For decades now, Lego has enjoyed an easy association with creativity and play. And while Lego video games haven't always allowed for boundless invention, they have maintained that playful, quirky quality.
Tie-ins like with The Lord of the Rings and Batman, for instance, re-imagined beloved swashbuckling adventures as slapstick spectacles. Lego City Undercover, meanwhile, delivered an openworld game crossed with a cop show spoof.
But while Lego City Fire Hose Frenzy looks the part, it's missing that trademark warmth, humour, and personality. As such, this instalment in the franchise hopes to rely on gameplay hooks rather than blocky charm.
Placing you in the boots of a firefighter, Lego City Fire Hose Frenzy has you dousing infernos across 18 Lego City levels. Initially, you only need to worry about adjusting the angle of your hose, tilting it higher or lower to give those pesky flames a good soaking.
Efficient extinguishing is the name of the game here, and there are three stars on offer in each level for fast firefighting. But, even though time is of the essence, any tension or satisfaction is undermined by the overly simplistic mechanics.
A few levels in, you're handed limited control of your character's movement, too, but the game is still seriously lacking in depth. Each encounter consists of little more than pointing your hose at a fire until it's completely quenched, then retraining your aim on another blaze.
Rinse and repeat until the stage is clear.
The occasional helicopter levels - in which you tackle larger blazes from the city's skies - are even simpler. You just steer from right to left, dousing flames as you go. Providing you don't relax to the point that your handset falls out of your grasp, you're all but guaranteed a three-star rating on these stages.
That said, although Lego City Fire Hose Frenzy is overly simplistic, it's otherwise inoffensive. The strikingly tactile visuals are a highlight, actually, although it's a shame that the ever-charming character models don't actually do very much.
A couple of simple interactions between Lego City's blocky public servants could have gone a long way towards giving the game some personality. As it is, however, Lego City Fire Hose Frenzy is a disappointingly lukewarm affair.