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However, I think Lego Indiana Jones benefits from two things. First, Travellers Tales has now had three games to work out what works and weed out what doesn't, and generally tighten up the game mechanics and the engine. As in Lego Star Wars, switching between characters and combining abilities is the key to solving the game's puzzles, but here the game seems a bit more generous about how close you have to be before switching, and the AI does a slightly better job of handling characters when you're not in direct control. And while each character still has specific capabilities which they'll need to access certain platforms or parts of a level, there's less of a feeling that the player playing, say, Willie Scott, is hampered in the way that players playing, say, C-3PO were in the past. Most do a decent job in combat, and there's a pretty good balance between the different members of the cast. Sure, there will be arguments about who gets to be Indiana Jones. He's the man with the hat, after all, not to mention the man with the whip, which comes in handy both as a weapon and as a means of hooking on to certain objects and swinging across gaps. Still, everyone can do something special. Whether you're crawling through tight spaces as Short Round or shattering glass with your screams as Willie (nice touch) you never feel like you're wasting your time.
Secondly, there seems to be less of an emphasis on just running around and blasting, and more of a focus on crafty puzzles. There's nothing here that's going to stymie the average ten year old for too long (though your thirtysomething writer had a few difficult moments) but Travellers Tales have clearly grown more confident in the way they layer their block-building, lever-pulling puzzles so that the solution of one becomes part of the solution to the next. There are some great moments where one character will be platforming while the other moves platforms and raises ledges to assist them, and the hat-swapping trickery from Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy also makes a welcome return. The pacing is absolutely spot-on, and you'll definitely have your share of eureka moments when everything falls into place.
Overall, the level design is top notch. Each chapter has several parts and a number of quite extensive locations, but it's rare that one exceeds its welcome in the way that some sections of the Star Wars games could. It also helps that the shoot-em-up sections which were a natural fit for Star Wars have no home in the Indiana Jones universe, and have so been omitted, and that the few vehicle-based levels (mostly found in The Last Crusade) are broken up with chunks of platforming and puzzling. This is one of those games that it's almost impossible to get tired of.
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