Review: Builder's Journey, from the apple to the computer
Sometimes old console games come to mobile. It is then an ode to the advancement of mobile technology that is being made today. But sometimes a mobile game also comes to console and PC. Builder's Journey is such a game, can this game bridge the jump?
The first thing you see when you start up Builder's Journey is a beach made of LEGO blocks. This brings part of the title to life, namely building. On this beach of about sixteen by sixteen “studs” you learn the main game mechanics. How do you grab blocks, how do you move them and click them together. On the Switch, on which I played the game, this was mastered fairly quickly.
As you get more acquainted with the handling of the game, the game will let go of your hands faster and faster. The main characters quickly emerge. A boy and his father. This is where the second part of the title comes in, namely the journey. The two, with the player to help, traverse the dangerous and unbuilt toads home. The goal of the player in this is therefore mainly to build bridges and roads with the stones that the game gives you. Quite a fun way of puzzling. After you've built the roads and arrived, the story really starts.
In a nutshell, the story is quite simple. The father loses himself more and more in his work, so that the dear son only finds a way himself. Eventually, through each other's own adventures, they reunite. How and what I let you puzzle yourself, but it was in itself quite a nice storyline in addition to the set of creative puzzles.
Still a bridge too far?
What really puzzled me was the replayability. LEGO is known for being the product of creativity. After all, you can use the blocks for something else with every set you buy. And while that's also possible in Builder's Journey, it's not that bad once you know the route. You don't move to another puzzle if you make the path different.
I also found the handling a bit clunky at times, at least on the switch. The perspective when placing the blocks can sometimes get in the way. This makes it quite difficult to get through the somewhat faster puzzles. It's a shame because it's basically the game's fault.
Finally, I thought it was a bit on the short side. I finished the game in a little over 2 hours, and then I haven't really run through it. The game is about 20 euros in the Nintendo Eshop (and 16.95 euros on Steam) and that is quite on the more expensive side for around two to five hours of gameplay. The game was originally released on Apple Arcade so that's where the length comes from, but on console/PC I expect a bit more than some improved visuals.
Fortunately, there were also quite a few good things about the game. The music is certainly a nice addition to the game. It fits the atmosphere of the puzzles and gives the story some depth. In addition, Dad At Work is a bob.
The graphics and visuals were certainly slick too. The blocks looked like you could grab them right off the screen. In addition, the light effects were just like real. A good example of modern graphics. And in addition that the biomes of the puzzles were also well put together, this ensured that the game was beautiful for the retina.
Finally, I thought the story was quite cute. The characters, despite their minimalist design, were good at conveying emotion. The storyline was quite cliché in theme, but how the characters came together again was unique. The lesson of the game also falls well in line with LEGO nowadays.
While I quite liked Builder's Journey, the $19.99(!) or $16.95 on both PC and Switch isn't worth it. On Switch it feels like a fun puzzle game for in between with the depth of a good iOS game. On the PC, it's more of a tech demo of what modern video cards can do with light. For the price, I secretly expected a little more than that. That is also the reason why I don't really think it fits on anything other than mobile. It's too small and too expensive for what it is on devices other than a mobile. It's a good game, the music and atmosphere are certainly well put together. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the space you expect for the money on anything other than a phone. So if you have an iPhone/iPad, feel free to pick it up. But on Switch/PC I'll leave it alone.
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