The Overlord and his robotic army of Nindroids are causing major mischief and mayhem in New Ninjago City. That scallywag. You’re left with no choice but to whip out your Ninjas and kick some Nindroid butt. LEGO Ninjago Nindroids sits comfortably on the Vita both in the sense of gameplay and programming. It’s bug free, runs flawlessly with no framerate issues, and is absolutely perfect for quick-fire gaming sessions. Need a break from your managers who contradict each other all day and then blame you for any mistakes? Pop to the bog with your Vita and smash some LEGO. There are thirty-one levels and each one can potentially be completed in just a few minutes. Most of these levels resemble a simplified and scaled down version of the formula you’ll find in the usual LEGO games. Fight your way through enemies, build kits and puzzle out how to progress through each mission. It is worth pointing out that the simplification of this design makes Nindroids highly suitable for small persons. However, as a thirty-eight-year-old big person I still enjoyed it, even though the difficulty level was insanely easy – so easy in fact that it made me feel like a butch pro player. I must say I rather enjoyed the power trip. This must be what it feels like to Platinum everything you touch.
Talking of trophies, for me, this is where the big fun is. There’s a long list to collect and they all appear realistically obtainable. Great news for Platinum hunters and it adds to the game’s high replayability factor. Like the game’s big brothers, you will be hunting for golden bricks. Each level has a list of activities that will earn you one of these coveted plastic rewards, and you will need to replay in order to collect them all. Become a True Ninja by smashing stuff and earning buckets of studs, locate and collect minikits, complete the level as a certain character, get through in a set amount of time, destroy so many enemies, break no lampposts, etc etc. Lots of challenges to complete and golden bricks to earn, and it’s all this that turns an extremely short game into something much longer and much more appealing to us big persons.
As you progress through the game you get to play as all the Ninja team. Some characters will only be available in specific levels on your first playthrough, but you’ll unlock more as you go and gain more of a choice. My favourite was Kai. Those of you who know me first and foremost as an author will know my main reason, but I also love his sassy personality and impressive katana. I’m not sure if some characters really are easier or more difficult to fight with, but Kai’s sword felt the most effective. Unless I needed a character for a specific task, like Jay’s electricity to jumpstart something or Zane’s frosty power to put out fires, I stuck with Kai. Although, if it is possible to find a LEGO figure attractive, I thought Cole with his black hair, scythe and face scarf was rather lovely so I indulged a little in his company too.
Moving swiftly on, because I just came out as Legosexual and I haven’t yet told my mother, I also enjoyed the variety of gameplay in each level. It’s not just the same formula over and over. Every so often you’ll be presented with something completely different. You get vehicles! Drive a mechanoid, car, plane or become a postman (how beautifully random). Although I’m not admitting to how many times I tripped over trying to deliver parcels, the difficulty setting is again missing so if you’re a big person you’ll easily be able to complete these activities while at the same time walking the dog or making a bacon sandwich. Specifically bacon. I cannot guarantee success with tuna, chicken mayo or any other sandwich filling.
If you do need a break from the main story, you can visit The Hub. Here you can purchase new characters or character variations with your studs, select levels to replay or train in the dojo for a chance at some extra trophies. It’s a cute little part of the game, but it could use some work. It’s certainly nice to wander about free in a part of the city, but the area is a tad small and there aren’t enough activities to make this a particularly enjoyable experience. Rather I found it a bit annoying that I had to walk and battle my way to the dojo rather than just selecting the activity from a menu and going straight there. Then again, I am generally a lazy cow in real life too. Even the walk from the sofa to the fridge is an effort. I’m thinking of getting a skateboard. Or remote controlled food.
Storywise, the game went a little over my head. I’m not familiar with Nindroids so I felt as though I’d sat down halfway through a good yarn. I enjoyed the cutscenes because they looked good, but I admit my attention to the story within them somewhat drifted. However, this isn’t a game that really needs any kind of explanation or exposition. It’s all about smashing enemies and earning golden bricks. It is simplistic, but that’s the design of the game. It’s not meant to be complex.
LEGO Ninjago Nindroids is the baby brother of all those LEGO games we know and love. With a difficulty level that is incredibly easy even for the most unskilled of us, this game is geared more towards children. However, for fans of the LEGO genre, trophy hunters and those looking for something quick and easy, it’s a fun little game. Grab a golden brick and knock yourselves out.
SJ Hollis rating: 7/10