Earlier this week Google launched Build With Chrome
, a WebGL app that replicates the experience of playing with LEGO bricks.
The app is the product of a long-running collaboration between the LEGO Group and Google that appears to have started shortly before Google Australia launched Build
, an experimental version of Build With Chrome
that had a limited test run in Australia and New Zealand.
The premise is simple: pick your bricks and lay them down in a 3D isometric view reminiscent of the Build mode in The Sims
. Every player can publish their builds and share them with friends via either a web link or a Google+ link, though every build is subject to review by The LEGO Group to make sure it's acceptable for public viewing.
The app ties into Google Maps, too -- you can click anywhere on the globe to check out LEGO builds from other players, and your builds are tied to wherever Google thinks you are. Both coasts of North America are currently brimming with builds, but we also found players building things in regions of Russia, Africa, Japan, and more.
There's also the Build Academy, a series of challenges that are ostensibly designed to help you better understand the business of building things with LEGO. The academy features characters from the LEGO movie that is expected to release later this year, which may have something to do with Google's decision to launch this project now.
The WebGL app is built to run in Chrome on desktop or mobile devices, though in practice we found it ran much more smoothly on a laptop than an iPhone 4S.
Of course, this isn't the first time Google has brought a high-quality interactive experience to Chrome -- back in 2011, Supergiant Games' indie hit Bastion
was one of the first games to utilize the Chrome native client to launch in a web browser.