Released on Apple Arcade in September 2019, Lego Brawls is a “Super Smash Bros.”-style fighting game that allows 8-player matches as one of over 200 unlockable Lego Minifigures. The game will feature numerous LEGO-themed arenas with free-for-all battles and showdowns where two teams of four work together over a simple objective. It sounds fun, it looks good, and we love Lego. Unfortunately, it’s ruined by fundamental gameplay and erratic behavior on the Switch.
Yes, it’s perfect for plastic hunks like us, but it would be difficult for anyone other than young children to spend much time with it. There are tons of minifigs, costumes, and other items that can be unlocked by playing and earning studs, which will no doubt keep some younger fans occupied for a while, but as for the actual fighting, it is a very shallow and disappointing experience that quickly becomes a button-mashing bore.
The game gives you primary offensive and jumping abilities and space to use two special moves that can be picked up from blocks scattered around the arena. Initially, the specials were a big laugh, with Lego sharks, rockets, drills, lasers, horses, and many other fun things to collect and beat up your enemies with. Still, soon you realize these power-ups operate precisely the same way and have no strategic depth beyond just violating your enemies for an easy kill! Once you realize this, you’ll get bored with the game before the excitement has even worn off.
The combat in “Lego Brawls” is straightforward, just hit a bunch of buttons and hope for the best, and the fact that the game constantly stuttered during online play when it was first released and that it was tough to keep track of your character’s position because the camera zoomed so far away when confused, did not help It was not a thing. Not a very good combination.
With eight-player local play, online free-for-all, an online co-op mode, and famous Lego set like Ninjago, Pirates, Hidden Sides, and Jurassic World, this game has the bones of a great party brawler. It looks perfect, but it is no escaping that it is boringly simple, messy, and laughably overpriced – and this is the real drawback. Especially considering how cheap it was when it was included in “Apple Arcade,” if it weren’t so ridiculously overpriced on Switch, you’d be tempted to dismiss “Lego Brawls” as a hilarious nonsense game for young “Lego” fans.
There is little to engage with, as the game only allows you to collect minifigs and customize your character, with no changes to the all-important battles. Ultimately, the impression is that this is a relatively poor free-to-play mobile game and one that doesn’t work very well on Nintendo’s hardware.