Lego Builder's Journey Finds Early Success With Kids and Adults [Interview]
The nonverbal mobile game challenges you to solve puzzles using Lego bricks.
In late 2019, Light Brick Studios launched Lego Builder’s Journey on Apple Arcade, Apple’s game subscription service.
The nonverbal puzzle game challenges players to help characters move throughout environments and complete other tasks by placing Lego bricks in the right places at the right time.
We recently had a chance to chat with Karsten Lund, creative director for Lego Builder’s Journey, about the game’s development and its family-friendly design.
SuperParent: How have players reacted to the unique theme of Lego Builder’s Journey in the short time that the game has been available?
Karsten Lund: The response has been very positive. Many players like this kind of Lego play, and we hear stories of how the narrative connects to the audience’s own play stories. We’ve even seen families build Lego models inspired by scenes from the game. It’s a good start for our first title.
SP: Can you talk about the inspiration behind making the game more serious and slow-moving, as opposed to wacky, colorful, and fast-paced, like we may traditionally expect from a Lego-themed game?
KL: We believe that Lego play also has a more quiet and thoughtful side. The goal has been to explore a more poetic vibe, while showing a new artistic side of the play material. We made it our mission to put classic Lego construction play in the center of the experience, so you build with bricks to solve the game’s puzzles, and the challenges increase with the player’s skill during the game.
SP: With Lego Builder’s Journey being nonverbal, but still being appropriate for players 4+, how did you ensure that younger players can follow along with the story as it progresses?
KL: First and foremost, we wanted to create an enjoyable experience for players of all ages. Getting the narrative across was secondary. The story of the game has many layers, so adults will understand something different than children. We’ve seen kids play very differently with the game’s puzzles, enjoying free building rather than trying to solve them, and that’s perfectly fine with us.
SP: How did you approach the game’s design to ensure that it was both engaging over the long-term and sensitive to children’s tendency toward screen time problems?
KL: At Light Brick we’re aiming for as high quality as we can possibly make; that means we think a lot, talk a lot, test a lot and repeat, until we believe the experience is right for all ages. This is not a long game or an endless retention loop with many missions; this experience has a beginning, a middle and an end that hopefully leaves the audience with some inspiration to go and be creative and play more themselves.
SP: Did you consider adding a hint system to the game, to help players complete puzzles?
KL: Actually, we want the game to be as self-explanatory as possible because we believe that figuring things out for yourself gives the greatest satisfaction. At the moment we have a bit of a tutorial to begin with, but the rest of the game is designed to be figured out by the players.
SP: We love the idea of parents and kids playing and working together to solve the game’s puzzles. Was this something that was considered during development?
KL: We tested the game with both adults and children, but ultimately, we made a game that we wanted to play ourselves. Some of the puzzles are hard for 6-7 year-olds, but that turned out to be a perfect opportunity for families to work together to try and tackle the challenges. We didn’t plan for it, but we like that dimension the Lego idea offers: Fun across generations.
For more information about Lego Builder’s Journey, check out our SuperParent First Look for the game.