Lego Island is a fun and relaxed Lego adventure, developed by Mindscape and released in 1997. Unlike modern Lego titles, Lego Island isn't based on an existing media property or packed with coop levels. Instead, this unique Lego experience allows players to choose between five characters and explore the nifty Lego Island at their own pace. There are a handful of unique locations to check out, and a variety of fun mini-games to enjoy. Much like the toy-brand it's based on, Lego Island encourages creativity, curiosity, and a generally wacky attitude.
You start your adventure in the Lego Island Information Center. You're introduced to the world and it's five main characters. There's Mama Roni, Papa Roni, and Pepper Roni. These three family members run the Lego Island pizzeria, where you can deliver pizzas! Additionally, there's the police couple, Nick and Laura Brick. These gritty cops run the Lego Island Police Station, and are constantly on the watch for the villainous Brickster. As the player, you have the choice of playing as any one of these five characters. Each have their own personality, and it's fun to play the game with each.
Once you've chosen your character, you'll explore Lego Island from a first-person perspective. Using either the arrow keys or mouse to move, you can check out the different shops and locations while taking in the sights. Besides delivering pizza at the pizzeria, you can build a helicopter at the police station, build your own car and race at the speedway, and much more. There's an emphasis on simply relaxing and seeing things at your own pace. There aren't many missions to speak of; instead, the game offers a handful of mini-games and lets you choose. Besides races and deliveries, you can also assist as an ambulance driver, and take on the Brickster.
The only big disappointment in terms of gameplay is the lack of actual Lego creation. You do get the chance to build a few vehicles, but Lego Island is more about exploration than creation. The entire Lego brand is about stacking bricks together to create cool things, and while that's here in small bursts, it doesn't feel like a focus. Luckily, the existing content is cheerful and pleasant. The main experience is a joy to play. Unfortunately, there's just not a whole lot of building. When you are building the vehicles, things are pretty cut and dry. You'll get to select the color of certain pieces, but for the most part, you're simply dragging and dropping pieces into a mold.
The graphics are a bit aged, but there's still a lot to love about the look and feel of Lego Island. The game is bursting with personality and charm. New residents introduce themselves in fun bursts of joy and excitement, there are constant jokes and silly scenes, and the experience feels positive and upbeat. Sure, the controls aren't the greatest, but it's easy to forgive the game's shortcomings when you consider its amount of heart. Everything has a general vibe of happiness; from the enthusiastic voice-over work to the silly slap-stick humor, it's both family friendly and uplifting.
The music and sound effects are great as well, with a smart mixture of both memorable sounds and relaxing music. While you explore the island, you'll enjoy a range of music. You'll hear upbeat atmospheric tunes, jazzy riffs, and surfer rock, and most tracks are honestly catchy.
Overall, Lego Island is a great trip back to the 90's, although its age shows in areas. If you have nostalgia for the old-school Lego brand, you'll enjoy what Lego Island has to offer. It might not be a perfect game, but it's an honest one. Each mini-game is worth trying at least once, and you might find yourself returning to Lego Island just to relax.