Lego 2K Drive is an open-world racer that looks like it was ripped straight out of The Lego Movie. Set in the world of Bricklandia, a land filled with diverse landscapes, there are plenty of races and events to keep you busy. Lego 2K Drive is clearly inspired by its kart racing peers but manages to stand on its own in a solid offering.
Developer & Publisher // Visual Concepts, 2K
Platforms // Switch, PlayStation 4|5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
MSRP & Release Date //$29.99, May 16, 2023
Reviewed On // Xbox Series X
Welcome to Bricklandia
Lego 2K Drive takes place in Bricklandia, which is home to many different biomes. This includes grassy Turbo Acres, a spiraling desert area known as Big Butte County, Prospecto Valley, and a haunted swamp location known Hauntsborough.
Each biome has its own unique characteristics. Turbo Acres features Lego towns and grassy knolls, Big Butte County is home to a wild west theme. You will even find aliens and haunted houses in Bricklandia too. There’s plenty of biome diversity in the game that helps keep the scenery interesting.
Kart DNA + Transforming
Lego 2K Drive doesn’t hide the fact that takes a lot of inspiration Mario Kart and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. All the classic weapons including some interesting new ones as well. This includes homing rockets, and spider webs that distort vision and prompts you to quickly press Y/Triangle to get rid of it. One weapon also shoots a barrage of colored shots that’s pretty satisfying to use. There’s even a blue shell equivalent that takes you to the front of the race. On the whole, Lego 2K Drive did a great job balancing all the weapons. None of them feel overpowered and it adds excitement to races.
Like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, your vehicle will shift and change. Players’ cars will automatically transform into an off-road vehicle and a boat depending on which terrain they’re driving on. Veering off the road will see your vehicle assemble into your off-road ride. While hitting the waters will transform your ride into a boat, proper Lego style. It’s a seamless transformation and comes with that classic Lego building sound effect that’s featured in every Lego video game.
Lego 2K Drive wears its influences on its sleeves. The open-world design is reminiscent of the Forza Horizon series. You will encounter hidden events that will be added to the game’s map. Though the icons do become numerous the more you drive around, it isn’t overbearing. Lego 2K Drive does a great job of utilizing mechanics from other classic and well-loved kart racer franchises. Best of all they succeeded in putting their own unique Lego spin on it as well.
Make no mistake, Lego 2K Drive nails the driving mechanics. That sense of speed is well encapsulated in the game, even when you hit offroad or water. You can always feel you’re pushing your vehicle.
Initially, I thought drifting would work the same as Mario Kart, but it’s much simpler. You hold down the LT/L2 button while accelerating to drift and no you don’t waggle the analog to get a boost ala Mario Kart. It’s more a linear drift system and it works well in races. Though in the open world, it’s not as useful.
Instead, a quick turn is a lot more beneficial when out and about in the open world. Especially for item collection events. Quick turn is faster than you think it is and will spin around your vehicle 360 degrees in a flinch. It is especially useful when traversing the open world because it eases maneuverability. Though keep in mind, it’s not as useful in races, as it can slow you down immensely.
Vehicles can jump and boost and it adds a lot of excitement to races and driving in general. Boost is governed by a boost meter so you have to use it sparingly. While you can jump to help avoid obstacles and you get a nice little boost when you jump off ramps/cliffs.
However, in some races, if you veer off the track your car will not transform into its off-road variant and will slow down immensely. It was strange since vehicle transformations are a big part of the game and felt inconsistent. But overall Lego 2K Drive has some satisfying driving mechanics. There are even nuances with the cars that have their own stats as well.
Stats & Perks
Lego 2K Drive also features stats and weight classes for its rides. Different vehicles also have stats and weight categories such as light, medium, heavy, and very heavy weight classes. They massively impact the handling of the feel of the vehicle and its drive as it should.
Some of the heavier off-road vehicles, like the Gold Driller Truck, are slow but can take a beating from weapons during races. While lighter vehicles, like the Formula 1-inspired street racer, are light and will zoom by opponents. Funnily enough, the game also features a licensed McLaren Solus GT car, which seems out of place from the rest of the other whacky rides.
Stats include expected acceleration, top speed, handling, and HP. They are reflected well into the cars so there’s some strategy to selecting the best vehicle given any particular situation. And for the most part, you can feel each vehicle has a distinct feel to it. Players can also equip perks for their cars. The higher the License (begins at C and goes all the way up to A) the more perks you can equip. These perks improve different stats and are pretty straightforward. While higher License level perks provide special bonuses such as recovering boost when picking up items or emitting an EMP after being bricked.
Tons of Modes and Challenging Events
There are tons of things to do in the Lego 2K Drive open world of Bricklandia. The game is rife with different events and mini-games that net you experience to unlock more races and cosmetic goodies. In-game events are even unlocked Some of them can be really challenging as well.
Minefield Mayhem pits you to race on a small off-road track while mines rain down on you. It was very frustrating at first, but once I learned how to properly maneuver (thanks quick turn!) I was able to complete the event. Another event pits you to race without hitting any picketed fence. Doing so will cause you to restart the event. It was challenging but enjoyable as well. There are even alien and rocket theme events and it’s one of the game’s strongest aspects by far.
The story quest races are also challenging as well. Oftentimes, I would fight off stiff competition to land in pole position, but it’s a welcomed challenge as opposed to just breezing through. Players will begin at License C and work their way up to License A as they try to win the coveted Sky Cup Trophy. Players gain XP by completing races and events to rank up their Licenses. All in all, my playthrough took around 10 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Lego 2K Drive Review – Graphics
Like other Lego games, Lego 2K Drive is a looker. It seems that developers have honed in on the Lego art style to a tee. But in addition to that, the environments look spectacular. Grass has a realistic look to it. While trees and cacti look like they were built from Lego bricks. Even the urban sections looked impressive as if ripped out straight from The Lego Movie. It’s a nice contrast that looks clean and consistent. One thing that wasn’t inconsistent was the game’s stable performance.
Consistent and Stable Performance
Lego 2K Drive is an anomaly when compared to recent games that have launched broken or incomplete. The game runs beautifully well at a consistent 60 FPS best of all. I haven’t experienced any frame drops or other inconsistencies worth noting. Though occasionally, there has been some texture pop-in during some cutscenes. But they are few and far apart. The game seems to be well-optimized overall.
Lego 2K Drive Sound Design & Presentation
The voice acting is spot-on and hilarious. Again, very similar to the Lego movie and other Lego properties, Lego 2K Drive maintains a light-hearted and comedic tone throughout the game. The cutscenes look like scenes from a Lego movie and are quite entertaining.
The cars sound great for the most part. Engine sound effects sound punchy but not too overbearing. Weapons and other special effects also sound decent, though a little muted for my taste.
However, some of the openers for the main event racers strangely drag on longer than they should. I’m not talking like a couple of seconds, but the race intro video is around 30 seconds too long. Luckily you can skip it, so it isn’t a major issue. But it’s definitely like that weird cousin you invite to lunch but stays until dinner kind of situation.
Tons of Customization
The garage is where you will customize your ride. You can select individual bricks to change their colors. Or you can build your own creation if you like. It’s clear that vehicle-building experimentation is a big part of the game’s offering as a lot of the unlocks are new pieces for vehicles. However, if you want to be naughty and create scandalously shaped vehicles keep in mind your creations will be moderated before you can drive them online in Bricklandia.
Online Multiplayer and Split Screen Mode Hits
The game features cross-platform online multiplayer where you can join up with people and participate in different races and events. Unfortunately, the player base during the review period was sparse. I expect a significant uptick after the game’s full release.
Lego 2K Drive also features a local 2-player split screen. It’s a welcomed addition to a dying feature. Co-op is available for all of the game’s modes including story mode. I played with my 4-year-old daughter and she loved racing her old man. Luckily the performance keeps up even in local split-screen. Though it seems the resolution takes a bit of a dip, but for a racing game, consistent frames are far more important.
A Wild Microtransaction Shop Appears in Lego 2K Drive
Like other 2K games, Lego 2K Drive does feature its own storefront via the Unkie’s Emporium. The shop features all cosmetics for your driver, cars, brick pieces, and decals.
Fortunately, you can earn the game’s store currency, Brickbux, in-game, which is good because the cosmetics are pretty expensive. Though the earnable Brickbux payouts are more on the stingy side. Some of cosmetics cost upwards of 14,000 Brickbux and you can purchase Coins with real money to get more Brickbux. But again it is all optional and doesn’t have pay-to-win features. Most of the items in the shops are rewards that you can earn in-game. So in reality, buying them from the Unkie’s Emporium is a way to avoid the game’s grind.
There seems to be a battle pass available in the store. Though it was not available during the review period.
Final Thoughts on Lego 2K Drive
Lego 2K Drive is a solid offering. It takes the best parts of Mario Kart, adds some vehicle transformations from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and borrows open-world game design from Forza Horizon, but with a Lego twist. Driving is enjoyable and the game’s performance is well-optimized. The mini-games are all sorts of fun and quite challenging as well. Lego 2K Drive is a solid foundation for a potential new franchise.
Note – an Xbox Series X|S key was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.