NS Review – Lego City Undercover (Nintendo Switch)

Chase McCain, the hero cop you star as in Lego City Undercover, carries with him a handy communicator. This is given to you very early on in the game and through a series of upgrades it is used to chat to his colleagues, scan the local area for criminals and follow trials along the ground to hidden treasures. This communicator doesn’t look like a phone, but, instead, it looks like certain black plastic control pad with built in screen. No, it’s not a Switch he’s brandishing there, it’s undoubtedly a Wii U Gamepad. Aah, our old, quickly forgotten friend.

This game feels like it was designed and built for Nintendo’s less successful Wii follow-up from the ground up. Released early in the console’s life, the game includes Bob-ombs, Piranha plants and Power stars to find and encouraged you to hold the game pad up to the screen to look for enemies. It even included a touch screen interactive game pad map too. So, whilst it’s most certainly just as playable on Switch, you can’t help but think you’re missing out on how it should have been.

The game see’s you take control of a cop in Lego City, who, throughout the adventure, acquires a range of disguises which allow him to go ‘Undercover’. Each disguise brings with it a new ability; a Fireman outfit lets you put out fires and break down doors, Scientist disguises can use devices to transport from place to place and Robbers can scan and open safes and bust open different doors with a pick axe. You can even glide off of buildings holding a chicken as a Farmer and drink tea as a Construction worker.

Whilst these multiple disguises and abilities means that changing ‘character’ is an essential function, required to progress missions and get every last collectable, it doesn’t quite have the same sense of variety and range of characters seen in other Lego games. Lego Marvel Super Heroes and such featured two playable characters, most of which changed from level to level. In Lego City Undercover the number of abilities feels a little limited, especially when compared to Lego Dimensions.

Don’t get me wrong though – it’s still a lot of fun. And that’s the key takeaway here – the game is pure fun and therefore highly recommended. Having lost many, many hours to the Wii U version, I really do recommend you pick this up. Especially if you enjoyed other Lego games and if you’ve not played it before. The open world is a vast open space with a mix of rural and city areas, as well as an off-shore prison island and an adventure in space. And with main levels taking place in a museum, on the roofs of sky scrapers and on a construction site, amongst others, there’s plenty to see and do and plenty of bricks to smash and studs to collect on the way!

This re-release includes a two-player option too, something that the Wii U version was missing. It feels a bit tacked on (the second player simply controls another version of Chase wearing a different disguise), and missions and puzzles weren’t and still aren’t designed for two players, so whilst not a deal breaker, it does give you more reason to pick it up and perhaps get together with a pal to explore. Make sure you grab two extra joy-cons or a pro-controller though – unfortunately you can’t play with one joy-con each, which would have been a great bonus.

Presentation wise, the game looks bright and sharp, especially on the Switch screen. In HD on the TV it also looks suitably crisp, with a mix of shiny building brick plastic and real world textures such as water. It’s no Breath of the Wild, but that didn’t take part in a world made of Lego bricks. The music is catchy and the open world feels alive with the sound of pedestrians chatting away and different vehicles. Controls feel tight and responsive and the HD rumble is effective.

A great addition to the early Switch software line-up, Lego City is a highly recommended game that I encourage you to play. Entertaining, enjoyable and ideal for on-the go or big screen play sessions, it’s certainly worthy of a place on your Switch home screen.

Thanks to Warner Bros for supplying the game.

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