Adventure time: Endearing characters and engaging action make Lego The Hobbit a fun ride.
Lego The Hobbit
Runs on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U
Price: From $49.95
Reviewer's rating: 7/10
With more than a dozen very similar Lego games released in the past decade based on cash cows such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and Batman, it's easy to be cynical. The Hobbit film franchise isn't even finished and a Lego tie-in has been rushed out to separate kids from their pocket money.
But then you start playing and cynicism quickly melts away as you are charmed by the endearing characters, engaging action and adorable slapstick story sequences.
This is another fun and inviting adventure recreating the most memorable scenes from the first two Hobbit films. You'll explore the lavish Rivendell, battle the hideous Goblin King, solve Gollum's riddles, cling on for dear life as mountainous Stone Giants battle, float down a river inside a barrel and sneak around a fearsome dragon.
Like previous Lego romps, there's a mixture of button-bashing combat, stud collecting and puzzle solving. Teamwork is essential: you will be constantly switching between characters to utilise their different skills.
In addition to swinging axes, firing arrows, hurling hooks, wielding hammers and unleashing Gandalf's magic, characters can now team up for buddy attacks. They can also construct makeshift human towers for their comrades to access higher reaches.
Players now need to collect Lego loot during the quest as it's used to construct key items. It can be frustrating hitting a roadblock and be forced to scour nearby areas for missing pieces, but including an element of Lego building is a welcome addition.
The game is especially fun when played in two-player mode, and the difficulty level well-judged to engage parents and kids alike. If the stages become too simple or repetitive, there are plenty of optional diversions across a bulging map of Middle-earth.