The licensed LEGO games have become a genre in their own right and any releases have become highlights of the gaming calendar.

LEGO Movie 2 Videogame

LEGO Movie 2 Videogame

Ever since 'Lego Star Wars: The Video Game' came out in 2005 we've been obsessed with our favourite films and comic book characters being recreated in plastic brick form with all the fun of collecting, building and smashing that comes with it.

In the years that have followed that landmark title, LEGO has created its own film genre too and these, of course, have become games too.

The latest film to come to consoles is 'The LEGO Movie 2' and it definitely carries the spirit of the sequel through an experience reminiscent of afternoons playing with the coloured bricks in real life.

Traveller's Tales has put out a long line of LEGO tie-ins, taking on top franchises from the original 'Star Wars' titles to 'Indiana Jones' to 'Harry Potter' and 'Lord of the Rings' - so you'd expect they know exactly what they're doing by this point, and that they've got the formula down to a tee.

Well, perhaps not. This time round, the developer looks to have torn up the rule book, taken on board the charm of the big screen blockbusters and finally given gamers an experience close to what everyone remembers from their childhood.

No, everything is not awesome - the movie taught us that - but this is pretty close, and a wonderful experience.

Where this immediately stands head and shoulders above other titles in the company's prolific catalogue is the idea that LEGO succeeds - as a toy, movie, game - most when it's based on the freedom for our imagination to run wild.

Replacing the series of linear levels of the past, the latest installment in the franchise instead takes more of a sandbox approach, letting the player go off on tangents, exploring the huge game area, take on side-missions and swap characters.

It's got to be said that the latter can be a bit disappointing with the characters not really having many special qualities to stand out from each other, but it's still an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for the gamer.

The voice cast is also of note, with A.J. Locascio and Jessica DiCicco back as Emmet and Lucy, and doing a fine job covering up for the lack of the film's leading pair Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks.

However, many of the other characters are voiced by their movie counterparts - don't worry, Will Arnett is back as everybody's favourite Batman.

While a lot of the best qualities of 'The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame' are nothing new - the chance to choose between the main story, silly side missions and aimless wandering was in the LEGO 'Lord of the Rings' series, for example - the new title combines the best of its predecessors.

You'll get to explore the Systar System - the main story, which is an extended version of the film's plot - and the Rexplorer System at will, with both galaxies featuring a host of playable set pieces, all with their own unique challenges and collectable items.

The more you play the game and collect the unlockables, the more rewarding the experience becomes a you can combine them to dream up your own childlike world.

You want your own unique character driving Batmoile through the Old West? Consider it done.

One of the most exciting parts of the game - albeit one that is totally dependent on your own commitment and imagination - is an area which can be filled with buildings based on designs you've come across during the story.

This means - by the time you've completed the game - it will look like a wonderful mish-mash museum with pieces from all the weird and wonderful worlds you've visited throughout your journey.

It makes no sense, it's silly and it's exactly the kind of landscape LEGO fans will remember from their childhoods.

This series has always been about fun, and now the franchise has opened up the freedom to go with it. This might be the next best thing to playing with real LEGO. Just like the 'Catchy Song' that soundtracks 'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part' this game is gonna get stuck inside yo' head.

'The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame' is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One (tested), Nintendo Switch, macOS and Windows PC.

'The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame' rating: 4/5

By Alistair McGeorge