The long-awaited free to play section of Lego Universe just opened its virtual doors, removing all excuses for not playing the creative lil' MMO.
Unfamiliar with Lego Universe? Imagine a massively multiplayer realm with the user-friendly interface of World of Warcraft, only instead of that game's now-cliché Tolkienian fantasy tropes, Lego Universe hinges on the idea that players should be able to solve problems by building things with the game's titular blocks.
Graphically, it does as good a job replicating the charmingly geometric world of Legos as any of the Lego Star Wars or Lego Harry Potter games, and unlike those various series, Lego Universe is not constrained to a single theme. You'll find ninjas, pirates and dragons in Lego Universe, all without a hint of ironic condescension. "Whimsy" is a good tag word this MMO.
Why take my word for it? Assuming you have a modestly powerful PC or Mac, you can now experience the game for yourself, free of charge. The site is being slammed at the moment, but if you're willing to brave the traffic, you can now download the client from the game's official site.
Admittedly, the free to play iteration of the game doesn't give you access to the entirety of the game's neat bits, but what is on offer is, at the very least, a pretty solid introduction to the world. From the official press release:
Here's a list of all the cool stuff Free to Play players can do in LEGO Universe:
• Custom build one LEGO hero
• Interact with in-game friends
• Collect up to 10,000 coins
• Earn Universe Score to level up
• Play through The Venture Explorer
• Play through Avant Gardens
• Join the Nexus Force
• Sample Faction Gear
• Play the Survival mini-game
• Claim the Avant Gardens Block Yard Property
• Fight the Spider Queen
• Place LEGO models you have collected
• Build LEGO models of your own
• Bring LEGO models to life
• Visit thousands of other players' Properties
As per usual, if you join the free to play version and find yourself hooked, the Lego Group will happily accept $10 per month in exchange for access to the full game. The Lego Universe site offers an exhaustively detailed rundown on everything a full membership entails, but that's getting a bit ahead of ourselves.
For now, it's enough to say that there are no longer any valid excuses for you to not try Lego Universe. You like Legos, don't you?