Puzzles Plus Platforming Equals Lots of Indy Fun!
Tt Games has done it again, this time with LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. This title, the fourth in their LEGO line of family-friendly licensed games, is by far the best entry yet! The combination of humor, puzzles, excellent co-op play, platforming, collectibles, major replayability, and a high degree of polish make this game one everyone will enjoy! Combat is still very repetitive, but a few new elements and moves such as weapon pick-ups and brutal “noogies” and drop kicks do mix things up a bit. This is essential gaming for anyone who enjoys Indiana Jones, the LEGO series, or is just looking for a great co-op title to play with friends and family on the couch.
In LEGO Indy, players will be treated to a humorous romp through the original trilogy. The storylines parallel all three films, but the level design is unique while still feeling authentic. This makes the plot feel fresh despite the fact you know exactly what’s going to happen. Add to this a ton of amusing situations, tongue-in-cheek satire, and a host of references to the cannon of George Lucas, and you’ve got a game that will have you giggling and smiling from start to finish! My personal favorite was a trapped Luke Skywalker helplessly hanging upside down in a Himalayan ice cave. These little tidbits are strewn throughout the game and provide for a lot of hilarious moments and worthy unlockables.
Through the main Story mode, you will play as Indy and one other character essential to that segment of the story. That means you’ll be controlling the likes of Marion, Short Round, Willie, Jock, and Henry Jones Sr. to name a few. Switching between the characters is effortless, and everyone is very useful. Each character has unique abilities that will help you get through the labyrinthine levels and secure special treasure. For example, Marion Ravenwood from Raiders can jump higher than Indy, while Willie Scott from Temple of Doom can unleash a high-pitched, wall-shattering scream. As such, using the abilities of the two characters will allow you to get through the myriad puzzles that await you. Along those lines, the friendly A.I. is decent, but sometimes it won’t protect your selected character sufficiently or will get in the way while you’re platforming. Thankfully, this can all be avoided by having a friend “Insert Controller” in order to hop into the mix. As good as the game is to play by yourself, it’s far superior with a friend laughing at your side. This is undoubtedly one of the best cooperative experiences of the year.
The sheer amount of clever puzzles that will slow your advance help make gameplay rich. Unfortunately, combat is a bit cumbersome and repetitive. Thankfully, your enemies will come in waves. Once you repel the onslaught, you will be able to take your time to figure out the puzzles, uncover the game’s vast amount of secret content, and collect the all-important LEGO gems that serve as currency for purchasing unlockables. Moreover, the puzzles serve as brain fodder for adults and children alike. Puzzles are challenging, but they never get so difficult you get stuck. Occasionally, there are secret elements you’ll find that you won’t be able to complete the first time through (more on that later), and I often found myself wasting time trying to open up the secrets with the wrong characters. Otherwise, the game is fast-paced, allowing you to progress through each segment and level rapidly.
In addition to the heady puzzles, the platforming elements are both challenging and loads of fun. Controlling your characters is very easy and satisfying. The game employs simple elements such as jumping across ravines with Indy’s bullwhip, climbing up ropes, constructing structures from LEGO pieces, avoiding traps, and using tools and weapons. All of this is done flawlessly and provides players with simple, classic challenges. If platforming’s not your thing, you’ll be happy to know that even if you fall to your doom you’ll never have to start the whole level over again. In fact, you’ll be dropped right before the hazard, as if you were a golf ball. This may seem too easy and unrewarding for platforming veterans, but each failure will have you losing valuable LEGO gems that you’ll have to scramble to recover. I found this threat to be sufficient to keep me concentrated on the task at hand but was relieved and reassured that if I fell it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Another massively important aspect of the game is opening the vast array of collectibles. This game is a veritable toy box of your favorite Lucas characters, treasure chests, artifacts, secret additional content, and a bevy of side quests. There are more than 60 unlockable characters to find or purchase, and you can even create unique characters like you did in the Star Wars saga by mixing and matching the LEGO characters’ bodies and accessories.
All of these collectible elements and secrets make for a formula that equates to major replayability. As previously mentioned, many secrets, treasures, and characters can’t be acquired on the first play through. It will actually take going back in Freeplay mode and using the abilities of newly unlocked characters in order to access the tunnels and seemingly impenetrable walls that hold the treasures. Moreover, collecting all the characters and unlocking all the content can almost feel like an obsession. You will likely find yourself bashing every mug, table, barrel, cart, and fence post while you greedily gobble up the LEGO gems that fall to the floor. Scavenging for gems is by no means essential. In fact, it slows each segment way down. However, it does allow you to purchase a bunch of unlockables and serves as the game’s high-score function.
Finally, I was thoroughly impressed with the game’s overall polish. The environments look great if not completely detailed; the new animations and facial expressions make the LEGO characters more lifelike; the textures are realistic looking; and the stability of the game means there isn’t a hint of glitches to be found. Also, the music, sound effects, and voice work are great! Of course, the musical themes are taken right from the films. What I really liked was the way the various portions of the score were attached to appropriate segments of the game. They correspond to that of the movie, which lends a good deal of authenticity. The sound effects are exaggerated much like they are in the films. The familiar punch effects and the crack of Indy’s whip help to further the notion that you’re inside an Indiana Jones movie. Lastly, the voice over work, much like in the LEGO Star Wars games, is made up of a series of grunts and sighs that somehow perfectly express emotions, motivations, and key moments from the films.
If you’re looking for an entirely new gameplay experience from the folks at LucasArts, then you won’t find it in LEGO Indiana Jones. However, this is the most polished and enjoyable entry in the LEGO series of games. The great puzzles, platforming mechanics, array of collectibles, and quality presentation make this title an outstanding option for EVERYONE 10+!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
The environments, animations, and textures look perfect! Things aren’t quite as detailed as they could be. 4.0 Control
It’s very easy to perform all the platforming tasks, but combat controls are still too simplistic. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The game’s use of the films’ music and effects was masterfully done! 4.0 Play Value
Combat is humdrum, but the puzzles and platforming elements are outstanding. The load of collectibles and secrets will keep you playing for many hours. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.