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Lego Bricktales VR

Lego Bricktales VR

Written by Eric Hauter on 12/6/2023 for QW3  
More On: Lego Bricktales VR

Our official review for the Meta Quest 3 is still pending; as it happens, I’m not writing it. Even so, let me go on record and say that the Meta Quest 3 is one of the best pieces of tech I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. Everything the Quest 2 did great, the Quest 3 does better. Before the system was released, I can’t say that I was terribly excited by the prospect of its “enhanced mixed reality functionality”, but now that I have it in my grubby little hands, I can’t get enough of it.

Which leads me to Lego Bricktales VR, which is perhaps the best use case I’ve seen for mixed reality so far. What this game does with the Quest 3’s passthrough capabilities is simply incredible. If you had told me when I was a kid that Lego Bricktales VR would eventually be possible, I would have thrown a handful of Lego at you. But no, it’s real, and my mind is officially blown.

The first time I fired up Lego Bricktales VR, I was duly impressed with the graphical fidelity of the game. There, floating in space in front of me, was a highly detailed Lego playset. I could control a little Lego minifig that could run around and explore the world, so realistic looking that it felt like I could just reach out and pluck him out of the air. But then I noticed the “Enable Passthrough” button, and after clicking it, I swore so loudly that my 10-year-old daughter gave me a dirty look. I was dumbfounded.

The Lego playset was now sitting on my dining room table. Just…plopped down there, perfectly placed in the middle of the room like it belonged there. All of the little animated minifigures were still squiggling around on its surface, and if I walked around the table, I could see tunnels and secret underground caverns etched into the sides. This was some next level science fiction voodoo, right here. I immediately started grabbing pictures and screenshots, blowing up the Gaming Nexus Slack channel with Lego Bricktales VR images to the point where I was embarrassed at my own fanboy behavior.

Gaming Nexus’ Elliot Hilderbrand already wrote a pretty great 9.0 review of the original Lego Bricktales game on Nintendo Switch, and from what I can tell, this is the exact same game ported into the VR space. As such, I don’t want to rehash everything Elliot had to say, which all holds up here. Basically, Lego Bricktales has a little story in which the player character visits various Lego worlds in order to gain the power needed to restore an amusement park. Along the way, you engage in some light exploration, chat with some amusing Lego characters, do some animal collecting, and accomplish some absolutely incredible puzzle-solving.

The puzzle solving element in Lego Bricktales (beyond the occasional switch/level puzzle) is all handled through Lego building. The game gives the player an assignment and a selection of Lego pieces, and lets them go nuts, building whatever they want that will meet the needs of the moment.

For example, the player might be asked to build a suspension bridge within a specific space. The player is then given a palate with the parameters clearly indicated, and a pile of bricks. It is clear from the selection that some Lego experts built an amazingly beautiful bridge from these pieces; you can go ahead and try, but I was quickly resigned to building something more functional than attractive.

Building is an absolute blast in the VR space. You actually pick the bricks up and click them into place. This works amazingly well, allowing you to pull out blocks and rearrange things as you see fit until you are satisfied. The experience is tactile and amazingly fun – just challenging enough to require a bit of thought and planning without being overwhelmingly difficult. It’s tough to express how intuitive this interface is, and how much it likely improves over the initial game’s standard controls. It’s one thing to build with Lego bricks with a Joy-Con. It’s quite another to do so with your hands on the desk in front of you.

After building your creation and testing that it can handle the required amount of weight (you run a little robot across it to see if it will collapse), your object appears seamlessly in the pre-built world. Seeing what you built appear in the context of these beautiful playsets is about the most satisfying feeling in the world.

Lego Bricktales is an extremely polished game, and everything in it works amazingly well. You can drag and rotate the play worlds as needed; pull them close to see fine detail, or spin them around so you can see where some secret pathways lead. I love that I have the choice between sitting back in a chair to play or suspending my creations in mid-air so I can stand up and circle around them. The Quest 3’s wireless nature is a huge boon here. I absolutely loved sending my character into dark caves and then spinning the entire world around so I could follow their progress.

Yes, I took all of these screenshots in my kids' playroom with the crappy air conditioner in the background. Anyhow - this shot demonstrates how you can spin the worlds around to reveal secrets.

I’ve said it a million times in reviews; I’m much more interested in scale and precision in third person VR games than I am in running through first person worlds. I don’t want to shoot soldiers, I want to play with my toys. For my purposes, that makes Lego Bricktales VR just about the best VR game I’ve ever played. It allows me to play with my toys in the comfort of my own home in just about the most intuitive and spectacular manner imaginable.

After I got over my initial bout of swearing in awe, my daughter asked to see what I was playing with. I had her sit down in my seat and popped the Quest 3 over her face for a few seconds so she could take a look. “Oh my word,” she said. “The VR people have really outdone themselves this time.”

Indeed, they have. Lego Bricktales VR is pure videogame magic.

Lego Bricktales VR pulls of an amazing trick, allowing you to play with gorgeous Lego sets floating around in your own home through the magic of mixed reality. Detailed and beautiful, while still being a fun and challenging game, I can’t think of a better way to show off VR to stubborn non-believers. The potential of what is on display here is limitless.

Rating: 9.5 Exquisite

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Howdy.  My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids.  During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories.  I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.

My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then.  I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep.  Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS VR2, Quest 3, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan.  While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.

When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here

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