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Lego has dipped its toes into the racing world before, most notably as DLC for Forza Horizon 4. Clearly, they liked it because now they’ve come together with 2K to produce and new open-world racer.

Although it does suffer from the classic Lego video game problem where most of the terrain isn’t made of Lego, it still has the same upbeat vibes and slightly satirical tone that most modern Lego games have to them. It’s definitely designed with a younger audience in mind, but it’s not afraid to throw in some sarcasm and comedic cynicism that might fly over a kid’s head.

Once you actually get driving, there’s a lot to like. It’s extremely light and arcadey, which is exactly what I was hoping for, given the overall tone. That said, there’s still some solid physics simulation behind it. You can feel the different weights behind different cars, so you have to account for handling differences more than you would in your average arcade racer.

Lego 2K Drive bikers and diners

On top of that, you can switch between track, off-road, and water vehicles on the fly. It happens automatically too, which puts it a step up from The Crew 2 – simply drive out onto the water and you’ll automatically switch to a boat, go up onto the land and you’ll switch back to a car, and so on.

It means that quick thinking in races is highly rewarding, as there are shortcuts everywhere that you’ll only be able to spot if you utilize the auto-switching. It also helps that there are multiple extra abilities each vehicle has.

Naturally, there’s a nitro boost that charges up over time, but you can charge it much quicker by drifting, which gives you a pretty clear idea of what you need to be doing during races. Drifting isn’t always the quickest way to get around corners – as there is a quick-turn button – but it might be more beneficial in the long run to build up your boost – similar to the mini-turbo from the Mario Kart games.

Lego 2K Drive monster car

Speaking of Mario Kart, there are a handful of weapons to pick up along the way, and they can cause just as much trouble as a devastating Blue Shell. Mines, missiles, EMPs, and even spiders can be sent to slow down your fellow racers, but the pack usually remains close together enough that a skilled driver can recover lost places without too much trouble.

Outside of races, there’s quite a large open world with a variety of biomes that are full of stuff to do. You’ve got small “on-the-go” challenges that you can activate by driving through their start points. These are usually timed challenges that center around a single mechanic, like jumping over a series of obstacles, or drifting up a tall mountain while dodging bombs.

There are also side activities, of which there is a great variety. Some will have you race from point to point on a time limit, some will be a tower-defense style game where you have to run over robots, and others are fun mini-games like “Red-light, Green-light”. You can do all of these in multiplayer too, as you can invite up to five friends into the world to mess about together.

Lego 2K Drive spaceship

While all of this is fun, by the end of my session with it, I found myself getting a little bored of aimlessly rolling from one activity to the next. Despite there being plenty of activities, I didn’t find the world particularly interesting to explore, even if the main areas were very nice to look at. It strikes me as the kind of game that will be best played in small sessions for a short burst of action and adrenaline when you’re in the mood.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lego game without a creation suite, and naturally, you have full customization to build whatever car or boat you want from scratch. All of the blocks, accessories, and connecting parts you could ever want are there in the garage – with plenty of cosmetic items and template cars unlockable through playing the story mode.

Lego 2K Drive isn’t going to become a juggernaut of the racing genre, but it’s not trying to. In an era where realism has become more of a priority for series like Forza and Gran Turismo, 2K Drive wants to embrace the fun and silliness of action-packed arcade fun.