Following an enjoyable but familiar formula, LEGO The Hobbit The Video Game is the latest in the line of brick-built action-adventure titles from Warner Bros. and developer TT Games. This venture into Middle-earth surrounds the events of the first two films in The Hobbit cinematic series: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. Players will have a blast controlling Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Legolas Greenleaf, Thorin Oakenshield, and his entire Company of Dwarves on their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the greedy, merciless dragon Smaug.

Tolkien fans of any age will be delighted with the almost overwhelming amount of familiar places and faces they can meet in LEGO The Hobbit. From the memorable first time when Bilbo’s home was overrun with dwarfs to the group’s many skirmishes with orcs, there’s no shortage of things to do and items to collect on your journey. Though there’s no Stephen Colbert mini-figure commemorating his cameo as a citizen of Lake-town to collect, there are scores of other character variants that perfectionists will need to find to reach that elusive 100% complete status.

Like previous LEGO games, you can play The Hobbit solo or with a friend through local co-op. Playable characters have multiple weapons and tools at their disposal that can be used to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. New to the series is the ability to partner with other characters in your party to execute stronger team attacks or reach higher platforms via the creation of “dwarf stacks.”

Seeing as there are plenty of dwarves along for the ride in The Hobbit, it’s quite fitting that its video game counterpart has its own forging system to create fantastic new gear and goods. Younger players needn’t worry about the complexity of the forging system, as it equates to little more than smashing everything made of LEGO in sight, collecting the components that pop out, and completing a quick-time event at an anvil. Mini-figures armed with a mining pick are also able to smash ore deposits to collect precious metals, which can also be used in crafting recipes.

I’m still waiting for the day I can play these enjoyable LEGO titles with fellow gamers online, but I totally understand why this family-friendly release remains offline and away from possible predators. That being said, the free-to-play LEGO Mini-figures Online game is scheduled to be released this summer; let’s see if the TT Games titles evolves after that.

LEGO The Hobbit The Video Game is a fun romp for fantasy adventure fans, but there is little in the way of innovation besides minor gameplay additions that sets this one apart from other LEGO games. Tolkien enthusiasts will love exploring Middle-earth and listening to familiar voices via audio from the films, and younglings will love venturing through the rich environments and enjoying the playful humor that LEGO games are known for. Even if you’re only remotely interested in the exploits of Bilbo Baggins and his crew, this is an unexpected journey you’ll not regret going there and back again for.

LEGO The Hobbit The Video Game is now available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii U (4/22/14), Nintendo 3DS, and Steam.

LEGO The Hobbit Launch Trailer