Yes, those rumors of Lego building a direct competitor to Minecraft were true: meet Lego Worlds. The sandbox game has launched on Windows through Steam's Early Access program for $17, and promises to do more than just let you sculpt buildings and fight off critters. You can alter the terrain on a large scale, and access ready-made drivable vehicles (including dragons) to get around the procedurally generated landscape. Not too surprisingly, there's also a big tie-in with Lego's real-world plastic bricks. You can play using a handful of old-school and current Lego sets, and more are promised down the road. Don't be surprised if you're eventually buying digital blocks at the same time as their physical counterparts arrive.
This less-than-finished version doesn't have much in the way of sets, and it's missing a few features that Minecraft veterans would take for granted. Multiplayer won't arrive until a future update, for one thing, so you won't be building masterpieces with a friend's help. Still, Worlds is likely the game you were always expecting Lego to make in response to Mojang's smash hit — it's not just an obvious promo piece like those Lego Minecraft kits that shipped a couple of years back. If you've been jonesing for a different take on construction games, you'll probably want to give this a try.