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LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean review

Why do you build me up, just to let me down?


  • The gorgeous lighting
  • Collecting studs
  • Perfecting each level


  • Mind-numbing puzzles
  • Formulaic gameplay
  • Platforming sections

Half the fun of the LEGO games is seeing how they’ll render new movie universes. While combining a film series based on a ride with a videogame series based on toys might sound like a recipe for the biggest sellout this side of a Gaga concert, the LEGO series wards off cynicism by the boatful. That is, unless you're hoping for a LEGO game you haven't already played.

Like every other LEGO game, you run dumpy LEGO people around like madmen, swinging your weapon nonchalantly and destroying everything you come in contact with. Most of the terrain is destructible and you're rewarded for your transgressions with the whimsical spilling of LEGO studs (game currency). Sure, we've done it before, but it's still fun.

Above: 360/PS3 screenshot

See, like a child who watches the same film over and over, there's a small comfort in knowing if you've played one LEGOs game you've played them all. Pirates doesn't make any attempts to reinvent itself, but differentiates itself in a few small ways. For one, Pirates is more colorful than most outings, due in no small part to the tropical locale. Excellent lighting effects and gorgeous graphics make the game a pleasure to zone out to, which is good news because Pirates is so easy you’ll be doing a lot of zoning out.

You’ll reduce your enemies to piles of plastic by smashing a single button (except during boss battles which add a short quick time event to the fray) and puzzles too have been distilled. Whereas its big brother console-version had a few confusing puzzles, really nothing is difficult in the portable version. Onscreen directives litter the screen and Pirates holds your hand through even the most menial of tasks.

Above: 360/PS3 screenshot

The barely-fighting, barely-solving puzzles formula has worked for every other LEGO game, but in the course of Pirate's sixteen missions, that formula loses its flavor. The small screens will have you jumping to your death time and time again and there’s really no reason to play through levels again after you’ve beat them once.

There's still plenty of fun inside the good ship, and the myriad of collectibles and light $30 price tag make this portable a completionist’s dream come true, but the LEGO series seem to be losing its new toy shine. Pirates has its moments, but we’re ready to set sail in a new direction.

Jul 1, 2011

More Info

Franchise nameLEGO
UK franchise nameLEGO
Platform3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, PC, DS
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date10 May 2011 (US), 13 May 2011 (UK)