Once upon a time LEGO was relegated to toy store shelves holding their construction sets but now the brand is everywhere. LEGO has built an empire of toys, games, books, movies, and television shows, by licensing highly popular properties, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, while also creating their own universes for people to play with their creations. They are everywhere and they are insanely popular. 2013 kicks off with LEGO introducing their latest universe to play in, Legends of Chima. It also sees them being the most aggressive they have ever been in using cross-media. First up is Legends of Chima: Speedorz.
Speedorz, free on the iOS, introduces us to the world of Legends of Chima, a land inhabited by tribes of animal LEGO people. Drawing visual inspiration from primitive jungle civilizations Chima is a rich, lush looking world. Unfortunately that is where the understanding of the world ends as well as Speedorz does nothing to lay out the concept at play, other than it is a kart racing game of sorts and not a very good one at that.
Speedorz is a very simple racer. Players control their kart by pressing left or right, while the game itself handles acceleration and courses are generally wide and easy to maneuver. The problem arises in that players are not actually performing any true racing against opponents as it is all done against the clock. There is no strategic maneuvering, no trying to cut a corner to get a slight advantage. Instead it is all about finding the tightest line and utilizing a faster Speedorz kart, which can be easily obtained by grinding LEGO coins found on the course.
Each race has three time goals that award stars, unlockable figure pieces and new “opponents” to defeat. All in all, it is rather dull.
While I was left mostly unimpressed by Speedorz, my son had a ball with it. He enjoyed the fast karts and the ability to customize his character from the winnings of his races. He was able to make the game his in a way that never actually connected with me as a player.
However, for as much as he enjoyed playing it, he did have some issues with the difficulty of the game. He struggled with being able to finish certain levels because his kart was just not fast enough. Unfortunately the game does a mediocre job of explaining that you need to purchase new Speedorz to progress, especially for kids who are less likely to pay attention to such things and just want to race. Once he figured it out he had no issue, although I don’t think he liked being forced to race certain karts to win, but still it was one of only two small quibbles he had with the game.
His other small issue was that, while he enjoyed being able to customize his racer, he did not really like all the character pieces that were available to him. Overall though, he enjoyed Legends of Chima: Speedorz quite a bit.
The difference in opinion on this game is quite vast. Where I, a seasoned kart racer, did not like the super-simplicity or the time-trial like gameplay, my son really did and for a free iOS game it is hard to disregard that. LEGO fans will want to try it out and if they come in with tempered expectations, or none at all, then it should at the very least entertain for a few hours.