If you made it to another classic Esquire LEGO video game article, you’re probably pretty freaking cool. Well done. You’re cool not only with us, but also with teens, who are “so into” LEGO video games right now. Yes, vaping and cyberbullying are on their way out, and LEGOs are on their way in. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, these games are usually for kids, but all the tough kids on TikTok are crazy about them right now. The coolest thing this side of the Mississippi is a LEGO title. You can find them everywhere, from profile pictures to touching video tributes.
A lot of LEGO games are out there. That is, a lot. This many. Even the Real Housewives, who don’t have a franchise, have their own LEGO game (unless…?). So, how do you get started in the LGU (LEGO Gaming Universe, for those of you who don’t know)? Your friend who knows Teen Lingo is here to help you find the 10 best LEGO games ever made. With the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga later this year, this list needs a big change, but for now I’m sticking with it.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings (2012)
A decade after the original movies came out, this game came out of nowhere. There have been some pretty great Lord of the Rings games, like Shadow of Mordor, all those great PS2 games, and the upcoming Gollum game, but none of them were as bright and colourful as this one. It was just a regular LEGO beat-em-up and collect-em-all game with characters from The Lord of the Rings. It also made it possible for Gandalf to be one of the main characters in LEGO Dimensions and fight alongside Batman. Anything that made that ridiculous fanfiction come true is good in our book.
LEGO Racers (1999)
This was a classic that came out when PC games were at their best in the 1990s. The game was so incredibly hard to understand. But I was a stupid 6-year-old at the time, so it might not have been that hard to understand. Anyhow, Racers was great. You could change the look of your LEGO racer and kart, LEGO pieces would fall off, the tracks were all made of LEGO, and the graphics were in that weird, washed-out CGI style that was popular at the time.
LEGO Worlds (2016)
If Worlds wasn’t so damn awkward, it would have been higher on the list. It let you build in an infinite number of procedurally generated worlds and areas and had some great co-op. The idea came from Minecraft, but it had a LEGO skin. All things considered, the game was good, but it should have been great. There were too many bugs and the controls were hard to use. Let’s hope they haven’t given up and that we’ll get a real LEGO Worlds someday.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016)
It’s all about LEGO Star Wars. It is not The Force Awakens. Even though this game wasn’t bad—it was pretty good—it didn’t feel as exciting as the other LEGO Star Wars games. The game improved the graphics and controls of the LEGO Star Wars universe, but it still felt like it had much less content than the previous games. If you want to play more LEGO Star Wars before the new game comes out, it’s worth a try.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-7 (2010-2011)
Who doesn’t love a little magic from Hogwarts? Since that great Quidditch game in the early 2000s, there haven’t been many Harry Potter video games, so LEGO is your best bet. Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 came out at different times, but on current generations, they are sold together. Even if you don’t like Star Wars or superheroes, this is still one of the best licenced LEGO games. It was silly and fun, and the LEGO Hogwarts was a lot of fun to look around.
LEGO City Undercover (2013)
It was Grand Theft Auto made of LEGOs. I mean, besides the nakedness, sexuality, blood, and violence. LEGO City Undercover was a great open-world city for kids, but they might not have been ready for a game that needed a rating higher than a “M” for “Mature.” Undercover didn’t have as much excitement as licenced games, but it was still a good time as a kid-friendly LEGO game. The driving was fun, and the city was easy to make bigger or smaller. You’d forget you were playing a game for kids.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012)
DC got the same treatment as Star Wars: a huge LEGO game with a lot of characters and brick versions of Gotham and Metropolis. After the DLC, the game had a total of 60 DC minifigures, from Batman to Gorilla Grodd. The game’s gameplay was pretty typical for LEGO games: a beat-em-up with collectibles and slapstick humour, which is, to be fair, all people want from these kinds of games. DC Super Heroes also added good voice acting, which was a first for the series. This made the silly stories come to life even more.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013)
Explore a LEGO version of New York, from Central Park to the Daily Bugle offices. And, wait for it, you can play as any of more than 155 Marvel characters. This game absolutely ruled, with exciting mini missions, diverse gameplay, a custom hero creator, awesome vehicles, and a seemingly endless amount of content, making it the perfect game to mindlessly grind through. Plus, before Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4, this was the best way to explore Marvel’s version of New York. It’s also one of the best open-world games out there, if not the best.
LEGO Dimensions (2015)
During the “toys that come to life” craze with Skylanders, Amiibo, and Disney Infinity, LEGO finally got the message and made LEGO Dimensions, where you could build with LEGOs in real life and scan them into a game. With that one big change, it was like any other LEGO game. Oh, and a huge number of licences. Everyone and everything was there, including Gandalf and Batman, the Ghostbusters and Harry Potter, Doc Brown and Homer Simpson, Sonic and Beetlejuice. Even though it made no sense, there was a lot to learn from it. From old stuff like E.T. and The A-Team to new stuff like Adventure Time, it really encouraged parents to play with their kids and get excited about the same character. LEGO Dimensions is no longer being made, which is a shame. Hopefully, they’ll bring it back and keep adding crazy characters to one of the craziest gaming crossovers ever made.
What about Minecraft? You have, of course. How about Lego Creator, a free-form sandbox game made by Superscape in the late 1990s? This gem came out a little more than ten years before Mojang’s cultural phenomenon, which is known for its freedom and creativity. Lego Creator doesn’t have any goals, challenges, or limits on how you can move forward. Instead, it uses the most popular way to play with Legos, which is to build with blocks. With a free-form building model, players could build the cities of their dreams and then look at them from the point of view of a Minifigure. Later versions of the game added themes, such as fantasy-themed blocks in Lego Creator: Knights’ Kingdom and the wizarding world of Harry Potter (not to be confused with another entry on this list). Lego Creator might be a gem that has won awards, but its old user interface and systems keep it from moving up this list.