The Summer of 2022 was an important one for platformer fighters as the genre itself found success in games not named Smash Bros. While last year's Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl proved to be a failure commercially, all hope wasn't lost as Warner Bros' Multiversus would revitalize the genre tenfold the following year. Not only was it one of the most popular PC fighting game releases in a long time, but its tournament presence in EVO would also attract thousands of players due to its lucrative prize pool. Whether Bandai Namco decided to port this before Multiversus or not, LEGO Brawls is neither All-Star Brawl nor Multiversus. It is, however, sad.
See, it pains me to do this but this will be a "review" on the short side, simply because there's not much to discuss about LEGO Brawls. Originally released in 2019, Brawls was a mobile game developed by RED Games. They're a studio that has taken "family-friendly" IPs of the past including Crayola and Transformers, making simple yet accessible mobile games based on them. Brawls, I'd imagine, would be a fine title to debut on Apple Arcade and mobile devices as it's rather impressive for a mobile game.
The premise is simple, you customize your LEGO character, battle up to eight players with other custom LEGOs, and you win matches. Winning nets you a higher ranking as well as a chance to obtain items based on your chosen "team." The teams are based on existing LEGO brands, including Ninjago, Jurassic World, Pirate and Space themes, and many more. The "replayability" comes with trying to collect all the pieces to create the ultimate LEGO character to your liking.
The starting LEGO characters are interesting enough. You have a knight, a wrestler, and a space...swordswoman. Again, you can mix and match these pieces to your liking and as you play more you'll unlock more. The problem here is that there's no incentive to keep playing on console despite cross-platform play. Sure the mobile version is fleshed out, but mobile games are meant to be played in quick bursts. Like if you're playing on a car ride or on a train ride to kill time.
On a console where the platforming fighter genre, and the fighting game genre in general, is expansive, it's not a good look. There's a blink-and-you-miss-it tutorial mode, a mode to enter quick ranked matches, and a player match to host your own rooms. That's it. There's not even a cheesy story mode to keep the player remotely invested. The gameplay is as easy as "mashing X" to win. If you see a crate, destroy it, pick up a weapon, and start blasting from a distance. It's all relative as the competition, who are playing on mobile devices for sure, are not even in the console player's league.
And that's it, honestly. I played three matches before I got the gist of what the game required of me. Think of similar games like Fall Guys where once you see a few matches you know what to expect. At least that game has various different game types. This game is even worse than Squish because at least with Squish it doesn't encourage an insane number of hours invested in grinding. Overall for $40, you can do far better than LEGO Brawls. The holiday season is approaching so don't get caught in the "family-friendly-easily-identifiable-IP" trap this year, parents! Pass on this mess.
LEGO Brawls is available on Microsoft Windows, Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S.