LEGO Universe game makes worldwide debut

The
LEGO Universe computer game has been released worldwide following its October 26 street date, concluding a seven-month testing phase that had drafted in members of the public to try it out in a pre-release version.

LEGO Universe allows players to trot through challenges with customized characters, creating buildings out of the LEGO pieces they rescue, linking up with others for team games, and exploring various worlds that are in need of a fresh burst of imagination and creativity.

The game is a family-friendly take on the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) genre, populated by titles such as Guild Wars, MapleStory, EVE Online, and of course the famous World of Warcraft.

Previously franchised LEGO games majored on the toy line's film licenses, with Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter finding themselves appearing on screen in brick form.

Though the well-known LEGO bricks themselves originate from Denmark, in Europe the LEGO Universe is competing with Dofus, another popular MMO aimed at youngsters.

Dofus' history is almost the opposite of LEGO's journey into digitization.

Whereas LEGO can trace its history back through 90 years of collectible construction kits, only venturing into video game form relatively recently, Dofus' gestation has more in common with Pokémon.

Starting off as a computer game, it was soon joined by comic books and plush toys, while the coming of its successor Wakfu has already been heralded by comics, TV series, and trading cards.

LEGO Universe is available on both PC and Mac, retailing at $39 / €29. Like many MMO games it uses a subscription model, in which the first 30 days after installation are free, with subsequent batches of 30 costing $10 / €10.

The official LEGO Universe site can be found at http://universe.lego.com.

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