There was a moment while playing LEGO Dimensions with my daughter when I knew it was clearly the toy & game for us.
To be fair, it was always likely to be a winner – what with it being LEGO the toy (big fans) combined with LEGO the video game series (big fans).
But the moment it truly spoke to us was early on in the game. LEGO Batman – along with Gandalf and Wyldstyle – ended up in a LEGO version of Oz from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Batman utters “We’re not in Gotham anymore”, bemoans the gaudy colours, is annoyed at the ‘singing’ he hears, and then confronts Dorothy and her friends. He particularly freaks out at the Scarecrow – mistaking him for the nightmare inducing Gotham villain of the same name, and accusing him of creating this clearly psychotic vision. Batman then heads down the yellow brick road and battles the Wicked Witch.
It was amazing. It was as if the creators knew exactly what my daughter liked – LEGO, Batman, everything Wizard of Oz (but especially the 1939 movie), and a silly sense of humour.
So there you have it. The TL;DR of this review is “We love LEGO Dimensions”.
But, if you’re still reading, I’ll continue.
With the likes of Skylanders popularising the ‘toy + video game’ genre, if was only a matter of time before LEGO got in on the act, seeing as the brand already has an established video game line in association with TT Games.
The plot of the story mode involves various characters being kidnapped from their existing ‘Dimensions’, and the characters of Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle travelling through numerous other worlds to sort things out.
These other worlds are all different brands and franchises that have been licensed to be part of the game – they obviously include LEGO DC, Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz, and the LEGO movie. But also represented are brands as eclectic as Back to the Future, the Portal video game, and The Simpsons. This toy/game is a mashup lovers dream.
Basically, special LEGO Dimensions minifigures are coded (via their special platforms) to transport a virtual version of themselves into the game, and also unlock further access to explore the character’s specific worlds within the game.
This LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack includes the videogame, the LEGO Gateway plus Toy Pad (how you transport special LEGO minifigures and models into the game), Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle minifigures – and a mini LEGO Batmobile.
In our PS3 version, the Toy Pad plugged into a spare USB port. You construct the LEGO Gateway around it when prompted in the game.
These levels are all accessible during the story mode of the main game. But to explore them more fully, in free play mode, you will need to purchase additional packs.
These usually unlock a level, character, and a vehicle or device. Some even open up new levels too. For instance, to explore Oz (and Kansas) you will have to buy the Wicked Witch pack (which we of course did!).
This is of course how they get you. The game in this starter pack is great, and you can do lots – but as you progress, you can already see there is far more to unlock, if only you had those additional figures.
So be warned – undertaking this game can be expensive. However, at least it’s LEGO – and all the minifigures are of course compatible with old fashioned LEGO building and playing.
Although you know it’s all smoke & mirrors – there is a real thrill seeing your minifigure or vehicle transport into the digital realm via the Toy Pad. The physical/digital interplay is not only aesthetic. Moving figures around the pad often plays a crucial part in completing boss levels especially.
Are we hooked? Yes we are. Whether you fancy linear gameplay, open world adventures, or simply exploring these differing environments, LEGO Dimensions is a game that is keeping us very entertained.
LEGO Dimensions is available for PlayStation, Xbox , and Wii U, with an RRP of £89.99.
Disclaimer: We were provided with the LEGO Dimensions starter pack and various expansion packs free of charge for the purposes of this review – except for Wonder Woman and the Wicked Witch, which we just had to purchase after playing with this game!