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Lego 2K Drive Nintendo Switch review - all brick, no treat

A new brick-based racer is here, mixing car customization with multiple racing styles. Find out if it stacks up in our Lego 2K Drive Nintendo Switch review.

Lego 2K Drive review: a car looks over a hill at an open-world racing track

Our Verdict

There is a good game buried somewhere in Lego 2K Drive, but it’s not here yet. Fun racing mechanics, a large world, and great characters prop up this release, and kids are sure to have a blast. But dire Switch performance and a litany of monetization methods in a full-price release mean that parents should keep this well away from their kids. If you’re desperate to play it, buy it on PS5, otherwise, buy Mario Kart folks.

Lookout kart racers, there’s a new kid on the block. Bricks and handbrakes combine in Lego 2K Drive, a title that balances different types of racing (track, off-road, and boats) with deep customization. Build the Lego-filled car of your dreams, or make the weirdest boat you imagine; if you can build it, you can race it.

Lego 2K Drive stitches together fun missions with an open-world sandbox littered with characters to meet and collectibles to find. It also offers online racing, as well as split-screen co-op, if you want to challenge your housemates for a few matches. However, do bear in mind that this is a kid’s game first, and it has a bright and colorful Lego brick art style that matches the playful world of Lego well. Plus, the Lego comedy is certainly intact, even without a license to stitch it to.

Now, I have many hours of Lego 2K Drive under my belt, and I have to admit there’s a fun racer at its core. Handling is a little stiff, but you can drift or brake to sharply adjust your trajectory in any vehicle mode. It also uses fun weapons such as a spider web to net opponents, a fairly standard rocket to attack foes, and some sort of electric sphere. It’s boilerplate, but there’s fun to be had… on other platforms.

First of all, I love racing games, and I particularly like the open-world style of driving between missions and discovering things for yourself. So, I see the promise in Lego 2K Drive. But this game is severely hampered on the Nintendo Switch, with the graphics, performance, and aggressive microtransactions hurting me more than stepping on a Lego brick. This title should be perfect for me, folks, and I’m really trying to like it.

While it’s lacking innovation, the driving, handling, and racing are fine. Nothing mind-blowing, but they still work as intended, and switching between the different vehicle types on the fly is really fun. Just zooming around the open world is particularly great as you boost up hills, leap into the air, and then transform into a boat to land in a river. There’s so much potential here, and I can see a world where it works.

Lego 2K Drive review: a car acreens around a track

There’s also a lot to do in the world, with regular races against NPCs offering a fun challenge or little side missions like collecting blue pigs out of the road for a farmer or using your car to roll a giant egg into a giant frying pan. When you combine this with the collectibles tucked away in some tricky spots, this world is densely populated and fun to explore.

Next, if you’re even remotely creatively inclined, the car creation over at the garage is really fun. There’s a deep suite of Lego pieces to choose from, and very few restrictions. It is very fiddly lining up your Lego pieces, however, and I wish you could place symmetrical blocks on the other side of your vehicle.

Building one side and then having to do exactly the same but mirrored is a chore, I’m not sure why developer Visual Concepts didn’t consider that. Still, there are lots of blocks to find, vehicles to unlock, and you can swap between your vehicles and loadouts easily. I like to build things, and some of the unlockable vehicles like a rolling pizza oven or a giant burger are a blast, it’s all really silly fun that kids are sure to love.

Lego 2K Drive review: a man stands next to a car made to look like a burger

I also really enjoy the humor, as I’m always a sucker for the tongue-in-cheek but squeaky-clean comedy of Lego games. I’m entering races against characters called Vinny Unleaded, and that puts a huge smile on my face. The dialogue and the voice acting are all great, with the latter delivered with real gusto, and it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. I think kids are in for a treat, but then I can’t understand why Lego 2K Drive heavily features microtransactions when it’s a boxed and accordingly priced game.

Lego 2K Drive is a full-price release. It costs £49.99/$59.99, which is fine if you offer value. However, while there’s plenty of fun to have with Lego 2K Drive, it also features a season pass, with some versions of the game with additional passes or content reaching an astronomical £89.99/$119.99. I’m begging you right now, if you have that much to spend on a game, don’t spend it all on this one.

So not only is Lego 2K Drive a full-price release with a season pass, but it also features microtransactions for the title’s in-game currency Brickbux. Not only this, but the shop known as Unkie’s Emporium is a location in the real-world map that any kid can just drive up to. It’s one thing to have microtransactions in a kid’s game, but to have them brazenly appear in the in-game map without any barriers is abysmal.

Lego 2K Drive review: a menu shows many options of different cars available to buy

Furthermore, a secondary currency known as coins further obfuscates the purchases. A regular vehicle in Lego 2K Drive costs around 10,000 Brickbux, but you can’t just buy Brickbux. You have to buy the coins to buy Brickbux. In the UK 500 coins costs £4.49 and in the US it costs $4.99. Fine, a straight conversion with no leftover currency.

If you want to buy a large amount, though, you can save money and buy 100,000 Bruckbux for 4,500 coins. A saving of 500 coins, great. Except, there’s no option to buy 4,500 coins. Instead, there’s only the option to spend £24.99/$29.99 on 3,600 coins, so you have to either spend £4.49 twice to make up to the 4,500 coins or spend £24.99/$29.99 again.

Lego 2K Drive review: a menu shows the options for buying coins and brickbux

This tactic of confusing consumers with different payment methods is one we talk about in our forced change feature, and it’s so frustrating to see these manipulative methods in a children’s game that’s already full price, and that also has a season pass. If Lego 2K Drive offered all of its content under its initial £49.99 price point, even with bad performance, I might recommend it as a fun kid’s game, but discerning parents shouldn’t let children anywhere near this sort of coercive money trap.

Finally, even if you can put up with the aggressive monetization, Lego 2K Drive looks so underwhelming on Switch. I make apologies for the Nintendo Switch often. It’s a handheld platform for children, and the fact it can run indie games well is a huge boon to those releases, and Nintendo, with its fantastic releases that balance graphics and framerate, is a master of its craft.

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom shows the power of the Nintendo Switch and what time, resources, and QA can do. Well, if you want to play a game where you build machines and ride them around, get Zelda. 2K Drive looks heavily compressed, with chinky pixels abound and jagged edges, and it’s hard to make out details when playing either in docked or handheld.

Lego 2K Drive review: A lego man stands in an open desert area

There’s some egregious pop-in, and textures are worse than a tree in Galar. The actual transformations of the vehicles look great when you can make them out, and it’s lovely seeing the vehicle you make on the screen, but if you have any other way of playing this game, maybe consider playing it on PS5 or something similar.

The graphics and performance are so wonky I genuinely feel a bit unwell during some races, so I can only imagine how children might feel. Online wields similar results but with added lag, and I can’t imagine split-screen co-op fairs any better. I hope we get patches down the line, but they’ve got a big job ahead of them.

It’s always frustrating when you want to like a game, especially when you can see something worthwhile buried underneath. I’m a huge Lego fan and still a dab hand at Lego Racers on the Playstation 1, so I really wish this was better. While driving feels good, and the building mechanics are great, there’s so much jank around the edges that it’s tough to recommend Lego 2K Drivers on Switch to anyone who has any other console.

Lego 2K Drive review: A loading screen shows the level about to be played, with a large canyon

What’s more, the inclusion of aggressive monetization techniques in a kid’s game is gross, especially when children can drive straight into a microtransaction garage without knowing better, only to be greeted with a cheerful monkey and £24.99 price points for a bunch of coins. On top of the season pass, it’s borderline unethical.

There is a fair amount of content to explore and unlock in this game, and I’m sure you can get your money’s worth without spending a penny. But that excuse doesn’t cut it when you are putting the option to spend money in front of kids, who are always interested in the newest, fastest, and shiniest thing, and happy to press a single button to wipe out their parent’s card. There’s so much to like here, but the performance and monetization disappoint me more than a Lego set with a piece missing.

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For a list of games that you should play instead of Lego 2K Drive, be sure to check out our guides to the best Switch racing games and the best racing games on mobile.