LEGO 2K Drive (Switch eShop) Review
trouble with kart racer on Nintendo Switch, well, Luxury Mario Kart 8. That’s the best, and it’s not close. Therefore, the challenge for developers is not to create duplicates, but instead to diversify. LEGO Drive 2K makes a brave effort to make a difference, making good use of its official license to provide players with a largely successful arcade racing experience. Unfortunately, while the core gameplay is fun, there are some downsides that make it impossible to outrun the competition.
The main draw for most will be the game’s Story mode. Here you are introduced to Bricklandia, a plastic venue featuring race-obsessed little Lego characters with silly names. Friend or foe, the cast is captivating thanks to its surprisingly humorous script that captures the chaotic tone of the film and other games in a unique way. A hilarious story about competing in races across different regions of Bricklandia to qualify for the Sky Cup Grand Prix.
Set across four open-world maps, Story Mode will hold your hand for the first hour or so as you learn the basics, but it shouldn’t take long before you can start exploring at a fast pace. own level. The first map is relatively small, but the three larger maps are also quite large, and each has a section on races, collectibles, quests, and other events to explore. Some of these optional objectives are better than others — the minigames aren’t particularly engaging — but there’s just enough to be found in these open world maps to prove existence. their own and it’s fun to roam around freely.
That’s because driving itself is already incredibly complicated. You can drift for miles without slowing down, and a quick turn and jump gives you a lot of maneuverability. What’s more, Lego 2K Drive has tried to remove the restrictions. As you drive, your vehicle automatically switches between streetcar, off-road vehicle and boat depending on the terrain, meaning you can go practically anywhere without slowing down. On top of that, the many Lego objects and props scattered around each map can be smashed with no penalty; in fact, doing so is recommended, as it complements both your vehicle’s speedometer and health.
This plays a unique role in races. Mario Kart fans will find it familiar when it comes to racing, as the tracks are brimming with power-ups and weapons – many of which are similar to those found in Nintendo’s racing games. However, there are some more creative ones, such as a machine gun that shoots fruit and another that turns a target’s wheel into a square. The races are pretty frenetic and usually pretty close – they’re pretty fun overall. The tracks are based on open-world locations, and feature shortcuts and weird environmental hazards to deal with. Outside of Story mode, you can play these races individually or as part of a Trophy Series, essentially the same as Mario Kart’s Grand Prix.
No matter how accurately you play Lego 2K Drive, the performance and visuals of the Switch version are quite disappointing. It works at very low resolutions, giving the whole game a very blurry picture quality. There are also noticeable pop-ups, weird ticking freezes, and some rather lengthy loads. Frame rates are capped at 30, but we also found occasional dips below that when things got too busy. None of these issues are too serious to be playable — as mentioned, it’s fun — but it’s a shame that this version of the game couldn’t be better optimized.
As you progress you’ll start unlocking new cars that you can individually equip, or you can even craft your favorite trucks. On top of that, you’ll also be rewarded with Perks, which can give your cars and boats a boost or provide passive spells. It’s a bit redundant in a game like this, but it works well enough.
If you are not a fan of any of your vehicles, you can create your own in super powerful crafting mode. At any time, you can enter the Garage and modify your car, build unlocked vehicles according to the instructions, or create your own creation entirely from scratch. The controls here can be a bit fiddly, but you’re given plenty of Lego pieces to play with and you can build more or less anything you can imagine. It’s a surprisingly in-depth tool that can deliver some impressive results. One big downside is that currently, you can’t share your creations online with other players. This seems like a missed opportunity, but hopefully someone else’s car browsing function will appear in the game later.
For those less inclined to craft their own rides, you’ll have to tackle what you unlock in Story mode—or you can head to Unkie’s Emporium to buy new cars and boats with Brickbux hard to find their own. While you Maybe largely ignore this store, the rate at which you earn this in-game currency is quite slow. For winning the race in Story mode you will get a few hundred, while winning the online race will get you only five. There are other ways to get Brickbux, but even after a few hours of play you may not have enough money to buy a new vehicle from the store. Unfortunately, Brickbux’s slow pace may be intentional, pushing players to microtransactions where you can spend real money to buy more. It’s frustrating to see this in a game that’s heavily geared towards kids.
Lego 2K Drive is a racing game that almost reaches its full potential, but it stumbles over some stray bricks along the way. The core driving feel is good, the Story mode has plenty to do, and the creative tools are really impressive. However, it is let down by technical shortcomings, lack of sharing options, and somewhat lackluster monetization. The foundation of a truly great arcade racer is here, but the poor optimizations in this Switch version and certain design decisions mean it’s hard to beat the competition.