In this Lego-based action game, players take control of an unnamed hero who must save the island of Voya Nui from an invasion of Piraka who have stolen the mask of life. In the Piraka’s hands, the mask has caused the native animals to turn evil. Your mission is to destroy them and take back the mask of life.
Over the course of the game you’ll run around shooting monsters in a variety of Lego-themed missions, collecting the masks of the “Inika TOA”. Each one has their own unique abilities that are needed to explore each level. For example, Jaller (the red mask) can cross lava flows, while Hahli (the blue mask), can cross water. Switching to the appropriate mask is as simple as using a context sensitive button. Each mask can be upgraded at a shop, adding health or upgrading their special abilities.
Although this sounds great and could have prevented the game from being repetitive, it fails miserably. Missions are spent just walking around shooting enemies, collecting they Lego blocks, and moving on to kill the boss. After you defeat bosses, you take their heads and use them as masks. Everything in this game reeks of cheese - even boss deaths are amusing, as some of them try to move their heads around on their legs.
Even the controls are awkward for a shooter; you move and look side ways using the left analog stick - the same as in N64 shooters such as Golden Eye, which was the case because it only had one stick. This is something they shouldn’t have to do on the PS2, as the right analogue stick can be used for looking. Moreover, the right stick is used for looking, making the left sticks turning function pointless. Setting the left stick to strafing would have been a good idea and kept the controls tight.
The environments are some of the prettiest since Transformers graced the PS2 some two years ago, with plants, rivers, and lego plants you can shoot for extra blocks. There is a good variety of monsters to kill and bosses to fight. Unfortunately, that doesn’t save this game from being repetitive; even the boss battles are the same formula of killing a bunch of beasts, then triggering something to hurt the boss, then repeating.
Each mask has its own gun, however they are all effective against any enemy. The only reason to change is to get over a river, lava flow, solve puzzles or build bridges. Even the mechanics of the puzzle solving ability are ripped straight out of Lego Star Wars.
This is essentially one big advertisement for Lego’s new Bionicle range that that the game is based on. There is a lot of wasted potential here - the visuals, for example, are amazing for a PS2 title. This may appeal to Lego Bionicle fans, but shooter fans with any self-respect will avoid it at all costs. Traveller’s Tales’ next game is based on the upcoming Transformer’s Movie - let’s hope it’s a lot better than this.