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