Review round-up: 'LEGO Universe'

LEGO Universe launched on Tuesday October 26 and, despite a lengthy preview period for members of the press, fuller reviews have so far been thin on the ground. Here we collect snippets from six early reviews.

The latest LEGO Universe is not just a well crafted and humorous platform game like the previous LEGO Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter outings.

Instead, it takes that familiar foundation and sets it within a series of social online worlds in which players can team up, explore, and build their own LEGO creations with a near infinite supply of bricks - and none of the clearing up afterwards.

The game's developers conducted a seven month testing session in which select members of the public were invited to try out LEGO Universe as a work in progress.

Judging by the reviews below, it seems to have overcome many of its early teething troubles, discovering a kind of LEGO magic that's enjoyable for both children and their parents.

Whether it can persuade the rest of us to fork out $10 or €10 per month after the initial 30 days of free play elapses remains to be seen.

LEGO Universe for PCs and Macs
Release: October 26
Price: €39 / $29 (inc. 30 days of Game Time)
Subscription: €10 / $10 for 30 days of Game Time, cheaper in bulk

Kotaku (unscored review)
"Long burnt out on playing massively multiplayer online games, I was a bit surprised at how much fun I was having checking out LEGO Universe" "Its whimsical mix of LEGO elements, humor and collecting is a powerful combination" "My 9-year-old son has just as much fun playing the game as I do"

GamingNexus - B
"A strong start" "Will appeal to a wide range of audiences" "The art is cutesy, but not sickeningly so, and feels like a good fit with the theme of the game." "Players can 'friend' each other, chat in a local group, or chat directly." "It's very difficult to line the pieces up next to each other in such a way that they look perfect"

Gaming Union - 9
"The storyline is relatively simple, and provides just enough background for players to understand what the 'point' of the game is" "Though the level design and graphics are extremely well done, the sound deserves particular merit"

NowGamer - 8.7/10
"There's a touch of Super Mario Galaxy in the dozens of explorable themed worlds" "There are hundreds of collectables and incremental achievements" "A cheery and accessible MMO with all the charm of the Lego series plus the immense creative scope of the original Lego"

GameRevolution - B+
"Were Legos introduced into Mario games, they would play like LEGO Universe" "Controlling your avatar and the building elements are designed to be as simple as feasibly possible" "I can find no caveats, no flaws in the game that wouldn't be inherently present in a children's game"

Wired (unscored review)
"Younger players will love the bright atmosphere and their parents will likely love the no-blood approach to combat" "Plenty of humour" "Tight controls over in-game interaction" "There's none of the ambling around gazing in awe that you get in other creativity-focused virtual worlds, like Second Life or multiplayer Minecraft"

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