Where's my super suit?
It’s hard to think of any recent franchise that hasn’t gotten the Lego video game or toy treatment. With recent Lego games being based on superheroes, it is only natural that The Incredibles would make its way to the plastic brick universe. The latest addition to the Switch lineup of Lego games, Lego The Incredibles, plays almost exactly like its predecessors – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With straightforward gameplay and clever writing, this is a welcome game adaptation of two great films with a Lego twist.
This game features abbreviated plots from both of the Incredibles films. Strangely, the adventure begins with the events of the second film, not the original. This doesn’t bother me too much, but since the films’ plots take place back-to-back, I’m not sure why the game couldn’t also be chronological. Nevertheless, we jump right into the Underminer fight from the start of the second movie. The Underminer tears his giant machinery through the city and the Parr family is immediately ready to strike back. After defeating this major threat, the media and political entities are still not happy – they believe the damage was caused by the superheroes. Because superheroes are illegal, the family is approached by a businessman who wants to help them change the law. The supers accept his offer and return to working as heroes to restore their public image. Unlike the film, the entire family joins together for the new missions instead of Mrs. Incredible going off on her own. Eventually, they all have to work together to defeat a new supervillain. This is followed by the events of the first film, where Mr. Incredible returns from his stale office job to return to his crime-fighting duties.
The cutscenes are accurate Lego representations of scenes from the movies, and it is fun to watch them play out in a different form. The scenes take advantage of different props and costumes that are just as creative, goofy and imaginative as you would expect from a Lego story. However, if you’ve seen these movies either recently or frequently, there’s not enough new content to make the story any more enjoyable than just watching the original flick. Frustratingly enough, it is not possible to skip the cutscenes. This should undeniably be an option for a game that takes so much content from its source material. The dialogue is even more uninspired than the cutscenes, just borrowing lines from the movies and not making any effort to differentiate itself.
Boasting a shattering amount of characters – 113 to be exact – you won’t be disappointed with the game’s roster. In this game, there’s a new way to unlock characters. Certain objectives reward you with mini packs, each containing a character. From nearly every Incredibles character plus some surprising additions, there is lots of room for collection and exploration of movesets. Some are clones of characters with different costumes or heroes’ alter-egos, but this lineup is still impressive. I wish the character designs were a bit more expressive – the Parr family loses quite a bit of their personality with their Lego makeover. They look a bit awkward in this reimagining and more generic-looking than previous characters in these games. Mr. Incredible just looks like a generic Lego head on a slightly enlarged minifigure torso. In addition to characters, a great number of vehicles and achievements are here to unlock.
Outside of pushing yourself to collect everything, the gameplay is just as straightforward as you would expect from the Lego series. For those who have played through the previous games, you won’t find anything new or groundbreaking. The objectives range from light combat to puzzles and platforming. Typically, the goals are straightforward, but there are some occasions where it could be clearer what exactly needs to be done to proceed. Lots of set pieces can be broken and reward you with Lego studs, the in-game currency. The AI doesn’t always do what you expect it to do, which is somewhat annoying. You can fix that by adding in a friend, which you can do at anytime through the campaign. It’s much more fun to play this through with someone by your side.
The performance is acceptable but does slow down at moments when lots of action is happening on screen. Things are a bit smoother in the docked mode but handheld is only slightly weaker. Load screens can exceed a full minute on every launch, which is quite unacceptable. While in the game itself, though, the load screens are quick but still a bit longer in handheld mode. These performance issues have been lingering through all of TT Games’ Lego releases on Switch and it would be nice to see them ironed out by now.
Lego The Incredibles lacks the amount of creativity you would expect from a Lego experience and instead feels like all the previous games – just this time it’s themed to the latest Disney film. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but playing through I just expected more. The story is an alienating experience – recent viewers of either films will grow tired with regurgitated scenes and those who have not seen the movies probably would get more enjoyment out of watching them in their original, non-plastic forms. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the previous installments in the Lego franchise and want more of that, then this will be worth your time. The same goes if you love The Incredibles and want to experience these characters and events in a clever new way. If either of these sound like you, I have no problem recommending this incredible brick-filled playground.