Lego finds a way.
As amazing as it is that there has never been a Lego and dinosaur match-up before now, this game makes up for lost time. Combining all four Jurassic Park movies into one game gives gamers that classic Lego humor mixed with the awesome power of dinosaurs, plus we get to enjoy the new film while still getting the nostalgia from the old movies.
This is only slightly trimmed down from the console version, getting rid of the open world feature in favor of a central hub, but Lego has fortunately kept everything else, which is a step up from previous console-to-handheld Lego switcheroos. Other handheld Lego games would usually subtract features, bonus modes, etc., which left players feeling shorted for picking a more portable version.
With over 100 playable characters, it’s safe to say that anyone who ever appeared in a Jurassic movie will show up at some point (even Jimmy Fallon’s small cameo puts him in the running, voiced by the actual Jimmy Fallon). For the most part, each character’s special skill is easy to determine: paleontologists dig, zoologists will get arm deep in dino poo, hunters are equipped with guns for hitting far away targets, and some girls… scream to break glass. Of course, since everyone has an ability, this sometimes leads to funny circumstances where older characters can do gymnastics or are packing a nifty grappling hook.
While the basic mechanics of all Lego games stay in place, each world feels unique and the non-storyline features are fun to experiment with. Each world features a type of lobby area where you pick an episode to play or can smash everything to earn more studs, the famous currency of the Lego world. There are five episodes per movie that give a quick rundown of its main events, and a bonus level at the end with fun adventures like driving a jeep as a raptor. The loading times between each area feel a bit sluggish however, and while they use those moments to review the goals and hidden items of a level, the wait is noticeable.
These episodes have a different focus that most Lego games. Fighting is downplayed and puzzle-solving is pushed the forefront instead. This fits in with the movies as it’s rarely wise to take on a dinosaur as a human. Puzzles focus on characters' skills and figuring out who to use when in order to complete your task. Mr. DNA will pop up with hints if you're stuck, though it's usually very clear what needs to be done. This part of the game rarely passes easy to medium difficulty.
There are still important fights, either dino vs. dino or human vs. human. The exception to this rule is the compsognathus, those little bite-y dinosaurs that appeared in the second and third movies. Just as they were a constant problem then, they are just as annoying now. Their quick attacks can drain your health quickly, and they travel in groups, so it’s necessary to stop everything and take care of them whenever they appear.
The episodes are short, but this is actually a good thing. It keeps the game's pace going and mixes up your experience with new characters, gameplay styles, and favorite moments from the films. There is a large amount of replay value in each level as well, as certain characters need to be unlocked to access all areas of an episode.
An interesting added feature is the Build a Dinosaur area. Once unlocked, players can customize their own dino to play as in any episode. In order to build a dinosaur, hidden collectibles must be found throughout the episodes. Once unlocked, each dinosaur has a unique ability. Colors, patterns, and facial features are all customizable so you can live out your ultimate dino fantasy. Gameplay felt a little clunky as I explored while controlling a large creature, since you’re suddenly a lot larger than a normal Lego character. This seems like an oversight and developers should have accommodated levels for player's unique creations if they were going to add this feature in the first place..
Of course, no Lego game is complete without their unique comedic touch and this game did not disappoint. Actual movie audio or actors reprising their roles were used throughout and sight gags always spruced up a serious moment. The game is extremely self-aware of its audience and the jokes associated with the Jurassic series so be prepared for some out loud chuckling. And make sure you’ve seen Jurassic World before playing because, obviously, spoilers are everywhere.
Overall this is a solid addition to the Lego franchise and does the Jurassic series justice. It's fun and silly and conveys the movie's main moments well. Looking beyond the film reveals nothing amazing or new about this title, and if you've played a Lego game before you won't be surprised by anything. It is an enjoyable game however, and a good way to kill time while waiting for the next Jurassic movie.