Traveller’s Tales/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also Available on: PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360
The toys-to-life industry has grown crazy fast in the past few years with Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Nintendo’s Amiibo line and now LEGO, who hopped on the bandwagon with their own version, LEGO Dimensions. It’s unique because LEGO has 14 different licenses and worlds to explore—from Portal to The Simpsons. This leads to combinations like Batman driving the Delorean, or Homer Simpson fighting GLaDOS that are fun to watch. It’s full of snappy dialogue, puzzles and fabulous cameos from all across the universes.
Every toys-to-life game involves some kind of NFC portal to bring your characters to the screen. Lego Dimensions is a little unusual—instead of it being a passive part of the game, you use it to solve puzzles all throughout the game. You also build the thing yourself out of LEGOs and slowly add to it throughout the game. It’s a great way to distinguish itself from the rest of the crowd, but the fact that you need to shift characters around in the middle of the action is a little annoying. It works well with the puzzle aspect, but when you’re fighting the boss and you have to physically move little LEGO people around, it’s a pain in the ass. You can have up to seven characters or vehicles on the portal at once, but it’s not feasible with how much maneuvering you end up having to do.
Lego Dimensions’ main characters—Batman from DC (not LEGO Movie, it’s an important distinction), Gandalf and Wildstyle—are pulled from their respective universes—after the Batmans have a slap fight, naturally—and land in a random world called Vorton. This is where you access the main story as well as visit the other worlds—three come with the game (DC, Lord of the Rings, LEGO Movie) the others you can purchase with other figures and level packs. There’s plenty to do with just the starter set, but some of your favorite levels are going to be locked up until you can afford the key. Don’t worry, each universe is played out in the main story—they feel like previews of the awesomeness you can have if you give LEGO more money.
For the first part of the campaign, you’re collecting keystones to add to your portals abilities—one conjures colored portals, one brings up paints (dumbest mechanic), another gives you elemental abilities depending on where you are on the portal, the next one changes your character’s size and the last one helps you find random portals to bring in things from other universes to help you out for a brief period. Once you have all of the keystones, you begin collecting foundation elements—the best being the coveted cake from Portal. It’s a pretty basic story, but playing through the levels of the licenses you love is enough fun that you don’t notice.
With the exception of the toy portal, everything else in Lego Dimensions just like your run of the mill LEGO game. You break ALL of the things, collect all of the shiny coins and solve relatively easy puzzles for a few hours. The dialogue and the fun inside jokes that play out in their respective universes brought a smile to my face. Our heroes going into Aperature Science, hoping it was a futuristic bakery is just my favorite thing ever. The graphics are great for a LEGO game, and all of the worlds were a joy to explore. It’s a hefty price tag for just the starter set, and with the extras being so expensive, it’s hard to justify—but the universes you love are treated with such care that it’s just as hard to say no.