Lego Dimensions Review
LEGO is a powerhouse in the toys marketplace, and for good reason. LEGO is not your average toy. It can be manipulated into anything the creator wants. Parts can be mixed and matched, characters that have no place being in the same realm all of a sudden coexist. It is the creative options that makes the toy so admired by children and adults a like. It really shouldn’t be any surprise that LEGO, Travelers Tales, and Warner Bros. teamed up to release their own toys-to-life game into a genre that is possibly over crowded already. So how does LEGO Dimensions compare with long time franchises like Disney Infinity and Skylanders? At Games Reviews, we feel it doesn’t look out of place at all, and perhaps has made an early climb to be the best toys-to-life game available in 2015.
But it costs so much!
I feel like this is something we need to get out of the way right away. LEGO Dimensions is expensive. It is more expensive than Skylanders and more expensive than Disney Infinity. Consumers really need to decide whether LEGO Dimensions is really something they want, or just a novelty idea they want to tinker with. In Canada, the starter set retails for 109.99, a drastic increase over Infinity and Skylanders that come in at a modest 69.99-79.99. However, all things considered, the cost is understandable. You are getting an interactive Toy Pad, an equal amount of game play to the competitors, and a 300ish piece LEGO set. On average, a single block of LEGO is considered market price around 0.10 – 0.11 cents per piece (conservative estimate), placing a 300 piece LEGO set around the 29.99 range. So while the game is much more expensive than its competitors, the price really is fair market value.
When comparing add-ons for the game, I equate LEGO Dimensions with Disney Infinity, both of which are much better than Skylanders. For 29.99, consumers can buy a Level Pack which includes 1 character, two items, and a 2-4 hour adventure in the world of the character you have chosen. For example, for the purpose of this review, I bought the Simpsons Level Pack which included Homer Simpson, the Simpson family car, and the television (more on this in a later article). For 24.99, consumers can buy a Team pack which comes with two figures and two vehicles. Finally, there is the fun pack which includes one character and one item for the reasonable cost of 14.99. Every character from a specific Dimension will unlock that world to play in once he is placed on the toy pad. Only characters in Level Packs come with their own adventure.
Bang for your Buck
So what does come included with your price of entry? The 300ish piece LEGO set includes all the pieces you need to construct a very cool portal, the batmobile, and three characters: Gandalf, Batman, and Wlydstyle. The actual toy pad is powered by a single USB cord, and will light up in accordance with what is going on within the game. On the disc, players will find a 10-15 hour story mode – longer for completionists – as well as open worlds for the LEGO Movie, Lord of the Rings, and DC Universe. The amount of time you spend in the open worlds will depend on your interest in the subject matter, and how many additional characters you own.
The story line is pretty straight forward. A new villainous LEGO minifig is bent on merging all the universes into one universe, under his control. It is up to our trio of heroes – and any others that might join the fight along the way – to battle through various Dimensions collecting what has been stolen and returning the world to normality. It is not a great story, but it works. The writing, however, is incredible.
As you can imagine, when characters from various worlds are all dropped into the same world together, there is bound to be some confusion. The opening sequence to the game should highlight that for you. When, for example, Batman begins inhabiting the world of Lord of the Rings – specifically Moria – Gandalf and himself engage in very humor dialogue that will make almost anyone chuckle at least once or twice. This type of writing continues throughout the game. The developers have also made sure to make everything work together. I played through the whole story once with just the trio of characters I received in my starter pack. On my second play through, I brought in many characters to see what would happen.
In the second level, players are dropped into the world of the Simpsons. As part of the story, Lord Business – who is recruited by Lord Vortech – captures Homer Simpson in the Springfield Nuclear Power plant before attack our heroes. I was attempting to save NPC Homer Simpson while also playing as my own Homer Simpson. During cut scenes, when Lord Business was surveying the heroes, my own Homer Simpson was all decked out in disguises, obviously to avoid detection. Little bits of writing and animation like this really show how much care and dedication Travelers Tales put into this game.
Playing with the Toys
Unlike Disney Infinity and Skylanders, where toys are stationary, LEGO Dimensions toys are, well, LEGO. They can be played with and manipulated. I’ve already seen a number of very impressive custom bases that people are building for their portals. But Travelers Tales didn’t stop at being able to just play with the LEGO. The Toy Pad is also very interactive, and comes into play many times when attempting to complete puzzles. This is both a positive and a negative, especially for Wii U owners.
Throughout the game, certain characters will have to be placed on a certain part of the Toy Pad to complete a puzzle. Sometimes, moving characters quickly is required to avoid being attacked. A good example of this movement is Wlydstyle, who will often need to be quickly placed on all three portions of the Toy Pad in order to assemble 3 stacks of parts. Another common puzzle mechanism early on is opening up different coloured portals – yellow, purple, and blue – through which your characters will warp through if placed on the appropriate panel. The Toy Pad can also interact with cars and items; Homer Simpson’s TV for example will enter the world when placed on the Toy Pad, and will detonate silver blocks when removed. It’s interesting and generally works well.
On Wii U, it often feels as a determinate to the average Wii U experience. Part of the reason why I love my Wii U is the ability to play off the TV on my Gamepad. LEGO Dimensions does allow you to do this, but still requires you to have the Toy Pad near by. I almost exclusively play my Wii U in bed; with so much Toy Pad interaction, this is nearly impossible as certain levels began requiring me to get up every minute or two to manipulate the characters.
If you are a fan of LEGO, you are going to have a hard time resisting this title. It is packed with exciting game play, interesting puzzles, and yes, so many collectibles. The ability to mix and match characters and worlds is something other toys-to-life franchises are rarely doing , and LEGO does it so well. The writing and animations are always aware of who is in what world, which shows the amount of care and love that went into this. No corners were cut. When you attach the name LEGO to a product, chances are you are in for something special. LEGO Dimensions really is something special. It is just unfortunate that to really experience everything, you will be spending a LOT of money.