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Do Not Swallow: LEGO Minifigures Online Enters Open Beta

Fun for the five-plusses

If you haven't already twigged that LEGO Minifigures Online was not made with you in mind, the account registration asking for your parent's e-mail address should clue you in. Funcom's free-to-play MMORPG is definitely for the little'uns, but I'll understand if grown-ups fancy a peek. It is LEGO, after all. The game launched into open beta yesterday, so wander on over to the official site if you'd like to visit. You probably won't want to stay.

I ran around for a bit, admired colours, enjoyed sounds, and exploded plastic men until I got bored and stopped. It's a pretty simple action-RPG where you control little LEGO minifigures, which range from a Xena rip-off to a generic grandpa (right now it's only got figs from series 9 and 10). Left-clicking attacks and right-clicking is some manner of special move, from tossing a jar of slowing honey to summoning a defensive ring of explosive cards. You get a squad of three minifigs but only one can be active at a time, so there's some trick to building a team and knowing when to switch. Dodging and kiting are important, so you don't simply click, but combat's not much fun.

It's not meant to be Diablo, though. It's bright and colourful and if your sprog wants to play it, you'd probably be entertained enough by spending time with someone you love and watching a Roman Emperor fight by reciting speeches and summoning a charging horde of Roman soldiers.

Monetisation is about what you'd expect from a free-to-play game. 'Diamonds' buy you minifigs, health potions, and instantly revive 'smashed' characters, but they come infrequently while playing so, helpfully, Funcom let you buy them with cash. This works out at £2 for a bagged minifig, randomly giving one from a collection of 16 or 17. If you want to know what you're buying, preset squads of three go for £8. It also has subscriptions, where £6 a month gives access to certain dungeons, boosts to diamonds and whatnot.

Chat is also limited to subscribers, so not just anyone can start gabbing away. Character names are put together from pre-selected word lists too (I went for Electric 'Empty' Potato), though I suspect a dedicated enough weirdo could coin some inventive euphemisms for genitalia.

As I forgot to record anything while playing, here's a trailer showing Pirate World, where I stopped:

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