Lego 2K Drive is Forza Horizon meets Mario Kart in an open-world made of bricks

Lego 2K Drive
(Image credit: 2K)

During my hands-on session with Lego 2K Drive, I don't initially realize I'm leaning so close to the monitor. I'm racing against other players online, and by the second lap, it has me sitting on the edge of my seat. My state of intense concentration is thanks to competing racers closing in on me at all times, firing out items designed to disassemble my car or give themselves a leg up. When I'm not getting blown to smithereens by a well-timed missile, I'm mashing the A button on my Xbox Series X controller in a bid to do away with a spider web that's hindering my vision. In the last lap, I by some miracle push my way into first place, but it doesn't last long. A driver hits me with a barrage of pellets and my vehicle falls to pieces before my eyes. 

The item-infused chaos of the races immediately brings to mind Mario Kart, which is all the more hectic when you're playing with others. When you're off the race track, though, developer Visual Concepts and 2K have created an open-world driving adventure with arcade sensibilities that has shades of Forza Horizon about it. Set to come to PC (via Steam and the Epic store), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Switch on May 19, 2023, Lego 2K Drive can be played solo, online with up to six players, or in split-screen local co-op with a pal. After spending a good chunk of time speeding around in its world and testing out some features, I can already see this having a broad appeal among racing and Lego fans alike. 

Bricks and boosts  

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)
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Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Playground Games)

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My time with Lego 2K Drive begins in the Turbo Acres training ground, where I first sample the basics with the help of veteran driver Clutch Racington (what a name). In the opening section, I learn how to drift, do quick turns for sharp corners, and test out my booster which propels me forward in short bursts. The booster's meter can be refilled by driving into and smashing up objects around the world, which is as satisfying as it ever has been in the world of Lego games. 

The training ground is also where I'm first introduced to the different terrains and how they change up my set of wheels. When I drive along the road, my Lego vehicle takes the shape of a street car, only to swiftly transform into a boat when I go across a nearby river, and switch up to an off-roader when I veer onto grass. You're free to change up your vehicle's loadout for each style, but I love how it automatically reacts to the landscape; it feels very fitting for Lego, with the bricks seamlessly rearranging themselves into the various forms in the blink of an eye. 

I'm soon transported to Big Butte County, which is one of the many biomes in the world of Bricklandia to explore. The western-style landscape is home to Lego cowboys, farmland, and even a town filled with diners and dessert shops to cruise past. As a new driver, you'll earn yourself experience in order to level up by completing various activities around the world. 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

There are lots of different races I can put the pedal to the metal in early on, but some that are locked off until I reach a certain level. Racing events will see you face off against a Rival racer in order to win a flag, and other rewards such as money and new vehicles. Accumulating enough flags will let you qualify to take part in one of three different Grand Brick Arenas in Bricklandia, which reminds me of the festival progression system in Forza Horizon 5. Ultimately, your driving adventures revolve around trying to win the coveted Sky Trophy Cup, but there's plenty to get stuck into outside of races. 

Various Challenges, Quests, and On-The-Go events scattered throughout the world to discover and try. The latter events will present you with various different discoverable challenges dotted around the map. One of the early ones I encounter has me boosting and jumping my way over the roofs of farm buildings with a time-limit, which proves to be quite a tricky task. Quests on the other hand are a little more straightforward, with local residents asking for your help to gather up pigs, or finding a particular driver in a location based on their penchant for desserts and the color of their racing uniform. 

Creative customization 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

The discoverable events definitely give you the incentive to explore the world at large outside of taking in the sights, and all of the challenges and quests are full of Lego's signature goofiness and humor. While I spend the majority of my time solo, we switch things up to test out some of the races and activities with other players in the same world. When one player begins a race, we all get pulled into the same event without delay, meaning it's just as easy to get stuck into everything on offer. It definitely ups the competitive edge of the races, but it's also enjoyable to drive around and explore with fellow drivers alongside you. 

One of the most appealing aspects of Lego 2K Drive is undoubtedly the option to build and create vehicles of your very own. By heading to garages which also serve as fast travel spots, you can set about building any car or boat your imagination can cook up. After selecting the type of vehicle I want to make, I then select one of the set bases which come in different shapes and sizes. 

With over 1,000 Lego pieces to play around with, I choose a car base model called Tiny Terror and begin to assemble what I dub a 'very small pig mobile', complete with pig Lego pieces decorating both sides. While the camera is a little finicky to move, all of the pieces snap together with ease, as if you're building an actual Lego set. The various bricks and paints mean you really can let your creative side loose, and you can even give the wheels you put together a test drive before you commit to saving your creation. 

There's a lot to see and do in Lego 2K Drive. While I can't help but compare it to the likes of Mario Kart and Forza Horizon, its customization certainly taps into the creativity Lego is so well-known for, and it has a satisfying sense of progression that's sure to please fans of the playsets and the racing genre when it hits the grid this May. 

Keep track of all the upcoming releases on the way with our roundup of new games for 2023 and beyond. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.