Lego 2K Drive review
This is a joint review by Henry Viola and Mindful Phill.
The Lego name is one of the most widespread and well-known brands out there, and these beloved building blocks are loved not only by children but adults as well. So it only makes sense that developer Visual Concepts and publisher 2K Games have come up with their latest project: Lego 2K Drive. Set in the semi-open world of Bricklandia, the newest Lego arcade racing title has you playing the role of the overused, cliche rookie racer looking to make it to the big leagues by winning the Grand Brick Arena tournament. While the racing itself doesn't break the mold of most other kart racers, the real star of the show here is the extensive vehicle builder system. As such, there's plenty of charm and thrills here to keep players of any age engaged for hours on end!
Many racing simulators nowadays market themselves as a realistic experience that requires a lot of knowledge of cars, parts, and racing in general. As such, many of them fall into an extremely niche category that a lot of casual gamers might find a bit daunting to dabble into. Well, don't worry because Lego 2K Drive is built for everyone, children and adults alike, especially if you’re a hardcore Lego fan. In-game concepts such as fast traveling, exploring the open-world, building up your car, and participating in races are all exceptionally well explained. The basic gist of the gameplay revolves around you winning races and collecting enough flags to enter a big tournament. Some races require your player to be a certain level, so you’re encouraged to rack up some experience points by exploring the open world.
Lego 2K Drive
After all, this is a driving game, so expect to do tons of it in your time here with Lego 2K Drive. Your vehicle seamlessly and automatically transforms into a more appropriate one depending on what kind of environment you are treading through. On a paved road? Burn some rubber in your slick street car. On the water? Make a splash in your high-speed boat. On some rough terrain? Blast through in your rugged off-roader ATV. This is a refreshing concept that allows you to virtually go anywhere you want with little-to-no setback. There are a total of four open-world maps for you to explore to your heart's desire, with plenty of side activities to partake in and collectibles to discover. It very much feels alive here with pedestrians going about their day and other drivers sharing the road with you. Although it's a bit silly, you can ram your way through obstacles and even people on the road with no consequence. I just hope kids don't take this the wrong way when it comes to real life!
When you get into an actual race, the gameplay is most akin to a game like Mario Kart, where you do laps around a certain course and pick up power-ups along the way to deter your opponents. These power-ups range from launching homing rockets to becoming a ghost for a short duration! You might think you know drifting in racing games, but 2K Drive executes it slightly differently. It requires you to hold both the brake and the pedal simultaneously, instead of just the brake button. Interestingly enough, I found this easier to execute than in traditional racing games, but that might just be me! There's also a nifty quick-turn mechanic, executed with the PlayStation controller's square button. As you drive and drift, you build up a boost meter, which you can use to gain some extra speed. I wish there was a difficulty selector, though, because there are a few difficulty spikes that I can see being disheartening for children.
Build up the car of your dreams
When you’re not pushing the pedal to the plastic, you can drive around and participate in a plethora of non-racing activities. Some are quirky and funny, having you drive as fast as you can into a fake tunnel, whereas others have you save a farm from invading aliens. It's all silly and good fun. That being said, some of the mini-games and optional content do feel a bit repetitive and bland, as if they were meant to pad out the game. I like how in every little thing you do, whether it's a challenge you overcame or a side quest you completed, you are rewarded with some experience points and cash, so you always feel like you are progressing towards something.
It wouldn't be a Lego game without building or customization, and there's virtually an endless amount here. 2K Drive features a robust vehicle-building system that allows you to build anything you want, with the only limit being your imagination. You can literally build a car from scratch, brick by brick, with hundreds of colors and shapes to choose from. The builder mode can seem a bit daunting at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time. Don't feel pressured to be the most creative person, either, because there are pre-built models to save you some time and get you back on the road. Unfortunately, there isn't an option to share custom vehicle blueprints right now, but I look forward to seeing some of the masterpieces others have created sometime down the line.
Did I also mention there is local co-op in this game? Because it is a true blessing considering how rare it is for games nowadays to implement such a feature. This makes it a perfect family game for parents and children to hop on the couch and play after a long day. What could be better than some goodhearted racing in a colorful Lego world? For those who are wondering, there is online play as well, but it requires you to create and link a 2K account with the platform you are playing on. But hey, at least there's cross-play, meaning you can hop on your PS5 and play with your friend who uses Xbox or PC, but sorry to Nintendo Switch players because there's no cross-play implemented there.
There's a lot to love in such a cute game like this, but I can't help but shake my head at the aggressive amount of monetization being pushed toward the player. Microtransactions cost as high as $49.99 for a pallet of 6500 coins to be used in-game, which is egregious considering the game itself already costs a hefty $69.99 on next-gen consoles. It doesn't help that the developers are already starting to sell Year 1 DLC passes and starter bundles for more money on top of all the aforementioned purchases. The most baffling of all is how little Brickbux, the in-game currency, you earn by playing the actual game, as vehicle purchases cost an insane amount, and you’re left with the two options of either grinding endlessly via repetition or pulling out your credit card. It's absolutely disgusting.
For a driving game, Lego 2K Drive not only excels on performance in the vehicular department but also on the technical side. Load times are blisteringly fast when played on the PlayStation 5, and the frame rates are buttery smooth. DualSense features are also utilized with vibrations depending on the driving environment. Unfortunately, I did suffer from a critical cloud save bug that caused me to lose hours of progress. This happened when the 2K servers went offline without notifying me with an in-game alert. Once it reconnected, the cloud sync essentially erased all the progress I made by reverting back to an earlier save. 2K is already aware of this issue, so expect a speedy patch, but this is nonetheless a frustrating experience.
It's very easy to recommend Lego 2K Drive, especially if you’re looking for a fun kart racer to play with your friends or family. There's a strong foundation here, with a solid story mode, creative humor, an addicting gameplay loop, and an impressive vehicle building system all wrapped up in colorful Legos. However, the aggressive use of microtransactions in an experience heavily marketed towards children and families is what prevents me from pushing the pedal to the metal all the way.
Pedal to the metal and let the bricks fly, blazing through a nostalgic ride in Lego 2K Drive. Kids and parents, take note! If you are a Lego enthusiast, the time has come, and you can finally build and race the most incredible cars, off-road vehicles, and boats in many open worlds built with Lego bricks. For many, it's a dream come true; the unlimited potential for building classics or letting your imagination go wild, combined with a solid mix of arcade & kart racer. It is with great anticipation and enthusiasm that we welcome Lego 2K Drive, and, spoiler alert, we are delighted!
We had a glimpse of Lego Racing in Forza Horizon 4 and were mesmerized. So it was about time for a full-fledged open-world Lego racing game proudly delivered by developer Visual Concepts and publisher 2K Games. Indeed, they deliver! And that is an understatement; Lego 2K Drive is everything you could have hoped for and much more!
Unleash your creativity
Story: Meet Bricklandia, where a solo or cooperative campaign happens. Explore and discover open-world secrets and face fierce rivals on your path to glory.
Cup Series: Immerse yourself in the thrilling Cup Series tournaments. Choose from multiple tracks, each representing a unique biome in Bricklandia. Engage in the Grand Brix Cup Series, consisting of four cups with four races each. Test your skills and compete for victory.
Race: Jump into the action with several races available in each biome. As you progress in the game, more races become unlocked. Start driving immediately by selecting any course and License Class level. Enjoy two types of races: Circuit, where you navigate lap-based tracks, and Point-to-Point, which takes you through multiple checkpoints in one direction.
Minigames: Take a break from traditional races and dive into a series of entertaining minigames. These are the same ones encountered during the story mode. Minigames feature distinct missions beyond crossing the finish line, so speed alone won't guarantee success. In Defend Minigames, defend three generators against waves of marching robots, utilizing your vehicle and Power-Ups to defeat them. In Rescue Minigames, confront rampaging monsters and save helpless townspeople, bringing them to safety.
Play with Friends: Challenge your friends in an online mode where you can invite them to join you for exciting gameplay. Compete against each other and showcase your racing prowess.
Play with Everyone: Engage in online multiplayer mode, where you can face off against other players from around the world. Test your skills against a diverse range of opponents and strive for victory.
The Garage: Get creative in the garage as you create and customize your vehicles brick by brick. Unleash your imagination and design the perfect racing machine to match your style and preferences.
Unkie's Emporium: Explore Unkie's Emporium, the one-stop shop for all your racing needs. Discover a wide variety of items and accessories to enhance your racing experience. From performance upgrades to cosmetic customization options, Unkie's Emporium has everything you can imagine.
Grand Brick Arena
Welcome to the exciting world of Lego 2K Drive's Story mode in Bricklandia; you’ll embark on a lighthearted and heartwarming adventure as you rise from a rookie racer to become a legendary champion in the pursuit of the prestigious Sky Cup Trophy in the Grand Brick Arena. Along the way, you’ll face charismatic rivals in exhilarating races that will test your skills to the limit.
The Story Mode captures the typical charm and humor found in Lego games. Like a Pixar movie, the story is lightweight yet captivating, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face as you ride through the colorful and vibrant world of bricks.
The characters you’ll encounter in this delightful tale are a lively bunch, each with their unique personalities that add to the entertainment factor. The plot is engaging and filled with entertaining twists and turns that will keep you hooked from start to finish. But what truly sets this story apart is its ability to resonate with players of all ages.
Clutch Racington and his trusty robot assistant S.T.U.D are cheering you on in your ride. They’ll be your guides, leading you through quests to complete and races to win. With each move you make, you’ll come one step closer to the ultimate challenge—the Sky Cup Series.
One of many biomes
One of the Story mode highlights is the vast and immersive open worlds of Bricklandia. You are free to explore many unique and diverse "open worlds" waiting to be discovered. Whether you prefer to go on this adventure solo or team up with a friend in split-screen co-op, the choice is yours, making this feature a fantastic addition to a racing game's story mode.
As you progress, you’ll ride from one world to another, unlocking and tackling new races. What's delightful is that even on worlds you’ve already mastered, new races may appear, challenging you to come back and conquer new circuits.
In addition to the exhilarating races, Story mode offers plenty of extra activities and minigames. By participating in these, you can earn all sorts of collectibles and Perks that enhance your gameplay. While these activities also provide you with some cash, it's worth noting that it might not be enough to purchase items at the store. To afford desired items, you’ll need to invest time in grinding.
3, 2, 1, GO!
Among the various activities, the most fun challenges are the world races. These thrilling competitions will test your racing prowess and offer you a chance to earn numerous collectibles. Some activities might be slightly repetitive due to their similarities, but they are diverse enough to prevent them from feeling exactly alike.
The story in the Story mode is heartfelt, charming, and fun, making it a big plus for kids and players of all ages. It begins with an easy difficulty level, which may be off-putting for those seeking a challenge. However, exercise patience as the game gradually becomes more and more challenging, rewarding your progress and keeping the game appealing and engaging.
Be prepared to repeat races, activities, and minigames to secure victory. Utilizing your "loadouts" effectively will give you an edge over your rivals, so don't forget to make the most of them.
Your ultimate goal in the Story mode is to race in the Grand Brick Arena, where the final boss races take place. To qualify for these intense races, you must collect a specific number of flags by winning campaign races.
As you progress, expect to encounter higher-level categories, making the races more challenging. To conquer the later races, you must step up your game and demonstrate exceptional skills.
The magic of this experience lies in its ability to be a fantastic family-friendly activity. Gather the whole family and enjoy the adventure together, as the story and characters create an enjoyable atmosphere for children and adults alike. It's a rare gem that allows you to bond and share laughter with your loved ones.
Cruising like a winner
The Lego 2K Drive game offers a delightful combination of a kart racer like Mario Kart, an open-world arcade game akin to Burnout Paradise, and the charm of a paradise built with bricks. With a touch of Hot Wheels Unleashed's exceptional gameplay, it creates a unique and satisfying experience by borrowing the best elements from various genres. In a racing genre dominated by realistic simulators, it stands out as an engaging kart racer with unique abilities and control mechanics.
The comical characters you’ll encounter throughout the story mode will keep a steady sense of joy alive. Their witty remarks, humorous interactions, and hilarious mishaps will bring laughter and entertainment to every moment of your adventure. Get ready to chuckle and giggle as they bring their unique brand of comedy to the table. Throughout the game, you’ll enjoy entertaining commentary.
The races in Lego 2K Drive are thrilling, tense, and often intense, reminiscent of the chaos of Mario Kart. As you progress to more challenging levels and categories, the races become more intense and chaotic, with a lot happening at once. Every second counts and anything can happen, keeping the excitement high until the last moment. The AI opponents are smart and unforgiving, making it challenging to hold onto your position. Unlike traditional kart racers, where there is a gap between cars, all opponents run close to each other, creating a continuous battle for the top spot.
The game features a variety of slick cars, boats, off-road vehicles, ATVs, quads, lawnmowers, and more. Each vehicle has unique characteristics and abilities, adding depth to the gameplay. You can cause mayhem and destroy props to recover your boost meter, unleashing turbo power for a thrilling speed boost. The controls are spot-on, striking a balance between accessibility and responsiveness. While it's not a physical simulation, the cars are easy to control, similar to the mechanics found in Hot Wheels Unleashed.
As you ride through Bricklandia, be prepared to be dazzled by the stunning visuals that bring this Lego world to life. The visuals in the game are breathtaking, showcasing remarkable artwork designed entirely with Lego bricks. The whole world is built with meticulous attention to detail, creating a captivating and immersive environment. It's a visual treat for players, especially those who have a fondness for Lego. Every detail, from the bustling streets to the intricate race tracks, is meticulously designed to immerse you in a visually captivating experience. The game's design will appeal to kids and those seeking a nostalgic connection to their childhood. And to complement the visuals, the charming soundtrack adds an extra layer of joy and excitement, enhancing the game's overall atmosphere.
A multitude of wacky activities
The game offers a multitude of wacky activities that provide a diverse and engaging experience. From running through checkpoints and collecting and delivering items to rescuing characters and participating in driver tests, there's always something new and exciting to do. These activities prevent the game from feeling repetitive and offer rewards to enhance and customize your cars. Depending on your level, you’ll unlock perks such as improved handling, health, top speed, and acceleration boosts, allowing you to personalize your racing experience further.
The game starts with a pleasant but not overly challenging beginning, gradually ramping up the difficulty as the story progresses. The increasing challenges demand applying your learned skills and mastery developed through hours of gameplay. There is unlimited content to explore, ensuring that the game offers lasting enjoyment.
In Unkie's Emporium, the in-game store, you can find a wide range of items, including cars, car parts, drivers, Lego bricks, brick packs, and cosmetic customization options. However, the store's pricing and microtransactions are disappointing. Items in the store are overpriced, and acquiring in-game currency through grinding can take time and effort. The reliance on expensive microtransactions is not justified in a game that already carries a high price tag. Additionally, the introduction of annual season passes raises questions about the value of the content they provide.
Always number one!
Lego 2K Drive provides an engaging and enjoyable adventure. With thrilling races, open-world exploration, diverse activities, and a heartfelt story, it caters to players of all ages. The game offers increasing difficulty to accommodate both beginners and experienced racers, making it a satisfying experience for all. Get ready for an unforgettable ride to become the legendary champion of the Sky Cup Trophy.
Despite its flaws in the ridiculous microtransaction model, the Lego 2K Drive game delivers a unique and satisfying racing experience. By blending kart racing mechanics, arcade gameplay, and the beloved Lego aesthetic, it captures the joy and fun that players of all ages can appreciate. The engaging, diverse races and activities and the stunning visuals provide endless entertainment.
Above all, Lego 2K DriveLego 2K Drive is an excellent family activity that combines charm, humor, and heartwarming moments. It offers a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, creating lasting memories in the whimsical world of Bricklandia. So gather around, immerse yourselves in this captivating adventure, and let the joy and laughter flow as you embark on this ride!
In a world filled with bricks and boundless imagination, Lego 2K Drive in Bricklandia shines as an extraordinary racing adventure. With its thrilling races, delightful characters, and captivating visuals, this game takes players on a joyous ride that is sure to put a smile on their faces. Despite its ludicrous microtransactions, the sheer fun and excitement of the kart racing experience, combined with the charming Lego aesthetic, make it a game worth playing.
—Henry Viola and Mindful Phill
See below for our list of partners and affiliates:Story: Cup Series: Race: Minigames: Play with Friends: Play with Everyone: The Garage: Unkie's Emporium: