After an unexpected journey away from Steam, both Lego Lord Of The Rings and Lego The Hobbit have arrived back, safe and sound. They were delisted in January 2019, presumably for annoying license reasons. Now they are back, presumably for slightly less annoying license reasons.
I'm vaguely irritated that licence Hokey Cokey is the reason I'm reminding you that Lego games make for some pretty good couch co-op, but here we are.
There was no explanation from publishers Warner Bros. about their disappearance, and there is no explanation for their return - but yes, it's licensing, innit. There is every chance they will disappear again at some point in the future, so grab 'em while you can.
If you've never played a Traveller's Tales Lego game before, you should! If you have played one before, then it's only slightly hyperbolic to say you've played them all. You get to wander around your favourite franchises (a dirty word, but the right one here), whacking at things while solving simple, often pressure plate-based puzzles. There are some differences, as Adam (RPS in peace) spells out in his Lego Lord Of The Rings Review:
"If you are happy to spend hours of your life exploring a small and lovable Middle Earth, smashing things and seeking out simple puzzles, then you will find Lego Lord of the Rings to be exceedingly generous. At its base, there’s little deviation from the established Lego format but the open world, along with a wider range of abilities, and basic crafting and equipping of items, makes for a more expansive game."
Adam's Lego The Hobbit review was a little grumpier, but still concluded "Bits of it are awesome, most of it is decent."
This has got me wondering whether my housemate who's well into Lord Of The Rings but indifferent about videogames might be interested. Maybe there's someone like that in your lockdown life, too.