Spiked Pits and Other Design Pitfalls
As with LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indy is pretty single-minded. Much of the game is spent figuring out how to proceed through levels. You solve puzzles to open doors, extend bridges across chasms, seal up spike pits, assemble broken LEGO blocks into various items, power up LEGO engines, uncover keys, dig up artifacts, trigger elevator platforms, and so forth. Levels are absolutely loaded with hidden secrets, too, so many that it's impossible to find them all on a single run-through. It's worth playing through each movie at least twice--once to get through the basic stories and a second time to explore every nook and cranny via the free mode that unlocks with an initial completion.
Yet as with LEGO Star Wars, puzzles here aren't particularly easy. I got stuck early and often, albeit not for tremendous amounts of time. Some of the situations Indy lands in are deviously constructed and feature multiple steps to puzzle solutions. It's never as simple as just finding a hidden key, for example. You've instead got to demolish some of the scenery, figure out how much weight you need to apply to a platform to get a lift moving, jump over a few deadly pits, slap blocks together into a useable object of some sort, find the wrench needed to fix up a machine, get a horse to buck you up onto a high ledge, etc. Every scene has a gimmick or three, most of which are pretty inventive.
It's all a bit much at times, though. LEGO Indy likely isn't a game you'll want to take on in marathon play sessions, as the never-ending progression of multi-step puzzles lag a bit after a couple of hours. Combine that with the occasionally cloying kiddie sense of humor and you'll want to digest this game in smallish hour-long chunks. Longer play sessions also emphasize a couple of other frustrations with gameplay. Allied AI can be wonky in spots. Your buddy occasionally needs extra prompting to help out with two-person puzzles like standing on platforms or hanging from chains simultaneously. Too many levels feature respawning enemies that attack incessantly while you're trying to solve a puzzle. Being gooned by a pack of thugs or insects every 20 seconds or so while scratching your head trying to figure out how to extend a bridge is not particularly enjoyable. Combat is so basic, and battles so easily won, that it seems unnecessary to force fights like this. It's not an integral part of gameplay, so I would have been happy with just the occasional big scrap right before a boss battle.
Still, I pushed myself forward. Even though I found that the action grew stale at times, I found it tough to stop playing even after getting bored. There are just so many secrets to discover, so many characters to unlock, so many artifacts to put together for viewing in the college hub (which is so big that it's practically a level to itself), so many cool twists to the original movie stories that I found it hard to tear myself away. I also wanted to stick around because of the appealing and cheerful presentation. All of the bright colors, intricately designed levels loaded with destructible objects, and winning use of the movie soundtracks load the game with a cheerful personality that I found impossible to resist.