There have been loads of LEGO games before, some of them trying to replicate the sensation of playing with the real thing, others just using the bricks as set dressing for some very funny licensed platforming. The latest one (well, latest on PC, anyway), LEGO: Builder’s Journey, takes a slightly different approach, and I love it.
It’s an isometric puzzle game that’s about as basic as it gets. You’re playing a LEGO person out on a big adventure, and most levels simply involve building something and/or getting somewhere on the map, by taking loose LEGO pieces and arranging them in a way that helps you traverse a stage.
Mike wrote about it a couple of years ago when it released on Apple Arcade, but since most people reading this website aren’t subscribed to that service, you’ll probably find it a bit more relevant that it’s now out on PC and the Switch, especially since it’s also now boasting nicer visuals on PC, where it’s got ray-tracing among other enhancements.
I never played it on iPhone, so it’s basically a new game to me, and I’m so into it. It scratches the exact same itch that classics like Monument Valley or Captain Toad manage, and its minimal presentation and soothing soundscape mean it’s always a relaxing experience, even when the puzzles get a little tough.
It’s also, despite initially looking a little basic, legitimately gorgeous. These screenshots really don’t sell it, but the jazzed-up levels on PC come alive, with LEGO mud pits bubbling away, LEGO rivers flowing downstream and LEGO waves rolling in across LEGO beaches, all in the same warm, fuzzy, handcrafted way you’d expect to see in a stop-motion movie. This Nvidia trailer will show you what I mean, with the undulating water a particular highlight:
The version out on PC and Switch is an “expanded edition” compared to that releasing on iPhones back in 2019, and alongside the visual upgrade also has more levels and mechanics. Though anyone who played it originally on Apple Arcade will find their copy should now have been updated to include all this stuff as well.