Games: Lego 2K Drive's polished racing mechanics spoiled by in-game purchases

Lego 2K Drive
Lego 2K Drive

Lego 2K Drive (Multi)

By: 2K

CARS and Lego have gone hand-in-hand since the Danish bricks first terrorised bare feet. And long before all the movie-themed nonsense, Lego Technic had kids of the 1980s constructing custom rides with working pistons, gearboxes and battery-powered wheels. Hell, at eight-years-old, I could fashion a decent rack and pinion steering system. And now my love for all things Lego-motive comes full circle with 2K Drive.

Lego's recent videogames have been synonymous with yuk-filled takes on everything from Star Wars and Indiana Jones to Harry Potter, but with 2K Drive the Danish toychest returns to the heady 1990s days of Lego Racers with a take on Mario Kart that features cars made of more cheap plastic than a Dacia. Gentlemen, stud your engines and hit the yellow brick road...

While muscling-in on Mario Kart's tarmac, this is more Forza Horizon with plastic surgery as players start their racing career in Bricklandia, taking on rivals across a quartet of themed environments and with up to four online pals in tow.

Lego 2K Drive
Lego 2K Drive

Veering off-road sees cars morph into buggies while hitting the water transforms your jalopy into a speedboat for multi-terrain battles. Crashing into obstacles rewards players with boost refills and collectibles, while punchy power-ups like missiles and machine guns help keep rivals off your tail.

A series of standalone islands, Bricklandia also offers lashings of side-missions, from saving its denizens from alien invaders to tackling giant spiders en route to lifting the coveted Sky Cup.

2K Drive's secret weapon, of course, is its car customisation – this is Lego, after all – and players are free to let their imagination run riot with a variety of bricks to craft the car, boat or quad bike of their dreams. But this is where things begin to sour.

Lego 2K Drive
Lego 2K Drive

If you thought stepping on a brick in your socks was the worst way Lego could gouge you – think again. 2K Drive is the great block 'n' roll swindle, targeting the Bank of Mum and Dad with an in-game store that doles out its Brickbux currency and exclusive items for cold, hard cash.

Remember – this is already a full-price game. For the right price, Lego will give you the horn, and anything else, for that matter, from new vehicles, figures, engines and assorted tat – all available alongside a heavily-promoted paid season pass.

Of course, you can always earn Brickbux in-game, but this involves a deliberate grind, and the temptation to whip out a credit card lingers. Nintendo players get it even worse, with physical copies of the Switch version simply a code in an empty box.

With polished racing mechanics and a creation tool that's sure to fire the imagination of young petrolheads, it's a shame that 2K Drive's predatory microtransactions spoil the block party.

Like many an errant Lego brick, 2K Drive should be consigned to the Hoover bag.