I went hands-on with Lego Fortnite — and it's as fun as you'd expect

Lego Fortnite
(Image credit: Future)

Minecraft has never been my thing, but maybe if the sandbox game was built around Lego bricks, I would've felt differently. At least, that's what I took away from the Lego Fortnite experience, which I experienced for myself ahead of its launch on December 7.

Lego Fortnite makes a massive statement for the recently released Fortnite Chapter 5, bringing a survival crafting expedition to the Epic Games title for the first time. Your Fortnite character transforms into a minifigure as you acclimate to the elements in a world 20 times the size of Battle Royale. 

In this Lego-based environment, you're forced to forage the food and materials you need to build a camp, battle enemies, and endure different climates. And yes, the items you collect and develop your community with take the form of actual Lego bricks. And that's what makes it endearing.

If you know the Lego brand and its fans, you know being true to life is imperative. Epic Game's Unreal Engine supports more than 10,000 actual Lego brick pieces in the new Fortnite experience. In the virtual world you encounter and build upon, the structures are all ones you could create in the real one with the proper bricks.

What's more, your minifigure in Lego Fornite takes on the likeness of your existing Fortnite character, with over 1,200 compatible outfit parts and over 100 compatible emotes. I played as the virtual minifigure version of Fishstick, and it surprised me that my character didn't ask me me sacrifice authenticity to either the Lego or Fortnite fandom.

That said, one major difference between Lego Fortnite and my long-time love of real Lego bricks became obvious to me as I got my feel for the experience. In Lego Fortnite, I didn't hesitate to destroy any unfamiliar camps. I pillaged abandoned buildings to collect the scraps for my own benefit. I slashed ruthlessly at any structure outside of my own camp with a pickaxe until it crumbled, leaving nothing but pieces to bring back to build my own budding town.

In the real world, demolishing anything built with Lego bricks would bring a tear to my eye. It's much more difficult to dismantle and reconfigure Lego actual structures after all. (Side note: Epic Games had an impressive Supply Llama made of Lego bricks over twice my height at the hands-on, I can't even imagine how long that took to make.)

The beauty of this virtual Lego world is that I felt empowered to build, blast, and re-configure as much as my creativity would allow. Now, only being able to play for about 30 minutes, I only managed to attract a few people to my camp, complete with sleeping quarters and a tool bench. 

But Epic showed me ways those with early access leveraged the Lego experience. Someone built the ultimate mansion inside a lava mine, while another player designed a waterside tiki bar. The more you embrace the Lego Fortnite world, the more opportunities to engineer based on imagination arise. And that's what makes it worth a go.

To try Lego Fortnite out for yourself, enter the main menu Lobby screen, scroll down to the Discover section, and select LEGO Fortnite. Just be sure to grab some friends to jumpstart your camp first.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.