being almost immediate, but does need mentioning here. This doesn’t happen often in LEGO The Incredibles but it’s very jarring when it does occur because of how focused the rest of the game is on the co-operation between characters.
Much like I did with my LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 review, I’ve delayed publishing this review to give my brood of children the chance to play it through to completion because, despite the fact that I love the LEGO games, I’m about 20 years outside of the target demographic. Last night, after 12 hours of play time, my twin boys finished the 12th story mission, completed the bonus level and started in on the hub world. When asked what score out of 10 they’d award LEGO The Incredibles, Harry said 11 and Archer said 20. Maths obviously isn’t their strong suit but I think that shows how much they’ve enjoyed playing this game. To be honest, I didn’t really need to ask them if they enjoyed playing it because it was written all over their face – smiles the size of Mr Incredibles chest as they fight crime as Woody and Sulley, humming along to the Incredibles soundtrack and being completely baffled by the voice work that’s as good as that seen in the movie. This morning, as I left for work, they asked to put the game back on again. If you’re looking for something to keep your kids happy during those moments of boredom in the remains of this summer holiday, my kids and I can highly recommend LEGO The Incredibles.
TT Games once again show care and attention for a set of beloved movie characters, bringing them to digital plastic life with a level of authenticity that’s a rarity these days. Adding some small additions to a formula that has worked for them for a decade, LEGO The Incredibles is a family friendly game that’s great for fans of the films and just as enjoyable for those that aren’t.
LEGO The Incredibles is available now on Xbox One, PS4 (review version),PC and Nintendo Switch.
Developers: TT Games
Publishers: Warner Brothers
Disclaimer: In order to complete this reveiw, we purchased a copy of the game. For more information, please see our review policy.