Sunday 19 November 2017

Rebuilding the fun brick by brick

Lego City Undercover (PS4/XO) 4 stars Age: 7+

Lego City Undercover
Lego City Undercover
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

The factory churning out endless Lego spin-offs has finally either run out of ideas or taken an extended holiday. Lego City Undercover may be no more than a remaster of a four-year-old instalment, but it shows how much fun was built into the concepts of the long-running series.

Instead of riffing on an established franchise such has Star Wars or Indiana Jones, LCU parodies everything from movies such as The Shawshank Redemption or The Matrix to cop shows such as Starsky & Hutch. Based on an open-world city reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto, LCU's gameplay otherwise deviates little from the Lego template - smashing and rebuilding objects, collecting Lego studs and solving light puzzles.

This ageing framework may be a little stale and overused but LCU sustains the interest of young players through the slapstick, knockabout platforming. Older players (read: parents) will be drawn to the endlessly amusing script littered with zingers and dad jokes.

The franchise's usual multiplayer was missing from the 2013 original. It's half-heartedly restored here but lacks the true cooperative play of other instalments.

While we wait for the Lego factory to manufacture a genuinely new hit, fans could do a lot worse than this load of brick-mania.


(PSVR) 4 stars Age: 12+

Sony has been treacly slow to support the PlayStation VR headset with new titles, so it falls to little indie gems like Korix to keep owners ticking over. A StarCraft-esque strategy sim spliced with tower-defence genes, Korix looks visually stark with its near-monochromatic grid and stick characters but the novelty of the VR viewpoint breathes new life into its simple gameplay.

Single-player mode proves almost too straightforward, the enemy AI offering no more strategy than a Zerg rush of massed units on the attack. But online multiplayer reveals the satisfying layers to Korix's complexity, culminating in a mad scramble to build the first game-ending nuke.


(PS4/XO/PC) 4 stars Age: 7+

You can't describe Aaero without referencing Rez, the seminal rhythm action pioneer. Like its inspiration, it thrusts you into a 3D neon-burnt maze that shifts and contorts in time to bass-heavy electro tunes. Factor in prowling enemies that must be targeted with the right stick and your hand-eye coordination will be severely tested. The licensed music can sound insipid and inevitably repetitive as per the genre, while the boss fights stop just short of being frustrating. But Aaero hits enough high notes to deserve a place in the charts.

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