Dylan and Xander have both been getting more and more into LEGO lately and I’ve looking forward to them getting into video games too (I know, I should be careful what I wish for) so I was absolutely delighted to be offered a brand new LEGO Dimensions set for review. This ‘toys-to-life’ format game brings together a small army of characters from different films, TV series and LEGO sub-brands to create an adventure game that promises to keep kids – okay, and their parents too – entertained for hours on end.
It’s a natural progression for the brand; children have long been able to make up their own mash-up stories with characters who would never otherwise encounter one another. The existence of The LEGO Movie and the rise of toys-to-life gaming meant that it was only a matter of time before it became available.
From what I’ve seen so far, its developers have seized the opportunity with both hands. It goes way beyond the novelty factor of a crossover episode of two of your favourite TV shows and all the proverbial stops have been pulled out. The interaction between the chalk-and-cheese characters is brilliantly funny – no mean feat given the vast array of them that there are.
The starter pack includes the video game, a toy pad, the pieces to build the gateway that forms the nucleus of the game and three characters, namely Batman, Gandalf and Wildstyle from The LEGO Movie. The pieces for the Batmobile are also included. To get started, you need to construct the three characters and the gateway which attaches to the toy pad. You can then add characters from other packs.
Speaking of the characters, it’s also a nice way of introducing children to some they may not know yet but will love when they’re a little older. For example, there are representatives from Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and The Wizard of Oz.
Upon placing a new character on the toy pad, you’ll be offered the chance to build the vehicles or objects that come with them. The instructions appear on the screen, rather than in the box, a smart move as it encourages children not to mix it up with their other LEGO! I’m not being a Kragle-wielding bad guy here; the reason you don’t want them to do this is because the vehicles can be rebuilt. For example, the Batmobile can be converted into The Batblaster and Sonic Batray.
Going back to the characters, vehicles and objects, you can add them in and out during gameplay and quickly switch between them. They all have different abilities to help overcome the various challenges you meet along the way. For example, Wildstlye can jump and grab levers, Scooby-Doo can dig and Owen from Jurassic World can track hidden objects.
As well as the main storyline, you can also explore the different worlds of all the brands involved in LEGO Dimensions – these include Springfield, Middle Earth and a DC Comics World. These are unlocked by expansion packs and the beauty part is that you can use any character in them. Only yesterday, I was tearing around Hill Valley in the Batmobile as Homer Simpson. Marvellous!
It’s all fantastically inventive and we’ve really enjoyed playing it so far. It has to be a candidate for the coveted honour of top-selling toy for that little festival we celebrate at the end of the year and I’ll definitely be adding a couple of expansion packs to my wishlist in case the kids ask for other things!
LEGO Dimensions is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 with the Starter Pack varying from £73 to £85 depending on platform. Level, Team and Fun Packs are sold separately.