Lego 2K Drive review — everything isn't awesome

Lego 2K Drive offers a large open world and customizable vehicles, but the grind quickly becomes tedious

Lego 2K Drive
(Image: © 2K)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Lego 2K Drive is a frequently fun experience, thanks to its host of exciting race tracks, expansive open world and fully customizable vehicles. Unfortunately, the game is hindered by egregious microtransactions.


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    Vast open world

  • +

    Deep vehicle customization

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    Varied race tracks


  • -

    Invasive monetization

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    Disappointing visuals on Switch

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Lego 2K Drive specs

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One

Price: $60 (Standard Edition), $99 (Awesome Edition), $119 (Awesome Rivals Edition)

Release date: May 19 2023

Genre: Racing

Lego 2K Drive attempts to offer racing fans something unique and stand out in a crowded genre, but ultimately handicaps itself in the name of chasing profits.

With its open world and visually unique racetracks, Lego 2K Drive promises the best of Mario Kart and Forza Horizon in one family-friendly package. This game doesn’t just delight on the tarmac either, as you can also construct your own vehicles with virtual Lego bricks.

Unfortunately, Lego 2K Drive is far from perfect. To unlock new vehicles and characters, you either have to endure a monotonous grind or spend real-world money. And the graphics and performance are less than ideal when playing on Nintendo Switch. Read on for our full Lego 2K Drive review.

Lego 2K Drive review: Gameplay 

Lego 2K Drive is an open-world racing game. Naturally, this means you’ll spend the majority of your time behind the wheel, whether it’s on a race track or exploring the large hub world of Bricklandia.

Driving is satisfying in Lego 2K Drive thanks to the arcade-style controls. The fundamentals are simple to understand — just remember to keep accelerating and drift around sharp turns. But heavy and light vehicles maneuver very differently, so each new car you unlock provides a new challenge. 

You might even zoom off the track and explode the first time you take a new motor for a spin. But learning how each vehicle handles and drifts around corners is a rewarding process.

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

In Lego 2K Drive’s story mode, your ultimate goal is to win the Bricklandia Cup. To earn your participation ticket, you’ll have to tour Bricklandia, competing in races and challenges along the way.

In most cases, winning story mode races isn’t terribly challenging. But 2K Lego Drive maintains tension by ensuring the AI opponents never get too far ahead or behind you. Plus, there are useful power-ups dotted along the race tracks. These include a rocket launcher, mini bombs, a spider web and more. Power-ups can be launched at opponents to smash up their cars and slow them down. 

Of course, the other racers can also use power-ups against you. If you get hit, parts of your own car will fly off, but driving into breakable objects like fences or plants will restore your vehicle’s health.

While I enjoyed destroying my opponent’s cars, I found it difficult to restore my vehicle’s condition after taking return fire. I wish breakable obstacles were better placed — they’re mostly found on the edges of the track, which requires you to swerve off course to smash them. It’s often easier to focus on driving and hope no one hits you instead.

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

Ranking in pole position is generally straightforward, but you if want the fastest possible lap times you will need to get strategic. You need to take into account the terrain type (road, off-road or water), and select the right vehicle accordingly. Smart use of your boost ability is also crucial. Boost down straights and smash into obstacles to keep the meter filled up.

To unlock new races, you have to complete quests in the open world. Fortunately, there’s lots of variety to these tasks, like picking up a character and dropping them off in a specified location, or driving around a course while jumping over buildings.

Some of the quests are enjoyable, and can even improve your racing skills. I loved the ones that guide you around shortcuts for the story mode race tracks, and a tree-logging challenge helped me improve my turning accuracy. But individual quests don’t reward you with a lot of XP, so you’re required to complete several before the next race unlocks. 

Fortunately, there are lots of quests to choose from, which helps prevent things from becoming repetitive.

Lego 2K Drive review: Customization

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

The customization tools in Lego 2K Drive are impressive. The game provides you with a huge toybox of virtual Lego bricks, and you’re free to build almost anything you can imagine. 

However, you can’t build from scratch and must instead use one of the pre-existing frames as a starting point. Once you’ve designed your new ride, there are lots of different paint, decal and decorative options too.

Be warned that creating your dream car might not be so easy. There are plenty of tutorials in Lego 2K Drive that walk you through the basics of building a functional vehicle, but even after watching them all I was unsure how to make a car that actually looked good. 

If you’re struggling to build aesthetically pleasing cars, you can instead purchase pre-made models at Unkie’s Emporium, but this comes with its own set of monetization problems.

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

The real strength of the game’s customization comes when you design a vehicle for a specific task. 

For example, I was struggling with a mini-game that requires you to prevent waves of robots from destroying three transmission towers. After an initial failed attempt, a pop-up hint suggested that a wider vehicle may be more suitable for the job. I headed to the garage and built the biggest car possible. It wasn’t pretty, but my creation enabled me to complete the mission with flying colors on my next attempt.

Lego 2K Drive review: Monetization 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

There are two forms of currency in Lego 2K Drive: BrickBux and Coins. You earn BrickBux by winning races and completing challenges, whereas Coins can only be purchased with real-world money. 

This progression system seems designed to encourage you to spend skip the tedious grind."

At Unkie’s Emporium you can purchase new vehicles, characters and cosmetic items. Thankfully everything in the store can be purchased with BrickBux, but you’ll need a large sum to buy the most desirable stuff. This is a serious problem. 

Playing Lego 2K Drive would be a lot more rewarding if winning races enabled you to unlock new vehicles and customization options at a reasonable pace. As it is, you have to put in several hours of work to buy new vehicles. This progression system seems designed to encourage you to spend money on Coins to skip the tedious grind.

Lego 2K Drive review: Multiplayer 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

The multiplayer portion of Lego 2K Drive allows you to choose between individual races or a longer cup series. You can play locally or online.

In my testing, the game was playable online, but driving felt sluggish compared to the smooth racing I enjoyed when playing solo. Nevertheless, smashing up your friends' cars and competing for the fastest lap time is a winning formula for fun.

Unfortunately, I had trouble finding other people online playing Lego 2K Drive. I waited in the online lobby looking for a race for around two minutes before the game forced me into a match against CPU drivers. I was racing around against bots for several rounds before other players eventually joined.

Lego 2K Drive review: Visuals and sound 

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

Playing on Nintendo Switch, Lego 2K Drive looks rather disappointing. Before each race you’re shown a fly-over view of the course and surrounding areas, and these cut-scenes don’t paint the game in the best light. Textures and character models looked blurry and indistinct.

At least things improve during actual gameplay. The visuals are vivid and colorful, and it’s fun to watch your vehicle transform between car, speedboat and off-road buggy in milliseconds. It’s also impressive to see Lego parts flying everywhere during high-speed collisions. 

Lighting effects further help to improve the game’s graphics. Bricklandia looked fairly pleasant bathed in sunset, and the game’s rougher edges are harder to notice when you’re driving at night.

Lego 2K Drive

(Image credit: 2K)

As for the sound, Lego 2K Drive brings some catchy tunes and punchy sound effects. The soundtrack is comprised of an interesting mix of musical genres, from the relaxing country riffs of Big Butte County to the thrilling sci-fi horror soundtrack in Robot Invasion.

However, if you want to actually hear the background music, you’ll probably want to make some adjustments in the settings menu. I could barely hear the soundtrack over the roaring engines until I made some tweaks to the audio mix.

Lego 2K Drive review: Verdict

Lego 2K Drive is an enjoyable experience overall. The game's greatest strength is its fully explorable open world, and the system to build your own vehicles helps it stand out from rival racing games.

However, I found the grind to unlock new cars, characters and items tiresome and wish the aggressive monetization had been toned down. Lego 2K Drive is still worth taking for a spin, but you should be aware that it will do its best to squeeze a few more cents out of you.

Millie Davis-Williams

Millie is a Deals writer at Tom's Guide specializing in deals content. She also covers the latest tech news and and creates how-to articles about everything from phones, streaming devices, and headphones to apps and video games. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gaming on her Nintendo Switch and creating digital art.