It’s a weird truth that most kids’ games aren’t that fun, considering games is supposedly a youthful activity. With that thought, you’d think it would be simple to make a fun game for a child, but developers often tend to think of kids’ games as a way to cash in on a product instead.
Fortunately, LEGO Ninjago on the PS Vita is not such a cash-in game. Made with handheld devices in mind by TT Fusion, it is obvious that other LEGO games have had extra attention given to it. At the same time, it’s a LEGO game that has the same timeless formula that so many games have thrived with before, all without treating the target audience without any sort of contempt.
The levels in LEGO Ninjago are what you’d expect from a LEGO experience; it’s a straightforward, linear path. You smash an object to acquire currency, known as studs, and sometimes you must use a specific hero to solve a particular puzzle. Because it’s meant for kids, none of the puzzles are particularly difficult to solve, though a couple are not adequately explained and might frustrate children without some help.
Combat itself is also rather basic, and players can perform a whirlwind attack if they become overwhelmed by enemies; it seems to be able to handle most enemies in the game with ease. Even though the game is basic, it’s a fun one, and each character has their own specific weapon and animation for attacking, allowing kids to become more involved in a favorite character choice.
The design of the levels is also good, set at just the right pace so a child won’t get impatient trying to finish while allowing the developer to put some variety from the start to the end of the level. Between typical platforming, there are a handful of mini games and vehicle areas. They don’t control as well as the rest of the game, but at least there is variety.
A particularly skilled child can enjoy hidden collectibles and optional objectives, adding value to a game that already has plenty of content to enjoy for the cost.
Will older gamers be able to get into the Ninjago games? Perhaps not; unlike other LEGO games that focus on franchises like Lord of the Rings or Batman, Ninjago isn’t really one that has much room in the hearts of adults. As far as children’s games go, however, this is certainly one of the best options so far; you can purchase this knowing that your child will play the game enough for the purchase to be worth it. It won’t condescend the child and makes a great stepping stone for other games when the child gets older and is ready for new games.