For a cute and cheery little survival game, Lego Fortnite goes pretty hard

I didn’t know what to expect from Lego Fortnite when I logged in for the first time. With its cheerful looks, kid-friendly Fortnite Lego characters, and the general trend of survival games being a bit more forgiving with survival systems these days, I figured it would just be a fun little crafting sandbox where you occasionally bonked monsters on the head with little swords and took their loot.

I was wrong. Lego Fortnite does not pull its punches. You know how your first full in-game day of Minecraft can wind up being a brutal and harrowing survival experience? It’s almost the same deal here.

I spawned in alone, though into a shared world—a nice feature of Lego Fortnite is once someone has given you their world key, you can play in their world even if they’re not online. Morgan and Tyler W. had played a bit the day before, but were both working (like suckers) when I started playing. I could see on the map where they’d built a little settlement… and I couldn’t help noticing the game wasn’t even kind enough to spawn me there. Instead it dropped me almost entirely on the opposite side of the map. That should have been my first clue that this game is out to get me.

I didn’t know this at the time, but if you create a new world in Lego Fortnite you meet an NPC who shows you the ropes of crafting and building. If the first thing you do is join someone else’s world, you might not get that. I sure didn’t—there was no explanation of what to do or how to do it, I was just plopped into the world with nothing.

I started running toward the village, gathering sticks, stones, and berries along the way. Then I died. Two wolves ran out of some trees and killed me almost instantly. I also learned that when you die, you lose all of your stuff and have to travel to your dropped backpack to get it, which for me wasn’t particularly close by. Losing 100% of your stuff upon dying? What is this, DayZ?

After I’d gotten my stuff back, an angry boulder popped out of the ground and ran me over, and while I was fleeing from it a couple of spiders jumped on my face. Dead again, and I had to make another run to get my tiny collection of junk. This time a little gang of Lego men ran from some castle ruins and beat me to death. What the hell, Lego game? 

(Image credit: Epic Games)

The next time I respawned I lived long enough to gather some wood and stone to make a workbench. I was surprised (again) that a bench was required to make basic tools like an axe or pick—even harsh survival games usually let you craft that kind of basic tool right in your inventory. Building the bench used up all my resources, and by the time I’d gathered more, it had started raining. That’s when I learned you can’t use a workbench in the rain—I have no earthly idea why, but it’s true—so I scampered around gathering more sticks to build a foundation, floor, wall, and roof so I could at least protect the bench from the weather.

By the time that was done I was once again out of resources, and now night had fallen which means skeletons began popping out of the ground literally everywhere. Unlike some of the monsters I’d fled from, these skellies wouldn’t stop chasing me, and eventually cut me down just as I was finally crafting my first pickaxe.

Once again I spawned, annoyed to see that I wasn’t even close to where I died—I was so far away I couldn’t even see the skybeam pointing to my backpack—and even further from Morgan and Tyler’s town. I sighed and then ran for a long time, trying to avoid any monsters along the way. Just as night was about to fall again I finally happened upon a tiny bit of luck. I met an NPC catgirl named Tabby. 

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Catgirls: don’t leave home without them.

As I was talking to Tabby a skeleton wandered over and I was delighted to see Tabby had a sword and not just a wooden pickaxe. She quickly thrashed that skellie, so I invited her to explore with me, which meant for the rest of the night I ran around in circles while she fought off skeletons, spiders, wolves, and angry boulders. She died at one point, but respawned shortly after and kept protecting me as I doggedly made my way to the safety of Morgan and Tyler’s village. Catgirls: don’t leave home without them.

I’m in much better shape now. I’ve built a little house for me and Tabby, crafted a proper sword of my own, and I’m protected by several friendly NPC villagers who swarm over any skeletons stupid enough to try invading. But, yeah, I had a surprisingly tough beginner experience with Lego Fortnite! 

That’s not a bad thing: it definitely gave me those ‘first night in Minecraft’ vibes where you’re desperately trying to gather and craft and secure some sort of shelter just to reach the next day. It’s always satisfying to overcome the early challenges of a survival game, I just wasn’t expecting there to be quite so many of them in a Lego game.

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