LEGO 2K Drive Review: One Fatal Flaw

Lego 2K Drive Garage.jpg
LEGO 2K Drive released on 19 May 2023 on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. Here is our comprehensive review of the latest arcade racer.

Image Credit: LEGO/2k

Fresh off the back of the lukewarm Disney Speedstorm release comes another casual kart racer – LEGO 2K Drive. Unlike its Disney equivalent, LEGO 2K managed to get a lot of things right. However, there is one fatal flaw that really undermines it. Here is my LEGO 2K Drive review.

Hitting the Sweet Spot

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious. A LEGO game has to appeal to children. LEGO 2K Drive certainly does. All of the characters are portrayed and voiced like cartoons, and the storyline is uncomplicated. Furthermore, there is plenty of visual stimulation for young eyes, which can border on sensory overload at times.

However, with that being said, LEGO have not forgotten their older audience too. Both parents and dedicated long-term fans of the brand are catered for. The game offers a lot of ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ jokes. For example, when one of the earliest rival drivers Max Speed declares “I do everything fast. Everything.” during the middle of a race, it bears a different meaning for adults than it does for children.

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LEGO 2K does a passable job of injecting meta-humour into the storyline. Image credit: LEGO / 2K

That’s not to say the game is a comedic masterpiece (it isn’t), but it didn’t make me cringe as often as I would have expected it to.

LEGO 2K Drive Gameplay: GTA for Kids

As I played LEGO 2K Drive and roamed around the map, I found myself with a curious feeling of familiarity in the back of my head. As I destroyed a lamppost and sent an unfortunate Bricklandian citizen careening end-over-end into the distance, it struck me – LEGO 2K is essentially GTA. Or Simpsons Hit and Run, if you’re a true connoisseur.

When driving around between races and activities in the open world, one can have a lot of fun simply destroying one’s surroundings. Almost everything is destructible. Indeed, you are encouraged to destroy as many things as possible, as it gives you boost and fixes your car. The explosions of bricks as you crash through billboards is satisfying and feels just right. Plus, the non-racing activities are surprisingly varied and usually enjoyable.

How is the Racing?​

When it comes to the races themselves, it’s a different matter. While it is a kart racer, the game doesn’t have much in common with Mario Kart. Rather, I found myself transported back to the days of Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed. If you didn’t play that game, or if you simply don’t remember it, I don’t blame you. It wasn’t anything special. And the exact same can be said for the racing in LEGO 2K Drive.

Each race follows the same basic formula with which we are all familiar. You start at the back, and you slowly climb up through the field, usually overtaking your final opponent with around half a lap left to go in the race. Every race plays out more or less the same. The powerups are fine, but unremarkable, and the drifting function is essentially useless.

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Winning is easy in LEGO 2K Drive. Image credit: LEGO / 2K

One positive is the way in which the game handles vehicle transformations. You have three vehicles at any given time: one for roads, one for dirt and grass, and a boat for water. The way you seamlessly and automatically transition between these vehicle types as and when the situation demands it is masterfully executed.

Finally, let’s talk about the bread and butter of any LEGO game: building. You can customise your cars almost completely, building them from scratch. The way you build them has an effect on their overall handling, and with a huge number of blocks to choose between your creativity is the only limitation. In my case, I hit that limitation almost immediately, but the feature is certainly a good one. However, it is here that we find the one big issue that I have with LEGO 2K Drive.

LEGO 2K Drive is a Microtransaction Monster

This is a game intended primarily for children. The base game itself costs a lot of money. LEGO is an internationally successful company, one of the most successful brands in the whole world. These are all reasons that I cannot abide by the overwhelming presence of microtransactions in this game.

You can earn in game currency, called Brickbux, with which you can buy everything in the shop. However, the rate at which you earn this currency organically is very slow, and there are many different things available to purchase, all of which cost rather a lot of Brickbux.

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Excuse me while I drop 4,000 Brickbux on some guy named Alfred. Image credit: LEGO / 2K

What’s more, they aren’t just cosmetics. Cars with different performance ratings are available to purchase for real money.

If you plan to purchase this game for your child, please keep an eye on whether they are spending money on it. If they are, monitor how much. Similarly, if you know that you yourself are prone to spending a lot on microtransactions, exercise caution here.

Summary

Overall, LEGO 2K Drive is a fundamentally good game. Its strengths lie in its open world and free roaming, rather than in the racing itself. The storyline and overall presentation is child friendly, but it is not too obnoxious for most adults. However, the combination of the asking price and the big presence of microtransactions takes this game down a peg or two.

LEGO 2K Drive is now available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, and for the Nintendo Switch. The asking price for the base game is £49.99/€59.99, while the Awesome Edition costs £89.99/€99.99 and the Awesome Rivals Edition £104.99/€119.99.

For another LEGO 2K Drive review, take a look at our latest YouTube video:

About author
Jacob (OverTake)
My name is Jacob and I have been writing for OverTake since November of 2020. I come from the UK, but I'm now living in Berlin. I love to watch, write about and sometimes shout about all forms of racing.

Comments

The "fatal flaw" is you envisioning Lego games as products for kids... it's obvious that these games are made for adult nostalgia.

This game is in my ignore list. I will not pay this abusive price in a second tier casual racing game. It's not because something is casual or "for kids" that it has to be nerfed all the way down. There are kids starting at kart in the age of four... just don't underestimate this audience, industry.

Cheers!
 
D
This is a game trying to indoctrinate children that MTX or Pay2win is something good. So in the future they buy a new 2K title like NBA and spend money as well on the upgrades, shirts, shorts, protection, etc. Or other similar games. It's crazy. Should be forbidden. We need laws asap in EU or countries themselves.
 
Premium
My kids have outgrown this level of game, But I wouldn't have bought it for them even if they were younger due to the microtransactions.

I hope this crap backfires on them. Im glad its been highlighted in every review I've seen so far.
 
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Just stick to Mario Kart Wii, no hidden cost. and you have to unlock everything by your skill, with the exception of Rosalina (50 races with Mario Galaxy). I unlocked her the hard way by getting a star for the mirror grand prix anyway.
 
I wish we stopped writing long articles for every arcade crap that comes out, especially to tell how crappy it is which everyone already knows. May be an article on anything that is an exception and is worth playing will be good. When was the last time any arcade game had positive review?
 
Shitty crap like this from Lego makes me not want to buy the lego Peugeot 9x8 car brickset. As a parent its much harder to keep my kids away from all this microtransaction related levelling and fake currency crap than something like pornography. I would have thought Lego worried more about its brand....
 

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