What We Already Know
We all know the world has too many MMOs but it turns out that not a lot of those are well-suited for kids. Lego Universe bills itself as the “first age-appropriate MMO,” which probably isn’t 100% accurate but gets the point across. Adults who’d like a cross between Lego Star Wars and World of Warcraft should listen up, too.
What We're Seeing Now
Lego Universe’s main aim is to combine creative play with MMO-style adventure. It’ll start off gently on both fronts, easing its potentially young players into the action. Most content will be heavily moderated, with a “Best Friend” system allowing parents to specifically limit who their children can have detailed interactions with.
The nominal story casts your character as a member of the imagination-fueled Nexus Force, out to prevent the nefarious Maelstrom from spreading chaos throughout the universe. After designing your custom minifigure you’re set loose in a spaceship which serves as the tutorial. Upon building a rocket you’ll blast off to the first of many themed planets.
The first world, Avant Gardens, features typical newbie quests and a wealth of platformer-style collectibles. The action-based combat seems lifted directly from previous Lego games. It’s as bright and cute as you’d expect.
For my money, Lego Universe’s best element is its building system. The first building tasks are simplified, either auto-assembling or guided by outlines. But eventually you’ll unlock a free-building space, and that’s when all those blocks you’ve been collecting come in handy. You can use templates and pre-made models or start with a blank slate, and the possibilities seem robust. You’ll be able to share your creations with others, should you choose, so long as they pass the various moderation systems.
Even cooler, an optional scripting system lets you program rudimentary behaviors into your creations, simply by dragging and dropping icons.
It’s nothing a smart kid can’t handle, but these simple tools have the potential to form relatively complex systems. I’d love to mess around with the behavior scripting myself, to be honest.
Lego Universe is due out in October but you can create your Lego ID and physical prototypes today.