A thrilling new “Toys to Life” game
Just when I thought we’ve seen it all with the toys to life video game genre, along comes LEGO Dimensions and rewrites the rules. In short order, LEGO Dimensions differentiates itself with fresh, fun new ways to interact with toys, and a hilarious, multidimensional crossover tale that will go beyond your wildest dreams.
Trouble in the LEGO Multiverse
The beginning of LEGO Dimensions appropriately sets the stage for this epic adventure across time and space. In it, we visit the LEGO worlds of Batman, Gandalf, and WyldStyle, who each watch as one of their closest friends (Robin, Frodo, and Metalbeard, respectively) are sucked into a mysterious and powerful vortex. Being the dutiful heroes they are, Batman et al. throw caution to the wind and bravely follow their friends through the vortices, not knowing where they lead.
Little do they know, on an ancient planet at the centre of the LEGO Multiverse, a grand scheme is unfolding at the hands of the evil Lord Vortech. Speaking to his robot companion, he diabolically reveals a forgotten LEGO secret: scattered around the many LEGO universes are powerful “Foundational Elements,” and it is said that whoever controls the elements, controls all of LEGO civilization. Hellbent on becoming the supreme ruler of the LEGO Multiverse, Vortech recruits villains from a variety of LEGO universes to help him search and retrieve these building blocks of LEGO life.
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: September 27, 2015
Genre: Toys to Life, Action-adventure
Modes: Single-player, Two player Co-operative
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and over)
The Starter Pack
Like the “toys to life” franchises Disney Infinity and Skylanders, your first step to jumping into LEGO Dimensions is picking up the Starter Pack. Inside the box you’ll find:
- LEGO Dimensions videogame
- LEGO Toy Pad
- Bricks to build the LEGO Gateway
- 3 LEGO minifigures (Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle)
- LEGO Batmobile vehicle
The LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack contents are the same on every available platform (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U), so no matter which version you choose, you guaranteed to have the full experience.
Once you open up the package, get ready to be delighted, as here are some of the exciting items you’ll find!
Constructing characters and gateway
Beginning LEGO Dimensions is a total blast. Not only do you have to build the three characters (Batman, Gandalf, WyldStyle) using LEGO pieces, but after completing the first level you need to construct the circular LEGO Gateway you see in the photo to the right—plus the Batmobile! All together, it’s 269 pieces that need to be assembled, and my wife and I worked together to complete the building in about twenty minutes.
What’s really neat too is over the course of the game you have remove some LEGO blocks from the Gateway to build new creations, adding even more fun to the interactivity. Furthermore, during the game you collect “LEGO studs” that can be used to upgrade your Batmobile to a new model (like the Batblaster), and doing so requires you to disassemble your car and rebuild it with a new blueprint design. Interacting with the toys in real life was really a lot of fun; definitely one of the best aspects of this game!
So many of your favourite franchises
The story campaign for LEGO Dimensions might just be the best ever in the series. Your journey will take you to LEGO-ized versions of fourteen iconic worlds including Back to the Future, Doctor Who, The Simpson, Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, Portal 2, and The Wizard of Oz. In these universes you’ll meet the usual suspects like Homer Simpson, Doc Brown, and the Wicked Witch of the West, but there are many other surprises in store. As you’ll soon find out, Lord Vortech’s dimensional tinkering has weakened the barriers between worlds, causing them to intersect and characters to be displaced. Without spoiling these crossover moments, let me just say that most of them come out of left field and are downright hilarious.
What I also really enjoyed is how each level feels like it was taken straight from its respective world. The Simpsons stage, for example, places a colourful cartoon filter over the graphics, and many objects are round and smooth just like they are in the TV show. By contrast, the Portal 2 level presents you with increasingly challenging sci-fi-esque “test chambers” with GLaDOS offering up her usual assortment of pernicious advice. With such stark contrasts between each level, the entire campaign is refreshing and exciting to play through.
Solve puzzles on the LEGO Toy Pad
A very unique aspect of LEGO Dimensions is how you are required to solve puzzles using the included LEGO Toy Pad. This rectangular peripheral plugs into your game console via USB and contains seven spots to place your LEGO characters: 3 on the left, 3 on the right, and 1 spot in the centre. The pad also contains LED lights that can flash or change colour depending on what is happening in your game.
So what do I mean by solving puzzles on the Toy Pad? Well, in the game there are five main types of “Keystones” you can activate to help you work out puzzles, all of which require you to use the pad. Here are the different Keystones and how they work:
- Shift Keystone – Activing this keystone creates three different coloured warp spots (yellow, magenta, and cyan), and by placing your character on a colour panel of the Toy Pad they “shift” to that spot in-game.
- Chroma Keystone – By moving your characters around the Toy Pad, you can colour panels Red, Yellow, or Blue.
- Elemental Keystone – Your Toy Pad will illuminate with different colours that imbue your characters with elemental powers (e.g. Red = fire, Green = earth, Yellow = electricity, Blue = water).
- Scale Keystone – Placing your character on an orange panel with make them shrink, while the green panel will make them grow large in size.
- Locate Keystone – You’re required to find a hidden vortex and is played like a game of “Hide the Object.” As your character in-game moves closer to the hidden vortex, the Toy Pad LEDs will turn green, and when you move further away the Toy Pad glows red.
Using the Toy Pad to solve these kinds of puzzles is immensely fun, I must say. It’s just another amazing way in which LEGO Dimensions merges the real-world with the game world for a truly magical and immersive experience. The only caveat I have is this: make sure you have the Toy Pad within arm’s reach of you the whole time you’re playing as need to use it very often!
The Adventure Continues
As you probably expect, as a toys to life game LEGO Dimensions offers plenty of expansion packs to keep you hooked in long as you’ve completed to campaign. At launch, there are several Level Packs available, including Back to the Future, Portal 2, and The Simpsons, which give you a whole new mission-based level to explore. You can also pick up Team Packs that includes two minifigure characters and a vehicle or gadget for each, and Fun Packs that will give you one minifigure and a vehicle or gadget, each with their own unique abilities in-game. There are all kinds of characters and teams to choose from, including the Scooby-Doo Team, Joker and Harley Quinn, Bart Simpson, Cragger, and many more. While I haven’t had a chance to try out these expansion characters yet, I definitely plan on picking up some soon!
There’s no better way to put it―LEGO Dimensions is awesome. I had a so much fun visiting each iconic world, and watching as LEGO characters from many universes interact, usually with hilarious results. It’s so impressive how the graphics adapt to each world (for instance, the visuals turns cartoony for The Simpsons), making each level feel fresh and distinct. Physically building the LEGO minifig characters, vehicles, and Gateway is also extremely fun; it might just be the best part. When you add in Level Packs, Team Packs, and Fun Packs to further expand your adventures, this is a game you won’t be putting down for a very long time. Of all the toys to life games to release this year, LEGO Dimensions is my favourite, and that’s saying a lot.
+ So many beloved universes all in one game
+ An absolutely hilarious story
+ Graphics are the best in the series
+ Tighter, more responsive gameplay
+ Clever puzzles using the LEGO Toy Pad
+ Many ways to expand the game
– Need to keep Toy Pad within arm’s reach, can get tiring to use
– Still a few technical glitches
– A few puzzles are not intuitive
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5
Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)
By Paul Hunter, Editor Gaming
I work out of Toronto, Ontario as the Editor of Gaming here on the Plug-in Blog and as Editor-in-Chief of NextGen Player. I am thankful for having a loving and patient wife who doesn’t mind my 40 hour a week obsession with gaming. You can follow me on Twitter @NextGenPlayer