Every child of the ’90s fondly remembers playing with Legos. You remember building a huge city with your favorite characters from movies ranging from Star Wars to Batman. And then, if you so wished, you destroyed it all.
The Lego Company owns an impressive amount of intellectual property rights, giving them the ability to design worlds and mini-figures based on practically any Comic-Con-worthy film or show. This nearly limitless creativity extends past the “physical” games of Legos, and into console and PC gaming as well.
The British company Traveller’s Tales began work on Lego video games in the early 2000s, led by managers from the now defunct Lego Interactive. The successful launch of their first game resulted in a merger with publishers Giant Interactive, and the formation of the renamed TT Games. TT Games, now a subsidiary of Warner Bros Interactive, has gone on to produce over 20 Lego video games for the last three generations of consoles.
Each game shares the same basic premise: a player (and an optional friend via couch co-op) controls the main characters of a Lego re-creation of their favorite movies. The characters and destructible environments are entirely made of Legos, making for incredibly charming visuals. The added bonus of being able to replay famous film moments as any character from the franchise when a level is beaten, and in later games, even create your own hero, makes some of these games the best movie-to-game translations ever.
Here is ScreenRant’s ranking of the Lego Video Game Adaptations from Worst to Best.
19. The Lego Movie Videogame
It was largely disappointing (and ironic) that when TT Games released a Lego video game based off of the hugely successful Lego Movie, it failed to capture an iota of the passion that the movie exuded. Given their previous titles, it came as a shock to most that Lego was unsuccessful in adapting a game based on a movie about Legos.
But therein lays the problem: seeing, for instance, Star Wars re-created with Legos is exciting and new, but seeing a world already designed with Legos is a tad less interesting. The over-familiarity coupled with a large amount of game-breaking bugs and glitches, resulted in this game getting middling reviews from critics.
The game introduces the new concept of Master Builders and Regular Builders. Whereas in previous entries, any character could use Lego pieces to build structures and solve puzzles, The Lego Movie Videogame requires Regular Builders to find blueprints around the level before proceeding. This addition is notably specific to this title.
18. Lego Indiana Jones II: The Adventure Continues
Lego Indiana Jones II: The Adventure Continues is a misleading title. While marketed as a sequel to Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Lego Indiana Jones II is 50% re-done versions of levels from the first game. The other 50% marks the inclusion of levels based off of the recently-released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While it is only one film of four, The Crystal Skull makes up about half of the levels in the game.
The game is notable for making improvements to the in-game hub, where players travel between level to level and film to film. Indiana Jones II vastly increased in scale from the previous game, encouraging exploration and puzzle solving to find hidden secrets. TT Games also added a level creator, but did not provide a means of sharing levels with friends. This practically unused addition was scrapped in future titles.
17. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
The Star Wars IP has always been strongly featured in the Lego games, with Clone Wars marking its 4th entry in the “series.” Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars follows the animated series of the same name.
TT Games made huge improvements to the graphics and system capabilities with this game, allowing for more fluid movement and less lag. While the console and handheld versions are widely different, both feature several new game modes and ideas. From real-time-strategy battle elements to fun Lego-based mini games, there is no dearth of material. Perhaps the most interesting addition is Story Swap mode, where characters switch between different characters and locations to complete a multi-part objective. This made for unique, though confusing puzzles.
16. Lego The Hobbit
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy never quite reached the gravitas of his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings adaptations. However, due to the success of TT Games’ Lego Lord of the Rings, it is no surprise The Hobbit found its way to shelves — it was practically an inevitability.
The game includes the basic elements of every Lego game: using characters with different abilities to progress through levels and defeat enemies. But the added focus of monetization of building Lego structures struck players as a bit odd. Studs (the Lego game currency) have always been used to purchase new characters, vehicles, and game-changing cheat codes. But in Lego The Hobbit, a certain amount of studs are needed to build Lego pieces just to access the next levels of the game. This new element made the traditionally easy games a bit more difficult for younger players.
Lego The Hobbit only features levels from The Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. In 2014, it was announced that a The Battle of the Five Armies DLC would be released, but after over a year, TT Games told Gamespot they no longer had plans to release DLC or a follow-up game with content from the third film.
15. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
Marking the first Lego game based on a Disney film (Star Wars had not be acquired yet), Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game has all the markers of a great Lego game. Following all four Pirates of the Caribbean movie plots, the user can control everyone from Davy Jones to Captain Jack Sparrow in delightful re-imaginings of iconic franchise moments.
From fun underwater levels to swashbuckling ship battles, Lego Pirates nails the heart of the series in traditional Lego fashion. Though it probably won’t earn TT Games any new fans, devotees of Pirates of the Caribbean will rejoice over its delightful interpretation of their favorite characters and locales.
14. Lego Batman: The Videogame
The first in the series to have an entirely original story, Lego Batman: The Videogame follows Batman and Robin as they battle the escaped inmates of Arkham Asylum, the Caped Crusader’s greatest foes. With solid voice casting: Grey DeLisle as Harley Quinn and Batgirl, Steven Blum as Batman and the Joker and Tom Kenny as The Riddler and The Penguin, these characters are totally realized in an original, Lego-specific way.
The gameplay is similar to previous entries and doesn’t really expand or improve upon the basic mechanics. However, the ability to play levels designed for the villains makes for a brand-new experience that is a total blast. Previous entries allowed the villains navigation of “hero” levels in Free Play Mode, but Lego Batman sees 15 levels specifically built for the bad guys, telling their side of the story.
The sequels improve upon Lego Batman: The Videogame in most ways, but this game still gets high marks for its inventive story. It remains to be seen whether TT Games will make an adaptation of the upcoming The Lego Batman Movie, and if will hold a candle to the original game trilogy.
13. Lego The Lord of the Rings
Lego The Lord of the Rings will delight fans of the series, using dialogue straight from Jackson’s films to charmingly re-create famous moments. With an emphasis on open-world, the game allows the player to traverse Middle Earth in between story levels, travelling all the way from The Shire to Mordor. Further additions include inventories for characters that hold items increasing power or granting other fun abilities.
12. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
Including the plots of first three Indiana Jones movies, Lego Indiana Jones was the first non-Star Wars Lego game made by TT Games (of their IP library). The game is a blast to play, but not quite as strong an entry as the Lego Star Wars titles. This is perhaps due to the more adult nature of the adventure films, which did not translate quite as well to the Lego mold.
This game adds the ability for characters to interact with objects in the environment, picking up swords and guns to use them against enemies. Past that, it mostly plays on the same elements as the previous titles, featuring over a dozen levels inspired by the films and a dazzling hub world — here, it’s Barnett College.
If you are a huge Indiana Jones fan with little gaming experience, this game is tailor-made for you. For those more familiar with video games, a better bet would be the spectacular Uncharted franchise.
11. Lego Jurassic World
Though it is only named after the most recent entry in the Jurassic franchise, Lego Jurassic World actually contains levels spanning all four films. Players can control main human characters like Alan Grant, but through Free Play, they’re also granted the ability to play as the big bad dinosaurs.
For fans of the veteran director, Steven Spielberg is also a unlockable character, along with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow. The game does not add any vast improvements to the system or gameplay mechanics, and it was thusly criticized by critics for being too similar to previous Lego games.
10. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Perhaps one of the most vastly different games in the TT Games Lego franchise, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 added a slew of new gameplay elements. From crafting potions and casting spells, the game focused more on unlocking new magical abilities rather than new characters. The game also increased the size of the hub world and improved the split-screen mode that was altered in Lego Indiana Jones II.
Game play tweaks aside, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 allows the player to control a massive 167 characters, from the famous to the obscure.
By keeping their trademark charm and not skimping on both creative level design, open-world aspects, and fun characters, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is a solid addition to this list, even in the number 10 slot.
9. Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
The sequel to the previous entry improved upon it in nearly every way, crafting interesting puzzles and delightful action sequences.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows the events of the last three books (and four films, damn you Hollywood!) of the Harry Potter franchise. The game features of ton of content, a gigantic hub world of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, and over a hundred characters to play. Aside from a few minor gameplay bugs being worked out, this title isn’t significantly better than its predecessor, but it incorporates the stories of the climatic end to the Potter world, making for a spectacular time to be had.
8. Lego Dimensions
Lego Dimensions was a huge step forward for the TT Games franchise, combining the “toy”-based ingredients of the Skylanders’ games and Amiibos to make for an endlessly creative, though potentially costly, experience.
The “toys-to-life” format grants the player an initial three Lego figures at purchase that each come with their own world and levels. Also included is a portal that the player places the figures on in order to access their content. Dozens of additional minifigures can be purchased to introduce additional levels, characters, and games.
Lego Dimensions features a mind-boggling 30 franchises, so players can have Iron Man fight alongside Gandalf, and Harry Potter battle with Marty McFly. The sheer amount of content is enough to make any Lego fan jump with joy. There’s Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Wizard of Oz; a nearly endless list of franchises and blockbuster films.
However, each level pack costs anywhere from 30-50 dollars, and begs the questions, is this purely fun game worth all that money? While it features its own brief campaign (featuring the voice talents of Gary Oldman and Joel McHale, among others), most of the game’s content must be bought separately. Lego Dimensions is a spectacular game, and would certainly be higher on the list if it was a bit more reasonably priced.
7. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
TT Games returned to the Dark Knight mythos with another completely original story, this time featuring members of the Justice League as well. The plot is hilariously tongue-and-cheek, and with legendary voice actor Troy Baker providing the voice of Batman, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the adorable cut-scenes.
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes replaces the hub world of Wayne Manor with a much larger, open-world hub of Gotham. Add in the ability to play as Superman, Wonder Woman, and more, and this game was a guaranteed success. Though it is plagued by far too many glitches to ignore, Lego Batman 2 is still one of the best Lego games out there, trumped only by its follow-up in regard to the World’s Greatest Detective.
6. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The most recent TT Games release, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens features gameplay following The Force Awakens — obviously. Additionally, the game includes levels that take place in between Return of the Jedi and Episode VII, content which does not exist anywhere else.
This Lego game introduced a cover-system when engaged in blaster battles, which not only improves the game’s wonky (albeit functional) firing system, but makes the action look all the more engaging. Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher all lent their voice talents to this game, along with the supporting cast of the film. The cut-scenes are charming and parody the film is a light-hearted, fan-servicing way. JJ Abrams would be proud.
5. Lego Marvel’s Avengers
A spiritual successor to Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Lego Marvel’s Avengers follows the plot of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So while most levels are comprised of the stories of Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, some levels follow events from Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Iron Man 3.
The hub world and character options here are some of TT Games greatest, with over 200 characters from Marvel films and comics to choose from. Even recent additions like Jane Foster’s Thor and Sam Wilson’s Captain America make for a huge amount of replay-ability. Outside of the main hub of New York City, players can also travel to Asgard, Sokovia, South Africa, and Malibu, making for hundreds of entertaining side missions.
Though the limitations of the MCU (read: lacking character rights) hinder this game from being better than its predecessor, it can stand on its own as an excellent addition to the TT Games Lego canon.
4. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
The sequel to Lego Star Wars, this game follows the events of the original trilogy, Episodes IV-VI. TT Games was just starting out, but they proved they had a winning formula with their second game. The slapstick, dialogue-free cut-scenes were truly hilarious, and the improved camera angles helped improve navigating platforming sections and solving puzzles in a drastically noticeable way.
Lego Star Wars II borrows from the best of the Star Wars films, and would be ranked even higher if we were to include its successor, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga on this list. However, given that it is simply a combination of the first two Lego Star Wars games, it hardly merits a spot on this list.
3. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Conan O’Brien is this game’s narrator; little more needs to be said. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the latest in the Lego Batman series of games. Though several critics said it was too derivative of early titles, we think its humor and roster of characters makes it well worth the price of purchase.
Again following an entirely original story, this Batman game is more of a Justice League game, featuring nearly every character from the DC Comics canon. With a ton of DLC, a massive open-world hub, and endless hours of side missions and stories, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the best venture into the DC Universe yet. Minor technical issues aside, it is a wonder to behold.
2. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Imagine traversing around the entirety of New York City built in Legos as Spider-Man. You might even decide to hop on a train, get your friend to play Doctor Octopus, and recreate that famous Spider-Man 2 fight. Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a huge game, with hundreds of playable characters (including Stan Lee), side missions, and a story created to pitch-perfectly match the Lego formula.
You can sky-dive off the Helicarrier before swinging away into the Lego New York sunset. For Lego fans and Marvel fans alike, games like this are hard to come by. If each subsequent Lego game is as good as this one, be sure to check it out.
1. Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
This is the game that started it all. Released before Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the game follows the events of all three prequel trilogy films. Luckily, the game came with a spoiler warning for people who wanted to see the movie with an open mind.
With 59 playable characters, Lego Star Wars: The Video Game paved the way for all future titles. It became one of the best-selling games of the year on PS2 and competing consoles. The addictive gameplay, replay-ability, and family-friendly humor made this game an instant classic for Lego fans around the world. It’s the reason there are over 20 Lego games based on your favorite franchises, and for that, it’s earned the top spot on our rankings.
What’s your favorite Lego video game ever? Let us know in the comments.