To start my review of Lego Dimensions I want to talk about my own consumer miss step from a few years back. The idea of a game that mixed real life interactive objects appealed to me a great deal. At the time I was aware of three options that all use the same format, A base station plugged into a console which detected the presence of additional components such as characters of objects based on NFC chips in the base of the objects. The three options were Skylanders, Lego Dimensions, and Disney Infinity.
As great as Skylanders looked, I ruled this one out first because my daughter wanted to play games with characters she recognised rather than the quirky made up characters in this set.
Lego Dimensions did look good for this, but the Characters which we all really recognised better at the time was The Avengers which were on the Disney Infinity roster. It was noticed as well that the Star Wars brand was also in this lineup, a decision made! It was a bad call however as we hit incompatibility issues preventing our next purchase (Disney Infinity 2.0 had avengers, and 3.0 had Star Wars! The game itself was also fairly poor and dull to play as an adult but very tricky as a child. The figures were great, we got the full Avengers lineup (not exactly cheap, but we did shop around) but were left even more disappointed when it turned out that the game was to be canceled soon after with no more support and development.
We lost interest in this and now we have the charter models adorning a geek shelf in the corner of our living room as the only reminder.
Recently, however, we decided to take another shot at this and researched Lego Dimensions which we decided to buy.
- The Base Game (which comes with Batman, Gandalf, Wildstyle, The Batmobile and on the PlayStation 4 Supergirl).
- Doctor Who level pack (Which comes with the Doctor, the Tardis and K9) – This adds a new adventure world (an open play area for each character set) and a game level called “The Dalek Extermination of Earth”
- DC Comics team pack – This comes with The Joker and Harley Quinn, plus two new vehicles matched to the characters. The Team packs do unlock adventure worlds but don’t add new linear level content.
The Base Game was around £60, the other two hovered around the £17 mark. We found that this game offered a much better experience and My Daughter, my Wife and I all found it to be enjoyable.
As you are playing a Lego game, anyone who has seen previous lego games such as the star wars lineup would recognize the puzzle/platform format. Mixing characters from different mediums such as TV, Comic, Cartoon and Film is made easy I suspect by avoiding any attempt at realism and casting all characters as if they were lego figures, and the overall effects are brilliant.
Between the three of us, we assembled the main pad decoration, the various characters and the vehicles and started the game (this is slightly wrong actually as once you start the game instructions are given on screen for every build other than the characters) and embarked on an adventure.
One of the other observations I instantly compared to Disney infinity was the utility of the base station which as well as hosting up to 7 characters or vehicles at a time in the Lego version, also used the physical toys as part of the game where solving puzzles and evading enemies frequently requires you to move from one segmented part of the pad to another. This adds to the already apparent point that the Pad (and decorative portal) are actualy part of the story in the base game – and by extension the level packs- as a short and funny video describes how characters from various intellectual properties are abducted for a nefarious purpose. I have got as far into this game as seeing Batman (DC), Gandalf (Lord of the Rings), and Wildstyle (The Lego Movie) take a trip hot on the Ruby-Slippered Heels of Dorothy and land on the Yellow Brick road soon to encounter the Wicked Which. I have played a little past this opening point but won’t leave spoilers – rest assured it is funny, enjoyable to play and appeals to all the ages in our household.
Because the Base Game has Batman as a main character, the DC open world adventure is already unlocked so the DC comics pack with Joker and Harley Quinn seems to be the least economical addition but it is worth noting that each character in the game from the dozens of intellectual properties has their own abilities and styles and while playing other charecters we found that it was advantagous to place the Joker on the pad in order to use his ability to charge objects with electricity to charge a puzzle, or Harleys big hammer smash to unlock another area. These touches really make the game even better, as finishing a run of a level won’t necessarily mean you have found and collected every secret or solved every puzzle. Of course this does not mean you have to buy the physical characters. You can hire (for 30 seconds at a time) a Hero you don’t own in order to complete a challenge. This uses an in-game currency that is entirely collected while playing – no micro transactions which is a relief in this day and age. This currency is otherwise used to completed building challenges or upgrade vehicles in the game.
The part we have played for the most time however is the Doctor Who Level pack. We are all Lifetime fans of this show and the characters so this was always at the top of the list. The Puzzle filled story set in the 12th Doctors tenure about the Dalek extermination of earth sets you on a time-hopping adventure across the same two London areas in different time zones before traveling further afield (I’ll stop there to avoid spoilers) and when the game is complete a new feature is unlocked – the Doctor regenerates! Each time the Doctor dies he will cycle (adjustable with settings in the Tardis) to the next incarnation, starting with the change to William Hartnell and including all Doctors up to Capaldi (including John Hurt’s War Doctor). Each character comes with a few sound bites and idle animations but most impressively the Tardis interior changes to match the Doctor being played at the time and this is a genuine pleasure in itself to explore Especially hen you notice the soundtrack has changed to match it.
Overall I would have to say that this game is a huge hit in our house and looking at the reviews before we made our decision this seems to be a popular view. The game has a lot of future potential, and the brand has already confirmed that they will be continuing to release new characters, adventures and puzzles with updates to the original game included – not making you buy the base game over and over. This is brilliant and a step above the competitors.
IF you are looking for a family friendly game to play, which some humor for adults and a lot of nostalgia for the even older children like myself (I am currently eyeing up both the Ghostbusters and Back to the Future packs) then this is the game to buy.