June 14, 2008

Reviewed by Eli Keel

Tall Tales Games has stumbled upon a surefire recipe for video game crack. Throw a set of fun, recognizable characters into puzzle filled problem solving environments like they created for partner Lucas Arts in the massively popular Lego Star Wars games. Release. Wait for money to pour in.

Following said formula, Lego Indiana Jones is basically a sequel to Lego Star Wars with a different movie franchise, and a different Harrison Ford character. Which is fine with me. As long as they don’t get lazy I will gladly keep buying the games. Lego Batman later this year? Sure. Here’s my money. What else? Lego must have some deal with Harry Potters people, cause I bought a Lego Hogwarts castle a couple of years ago. Lego Harry Potter? Here’s my money.

And so on.

If you are a gamer and haven’t gotten around to any of the Lego games yet, here’s a quick break down. Lego puts you in familiar environments from movies you love. Except everything is built from Legos. Using the abilities of different characters from the movies you must solve a variety of problems to relive the events of the movies.

This so could have been a one trick pony. I can’t quite say what it is that makes these games so fun. But whatever ineffable quality it is, it is still very presents in Indiana Jones. The cinematics are funny. The puzzles are tough enough to make you scratch your head, but not so hard you throw the controller at the screen. And it’s really cute. In a good way.

Unfortunately the problems the earlier games had have persisted as well. Sloppy and difficult vehicle control causes some aggravation, and at times the game sprites can be infuriatingly stupid. In areas where you depend on the computers help to control a character to help you solve a problem, you will wonder what the hell is wrong with the developers. Say you have three characters. Even playing with a friend you can only control two characters at a time. If there are three things that need to happen simultaneously, you might have a problem on your hands.

These flaws are greatly outweighed by the games strengths, the best of which is the replay value. In each successive Lego video game, there have been more and more Easter eggs and hidden levels and shenanigans. It is impossible to unlock everything in story mode, and I find that I seldom even get everything unlocked on the second run through with free play. While I’m still searching out the extra goodies in Indiana Jones, I’ve been delighted so far.

I must go now, and unlock more hidden treasure.

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