LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey – DS
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: Aug 31, 2013
Genre: Action, Adventure
Reviewed by Arend Hart

Review Score: 4 of 5

Lego’s Legends of Chima Laval’s Journey is based on the original Cartoon Network series of the same name in which warring factions of anamorphic creatures battle for control of Chi – the main energy source of their universe. If you can imagine Viva Piñata meeting up with Road Warrior, and you get a loose picture of what Chima is all about.

While the Legends of Chima universe might be new to most gamers, the gameplay in Laval’s Journey is not. With gameplay style nearly identical to any of TT Games’ numerous other Lego-based franchises –Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, etc. – Laval’s Journey seems like a very familiar experience. But that’s not all bad given TT’s ability to consistently deliver fresh and exciting gameplay within the Lego universe.

I cannot claim to fully understand the somewhat confusing storyline in Laval’s Journey, but let me take a stab: Laval, the eponymous hero of the game, is the Prince in the Lion Tribe. His once-best friend Cragger – leader of the Crocodile tribe – ends up winning a jousting battle between the two, thereby taking possession of the coveted Golden Chi orb.

This orb harbors a lot of power in its own right, but can only achieve the optimum Triple-Chi power when combined with all eight pieces of the legendary Triple-Chi armor, a piece of which held by each of the animal tribes in the land of Chima. As Cragger races to get the orb to a safe place, his army of crocs immediately begin an all-out assault on the various tribes in an attempt to collect the seven remaining pieces of the Triple Chi armor in hopes that the crocs will have the proper components to fully assemble the armor, throwing off the balance of Chi and taking over power of the land.

Laval immediately springs into action; teaming up with each of the neighboring tribes, helping defend each from their respective reptilian onslaught, and quickly moving along to help the next. Along the way, he picks up party mates who help him with subsequent battles in the search to return balance to the land of Chima.

Gameplay is very much in line with what we have come to expect from TT Games’ Lego properties. Third-person action-adventure in a world filled with Lego-rich set pieces, challenging gamers to defeat foes and collect the coveted “Lego lugs” for a chance at unlocking additional characters and levels. Laval’s main mode of battle is hack-n-slash swordplay, although character with different abilities and weaponry come into the fray at different times. As with any Lego game, exploration plays a key role – with gamers examining every nook and cranny to find all the hidden lugs and secret areas. The levels are surprisingly large and the developers have done a stand-up job making each level seem new and exciting.

It would be foolish to assume that the DS version of Legend of Chima Laval’s Journey would meet the visual quality of its 3DS and PS Vita brethren, but for an original DS release it is actually quite impressive. Yes, it may be a little blocky around the edges (pun intended), but all-in-all Laval’s Journey still delivers a solid visual package consistent with the other Lego franchises.

The Legend of Chima Laval’s Journey is an enjoyable trek, and one that any Lego fan is bound to enjoy. By employing the familiar gameplay from the numerous other popular Lego franchises, TT Games has succeeded in delivering a top notch gaming experience regardless of the unfamiliar storyline. As an added bonus, Laval’s Journey has kindled my interest in the Cartoon Network series – much like Viva Piñata games did a few years back. Now my children and I have something entertaining to share in each week.