The gameplay of LEGO Indiana Jones is very similar to LEGO Star Wars. Each stage is mostly linear and consists of several areas, with some occasionally separated by cutscenes. You must fight, build, and solve puzzles to reach the end of the stage, upon which you complete the level and advance the story. At any time, a second player can join in for cooperative play. Each player has their own stud counter and it is possible to attack, and kill, each other.
Story Mode and Free Play
When playing on any level for the first time, only Story Mode will be available to you. As its name suggests, this mode loosely follows the story of the films, with silent, mimed cutscenes depicting scenes from the Indiana Jones movies. The characters you can use are restricted and may change between levels due to the plot. Many artifacts and parcels are deliberately unobtainable during Story Mode, forcing you to replay each level at least twice for total completion.
Free Play is unlocked upon completing a level in Story Mode once. Before starting the level, you're allowed to choose from the full roster of characters you've unlocked so far that you will use to play through the level. Each player can only select one character, after which a party of around 8-9 characters are automatically chosen as well. The main purpose of Free Play is to let you replay levels with new abilities, giving you the chance to collect any artifacts you've missed and explore previously inaccessible areas. The automatic character selection is configured in such a way that you'll usually get all the abilities you need to completely clear a level.
Studs and True Adventurer
The main and most numerous collectable in the game are studs. Studs are round LEGO bits that you can find scattered on the ground or from destroying objects. They are the form of currency in this game, used for purchasing characters from the Library and unlocking Extras. These unlockables aren't cheap, so you should always try to collect as many studs as you can. Although you can die an infinite number of times in this game, the form of punishment for dying is that you'll lose 2000 studs every time you die, so be extra careful if you're saving up for something! The stud values are as follows:
- Silver stud - 10 studs
- Gold stud - 100 studs
- Blue stud - 1,000 studs
- Purple stud - 10,000 studs
Collecting studs also contribute toward a True Adventurer meter whenever you're in a level. Each level has a specific stud quota, and once you reach that stud amount, you'll gain True Adventurer status. Getting True Adventurer status rewards you with even more studs, but more importantly, it is required for 100% completion of the game.
Artifacts and Parcels
While your goal is simply to reach the end of each level, your secondary objective is always to collect all the artifacts and parcels in every stage. There are 10 artifacts in each level which can be collected just by touching them. Only one parcel can be found in each stage, and you must carry the parcel and place it into a mailbox to collect it, but these parcels unlock Extra for you to purchase back at the level hub. Collecting every artifact and parcel is a requirement for total completion, so keep an eye out for them whenever you can.
There's no need to worry if you can't find every artifact and parcel when playing through Story Mode, since you aren't meant to do so in the first place. Instead, you must play through the level again in Free Play with different characters such as a Bazooka Trooper to be able to access artifacts you couldn't collect in Story Mode.