The Lego Games are a real treat. It’s funny, they are clearly aimed for a younger audience, but as a 26 year old, I find them absolutely irresistible. The gameplay is solid and the humor is nonstop. I love seeing Lego versions of iconic characters from a wide variety of IPs. Lego games usually focus on specific properties. Lego Dimensions takes a different approach and blends multiple IPs and puts them into a unique and wonderful package. So many companies have joined forces to release the “ultimate” Lego game. The end result is exactly that… the ultimate Lego experience.
I never thought I would see Wonder Woman and Scooby Doo take on quests in Springfield before. Neither did I expect Gandalf to cross paths with The Wizard of Oz cast. From Ghostbusters, The Simpsons, to Back to the Future, it’s so cool to see that some of my favorite things from my childhood interact with each other. It feels as if Traveller’s Tales looked into my mind and created all the weird mashups that I had hoped for when I was a kid.
Lego Dimensions follows Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle as they try to stop Lord Vortech who aims to destroy all the Dimensions in the Lego universe. This very simple set up gives the game a reason to feature plenty of these iconic IPs. While the story isn’t deep at all, Lego Dimensions has an entertaining storyline filled with humor, pop-culture references and plenty of smile inducing moments.
What makes Lego Dimensions so different from the rest of the Lego games is the fact that this is Traveller’s Tales first attempt at a Toys-To-Life game. For those who don’t know what a Toys-To-Life game is, it’s a title that uses actual figures that enter the playing field through a portal. When a player puts a figure on a portal, that particular toy then materializes on the screen for a player to use. The catch with games in the genre is that players must buy additional figures in order to access different areas and worlds. People who decided to purchase Lego Dimensions should be prepared to travel to the store multiple times in order to buy new figures.
I told myself that I wouldn’t get sucked into buying more figures, but one week later, I bought a Scooby-Doo pack, a Portal pack, a Simpsons pack, and a Wonder Woman pack. You can complete the game with the three characters that come with Lego Dimensions (Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle), but there are just so many areas that these characters can’t access. It was actually getting quite annoying.
I needed the Wicked Witch of the West in order to destroy silver bricks, but the thing is, I’m not a huge fan of the character. It’s unfortunate because a situation like this meant that I needed to buy a character I wasn’t interested in. This is just a minor problem though and that’s because the game is loads of fun. Where Lego Dimensions shines the most is in the gameplay. The title follows the typical Lego format. Players traverse through levels, solve puzzles, collect studs, and defeat the boss of the level in order to succeed.
All of this is present in Lego Dimensions, but the biggest (and best) gameplay addition comes in the form of the portal that is included in the game. The portal (which took me an hour to build… yes, you NEED to build the portal) is used for many of the puzzles in the game and is even used in various combat instances.
I’ve played a lot of Skylanders in the past. In that game, we can put a figure on the portal and just play through the levels. There is no need to switch out figures unless you feel like entering an elemental specific area. In Lego Dimensions, I found myself needing to sit near the portal because some boss fights (and puzzles) required me to switch my character’s position.
The portal holds up to 7 figures at a time which can be really useful during levels due to specific character abilities. I would recommend playing with only 3 characters during boss battles because of the complexity of the fights. Some bosses can “trap” your figures on a section of the portal. If all 7 spots are taken during these moments, there will be a lot of scrambling to rearrange your figures.
Where the portal really shows it innovations is through various portal puzzles. There are times when placing a figure on a certain part of the portal will make that particular character grow or shrink. That helps reach new areas. Other portal abilities can grant the player various elemental powers in order to pass obstacles.
There are other sections where players need to mix and match paint colors in order to unlock doors. Drenching the character in paint (on screen) and then moving the physical figure to certain area on the portal will make the device actually change colors. There are other sections where the portal can also be used to warp the player to different parts of the level.
Most times, the portals in the Toys-To-Life genre don’t serve a purpose. It’s just there to bring your figures into the game. Lego Dimensions puts the portal front and center in the game. It almost feels like a character at times. I was actually surprised by how much significance the portal had in relation to the gameplay.
In many cases, Lego Dimensions hits the right notes. The interactions between characters from different IPs are fantastic. The end of the Scooby-Doo level is hysterical and nothing beats Batman saying “There’s something strange… in this neighborhood” during the Ghostbusters level. The Portal level feels like the perfect extension to the franchise even though the stage lasts for about 30 minutes.
There are so many things to love and the mashups are handled with care. Though the Ninjago and Legends of Chima levels made me feel out of the loop. I don’t watch these shows so I was lost during their entirety, though I did have fun.
Lego Dimensions kept me coming back for more even after the game ended. With the new characters I purchased, I was able to try some new things upon repeat level attempts. Additionally, buying Chell from Portal and Homer Simpson opened up their Hub worlds. Hub worlds take you into the center of a specific universe.
These portions of the game are an open playground filled with fun, races, renovations and quests that help extend the longevity of the game. There were moments where I spent more time in the Springfield hub world instead of playing through the story mode.
Lego Dimensions is a fun, rewarding and surprisingly awesome experience that actually “ruined” other Lego games for me. I can’t see myself going back to the usual Lego games which focus on one IP. I’ve grown accustomed to this new play style and now I just want more Toys-To-Life games in the Lego universe. There are so many possibilities for potential sequels and Traveller’s Tales is a studio filled with imagination.
I thank them for making all my childhood dreams come true and I believe that Traveller’s Tales made one of the best games of the year. Sure, the price for the game will be huge if you buy all of the figures, but with the amount of fun available, it’s worth it. The nostalgia is so good and it’s a fun game to sit back and play with the family. Kids will love the Lego characters and the cuteness, while the adults will love the humor and gameplay.
Lego Dimensions is a HUGE step forward for the Lego franchise and the Toys-To-Life genre as a whole. I can’t wait to see where the studio will go next. All I know is that whenever the inevitable sequel is released, I will be buying it on launch date. Batman, Wyldstyle and Gandalf meet some of the most iconic characters in cinema history throughout the campaign. I was just happy that I was along for the ride.