LEGO 2K Drive (Switch) Review
When 2K signed a deal with Lego for Lego 2K Drive, it definitely piqued my interest. Forza Horizon 4’s Lego expansion was fun enough, and there is so much potential with Lego in general. As a multi-platform title, I was concerned about how it would hold up on the Switch. Now there’s been some time to drive around Bricklandia; it’s given me plenty to bring you for this review.
You are a rookie racer in Bricklandia, a weird mish-mash of some Lego buildings and scenery, oversized real-world items and a lot of non-Lego world. Racing pro, Clutch Racington takes you under his wing to prepare you for the prestigious Sky Cup. There is also the notably evil racer, Shadow Z, who wants to win at any cost, as long as he doesn’t have to do too much work to do it.
From the beginning, the game intends to invoke the style of The Lego Movie and the general vibe. Between the stop-animation look of the minifigs, while also attempting to capture that ‘everything is awesome’ charm and goofy humour. The career mode cutscenes with Shadow Z are the closest thing the game has to laughs or at least chuckles.
Lego 2K Drive is a somewhat open-world racer, with 4 locations across Bricklandia to go wild in. One of them is Turbo Acres, the starting area where you get a feel for handling the three different vehicle modes. Initially, I thought the world opened up more as you progress, but they’re separate areas. With Turbo Acres being a smallish starting area (still full of activities), there are 3 full areas to explore. Big Butte County and Prospecto Valley are different enough from each other. One is out in the rocky and dusty desert, and the other is covered with grass. Compared to the last area Hauntsborough, which is dark and spooky, the other two large areas blend together and feel somewhat interchangeable.
In Lego 2K, you’ll not only be racing in your car but also have an off-road vehicle and a boat for when the race goes down to the river. Your vehicle will switch between the three settings depending on your surface; however, if you get sick of rapid transformations between road and off-road at the slightest change, you can also trigger the switch with a button.
One of the big features of Lego 2K Drive is that you can build your own vehicles, just like you’d build them with actual Lego, and you can make them as goofy as you like. Be mindful that you won’t have access to every Lego piece, you’ll need the game’s currency, Brickbux, to unlock some, and others can be earned. I didn’t spend much time in the garage building; the pre-made vehicles were enough. It didn’t feel like there was much point going all out on a design that might wind up underpowered and left behind. Don’t get me wrong, there will be more willing players who will love building their own Lego vehicles.
The driving here could be divisive; it really manages two extremes. On the one hand, it feels floaty often, with drifting feeling particularly weightless. Then when you hit the handbrake, your vehicle can suddenly turn on a dime in a way that allows for super sharp turns. As your cars are made out of Lego, any damage they take will knock pieces off, lose enough, and it’ll explode. However, smash through Lego objects, and you can regain some pieces and keep going. Don’t count on there always being a lot of Lego to smash into.
This brings me to something that bugged me the whole game, there’s nowhere near enough Lego for a Lego game. I get it, it’s not like all of the other Lego games are purely made out of Lego pieces, but those games never felt like it was incidental that there is Lego involved. One nice touch is that across the areas are large real-world items like there’s a larger real world out there, ala The Lego Movie. Ultimately it wouldn’t be the same game without the Lego, especially the vehicle building, but they just don’t push the style enough.
The game’s different areas are filled with things to do, whether it’s activities or races. To progress and unlock more races, you’ll want to be taking on every activity you come across. There are a few points where the story can only progress once you get your level up. At this stage, all you can do is re-race and do every activity you come across. There are fun bonus activities, like seeing how far you can jump off a ramp and tower defence. The more the game asks you to do that isn’t racing, the more tedious the activities get. I was worried I was being a party pooper about this, but I can’t imagine any audience who would enjoy some of the challenges here.
The most direct comparison to another racer would be Forza Horizon, and the Drive 2K takes plenty of inspiration from that game. Just like with Horizon, there is a lot of simple joy in smashing through the scenery; in fact, it is encouraged to help regain vehicle health and boost. While there are many activities to take part in and collectibles to find, it never quite scratches the same Forza Horizon itch. At the end of the day, it’s not a Forza game, and the target audience is likely a little different too.
Between the separated and not-so-expansive areas and the race requirements, the world feels more restrictive than the game lets on. That’s not to say there’s not plenty of fun cruising around these different themed areas; it will come down to how much you want to take part in physics challenges, checkpoint racing or tower defence style challenges. For people who want the most value out of their games and measure that with playtime and the number of collectables and side missions, you’ll be more than happy with how much Lego 2K Drive has, with alerts popping up everywhere to the nearby challenges. If you’re focused on some open road exploring and races, there is still enough of that, but if you want to get to all the races and finish the story side of the game, then you’ll need to engage with some more annoying side missions along the way or replay some of those races.
I have struggled with Lego 2K Drive, as the game is equally enjoyable and frustrating. While the driving can feel well done, what does it matter when the CPU racers are rubberbanding, and no matter how well you do, they’re overtaking the second you’re not boosting. If you’re into racing games, there are a bunch of distinct tracks, but the activities and XP required to raise your racing level can bring the game to a grinding halt. It might not be as much of an issue if you’re trying to take on every challenge that comes your way, but even after doing a lot of them, it won’t be enough XP to progress. There’s one particular stretch later in the story where I was stuck having to find any activity to eke some more XP from. When I hit this point, if I wasn’t reviewing the game, I likely would’ve abandoned it there and then.
If you want a break from racing solo, there are some multiplayer options. You can race Cup Series races or the other tracks in ‘Races’ online or locally. There’s also split-screen multiplayer if you don’t have another Switch around. I had little luck getting an online game, the Switch version lacks cross-play with the other consoles, nor can you drive around Bricklandia with your friends.
The Switch version of Lego 2K Drive won’t be a surprise that it doesn’t look or run as well as its current-gen brethren. The visuals are smudgy, with the world looking bare with heavy pop-in. The framerate is acceptable enough, depending on how you feel about 30 FPS. Still, once again, if you’re getting this version expecting the performance from the latest consoles on the humble Switch hardware, you’ll be disappointed. There are moments when it looks pretty decent, although they are quickly replaced with low-resolution cutscenes to bring you back to earth. Ultimately the game is playable on the Switch, most kids will be less fussed about the visual quality, but for the more discerning, you’ll have plenty to discern.
As with too many games, Lego 2K Drive has a Drive Pass with 4 seasons planned between 2023 and 2024. You can purchase them individually or in a Year Drive Pass, which will give you some extra coins that can be used to buy Brickbux and an additional vehicle. The first season started in late June; the free version has about a quarter of the rewards the paid pass has. Like the paid pass, there is no time limit, so you can take your time. If you are willing to pay for the premium, there is a decent amount of real-world vehicles and other items that would otherwise involve IAP. It might not be as fun if you hopped into the game before the pass launched, as all your progress wouldn’t have helped raise the passes levels too. The pass is definitely more palatable than the actual IAP store.
No one will be shocked to hear that Lego 2K Drive has a store encouraging purchasing in-game currency to unlock more vehicles, racers and even Lego pieces. You use the game’s currency of Brickbux, which is also distributed for completing races, challenges or meeting new rivals. After beating the final races and winning the Sky Cup, I had enough bux to purchase maybe a racer and one vehicle with super high racing stats and some change leftover. Everyone’s experience will be different but don’t expect to go wild with the purchases unless you get some extra real-world bucks. It already feels gross that for a game where you can build your own vehicle, you can’t even make basic customisation to your own minifig so they can charge you for them. On top of that, it feels a little extra gross having it in a game that is targeted for younger audiences. While you can easily complete the story and challenges without spending a cent, it doesn’t mean they won’t try.
Lego 2K Drive is fine for a semi-open-world racing game. It’s a game with a fair few faults, so it all really comes down to how much you want a racer like this on your Switch. The other version will look and run better, but if you want a Lego-themed racer on the Switch, this will do.
+ Tidy little racer
+ Decent season pass let’s you go your own pace
- Gross monetisation
- Grinding for levels sucks
- Sold only as a code in a box