LEGO 2K Drive review: "Family-friendly, open world racing done right"

Lego 2K Drive
(Image: © 2K Games)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Imagine Forza Horizon 5 rebuilt with LEGO and that's pretty much what you're getting with LEGO 2K Drive. Visual Concepts has delivered an exemplary open-world racing game that's family friendly without being too simplistic, and one which works superbly in split-screen co-op.


  • +

    Challenging for newbies and racing veterans

  • +

    Brilliant multiplayer and co-op options

  • +

    Intuitive brick building system


  • -

    Not as funny as other LEGO games

  • -

    Race wins can feel a little contrived

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

2K and Visual Concepts get their first shot at the LEGO franchise and have instantly delivered one of gaming's most convincing open world racers in LEGO 2K Drive. All the competition, challenges, and collectathon goodtimes you might expect are present and correct, complementing a solid single-player, story-led adventure. 


Release date: May 19, 2023
Platform(s): Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, PS5, PS4, Switch
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K

Your vehicle instantly and automatically switches between street car, boat, and off-roader depending on the terrain that's under your wheels at any one time, allowing you to zoom across land or water without worry. This makes for breathless races and unrestricted exploration – exactly what a modern open world racer needs. And no element of LEGO 2K Drive feels compromised or cobbled together; it's all very assured.

Suitable for kids of all ages

LEGO 2K Drive screenshots xbox series x

(Image credit: 2K Games)

LEGO 2K Drive comprises three main areas. There's a LEGO-ified version of Arizona called 'Big Butte County' (yes, very funny, but it's pronounced 'bute'), a Transylvania-esque, spooky-themed area, and 'Prospecto Valley' – essentially an Oregon-like gold rush mining settlement with trees all around. There's also one more smaller area that's all you have access to to begin with, which is basically just a green LEGO land which serves as the perfect introduction to the game – especially for young players. 

Even after the intro, there's no escaping the child-focused delivery. Not only are you constantly referred to as 'kid' throughout the story, the 2K Portal even asks you to 'verify your child's email', assuming that you're making an account for a minor instead of for yourself. Adults like LEGO too, come on now. But the ironic thing is that LEGO 2K Drive soon reveals higher levels of challenge and skill depth clearly designed to challenge those already well-versed in racing games. There's loads of scope for properly skilful play by mastering the subtleties of a deceptively deep control scheme, with its separate drift and sharp-turn buttons. And there's a perk system which unlocks as you progress, affording everything from defense buffs for your vehicle to a double jump later on. 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K Games)

"LEGO 2K Drive is big, bold, and beautiful, and some of the later races are truly superb."

There does, however, appear to be some degree of rubber-banding going on during the races. No matter how well you drive, the leader (and maybe another car or two) will always zoom off out of sight, reappearing with a lap to go before vying with you for first place before suddenly losing some speed, either by getting taken out by a weapon or just going slower than it needs to, so that you win. It isn't as pronounced later on in the campaign, so LEGO 2K Drive isn't all watered down, but races do often feel artificially 'close' when you get a feel for what you're doing.

That said, the gameplay itself is excellent. Races are fast, responsive, impressive to look at, and LEGO 2K Drive even runs at a reasonably solid 60fps for the most part on Xbox Series X, despite the screen being filled with scattered LEGO bricks and scenery elements, not to mention dynamic waves in the water and some of the most convincing mud spray effects this side of that pre-rendered Motorstorm trailer from 2005. 

Developer Visual Concepts has impressed for some three decades now, and the solid frame rate and bright colors that the studio has delivered here really help to give LEGO 2K Drive a vintage arcade-racer kind of feel. It's big, bold, and beautiful, and some of the later races are truly superb.

Build a better vehicle

LEGO 2K Drive screenshots xbox series x

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Many of the best LEGO games are known for their silly sense of humor, and while that is present here with some excellent character names, sight gags, and funny signage, 2K Drive isn't as witty as the likes of Lego City Undercover. It's all good fun, and kids will undoubtedly laugh at the few (thankfully infrequent) toilet jokes, but it's seldom laugh-out-loud funny – offering just enough to make you smile. 

What really stands out with 2K's offering over Traveller's Tales' LEGO games is that the fundamental ethos of the toy itself is present and correct: building. In recent years, LEGO games have rewarded destruction rather than construction, and any actual building is usually reduced to holding a button while the game does it for you. Not so in LEGO 2K Drive. Here you can start with four wheels and literally build your dream car from scratch, brick by brick. Even better than that, any pre-built car you find has instructions that let you build it yourself on the screen, which could absolutely be replicated in real life with real bricks. It's superb. 

LEGO 2K Drive screenshots xbox series x

(Image credit: 2K Games)

While each of the cars do have unique handling characteristics, there's nothing to stop you just sticking with one loadout for the vast majority of LEGO 2K Drive and remaining competitive. You might need a speed boost for some gold medals, and the special lawnmower vehicle is the only way you can clear weeds from the tracks, but otherwise it's an experience about driving rather than equipment. 

This also extends to the weapons set. LEGO 2K Drive is based more on cornering and jumping to find shortcuts than mastering the weapons system, which feels loose and imprecise compared to, say, Disney Speedstorm or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nonetheless, the weapon element does make 2K Drive feel more like a kart racer than a straight racing game, though the scope, speed, and scale of the courses means it rarely feels as compact as the genre's best. 

Get connected

LEGO 2K Drive screenshots xbox series x

(Image credit: 2K Games)

The LEGO 2K Drive campaign isn't as long as you might expect given the game's size, with the story mode easily beatable in a weekend, at around 8-10 hours long. You spend most of your time entering races and beating rivals – each with their own backstory and daft characterisation – earning checkered flags from wins until you have enough to enter the area's Grand Brick Arena, which is a special, one-off showcase race with bombastic spectacle. 

In-between, you'll explore each of the three areas to find collectible bricks and other hidden items, complete quests for NPCs (like hitching a ride back to a small landing zone using the flight power of a stray bat), or complete special story events like a tower defense section where you're defending a scientist's work from an army of robot cowboys. The quality is consistently high; there's always something to do. Once the story mode is done, there's still some 80% of the game itself to tick off, and it will surely take weeks to find everything and complete every challenge that LEGO 2K Drive has to offer. 

LEGO 2K Drive screenshots xbox series x

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Then there's online mode where you can race with friends or in public lobbies which support crossplay. If you sign into a 2K account, you can even carry your progress across to another platform, which is becoming a very welcome trend in games like this. There's also the ability to play the whole of LEGO 2K Drive in split-screen with a friend in local multiplayer. This allows each player to go wherever they like within the same biome and play the game at their own pace, together or apart, much like Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, until a player decides to change biomes or start a race. It runs beautifully with only a hint more draw-in on distant scenery. It's very, very slick.

Indeed, LEGO 2K Drive is obviously a very classy game. It looks great, runs well, is fully featured and well balanced to ensure that everyone has a good time. LEGO 2K Drive is an easy recommendation then, regardless of whether you're looking for a gift for a child or just want a wholesome palette cleanser for yourself. 

LEGO 2K Drive was reviewed on Xbox Series X, with a code provided by the publisher.

More info

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.