LEGO Dimensions (PS4) Review

Richard Walker

I flippin' love LEGO. There's nothing more satisfying than clicking together the thousands of pieces to assemble a Millennium Falcon or Tumbler from the Batman movies before standing back to admire your handiwork. Of course, as a kid I'd have also played with the fruits of my labour rather than just look at them gathering dust on a shelf, and LEGO Dimensions brilliantly taps into that. The playing bit, not the gathering dust. Yes, it's really expensive, but we'll be damned if it isn't utterly irresistible too. It's really pricey, but also very nicey.

LEGO Dimensions' real genius is not only in bringing LEGO minifigures, vehicles and gadgets out of the game and into the living room alongside all the other LEGO stuff you may or may not already own, but also in the way that TT Games has married the toy pad portal plugged into your console to the gameplay, with various puzzles and interactions. You can't merely sit back and passively play LEGO Dimensions; you'll have to keep moving characters from section to section on the toy pad. It promotes a sense of play with LEGO fantastically well.


"Roiks! It's a raptor!"

While the sum total of Skylanders and Disney Infinity's respective peripherals involve plonking the characters on it and seeing them magically appear in the game, LEGO Dimensions demands that you move certain characters between its three sectors to solve a number of simple conundrums involving in-game portals, colours, hidden rifts or shrinking and giant-sizing your characters to navigate mazes and switches. It all makes for a delightfully playful experience outside of the game as well as within it.

It's a fantastic idea, beautifully implemented, but it's not without its problems, first and foremost among these being the slightly grubby way in which the game is set up so that you require separately sold characters in order to access certain areas. I understand that some of these off-limits areas aren't essential, awarding only minikits, gold bricks or hundreds of those ubiquitous LEGO studs, but a kid playing the game might not be quite so accepting. Cue the pester power! Parents could be in for a rough ride once Dimensions gets its hooks in.

So it goes without saying that LEGO Dimensions ain't cheap, but what TT Games has created is by far one of its most exciting LEGO titles to date, mashing up fourteen different brands to great effect. Anyone who's played a LEGO game before will know exactly what to expect, with copious amounts of studs to collect that can be spent on upgrading vehicles and gadgets, like the Batmobile bundled with the game's Starter Pack, or on Red Brick extras.

While the gameplay is comfortably familiar, being able to transport any of the dozens of characters to any of LEGO Dimensions' hub worlds and levels is hugely appealing. Seeing Batman enter The Lord of the Rings universe during the game's opening immediately lays out the kind of fun that ensues, as worlds collide in the most gleeful manner imaginable. And the more minifigures and other packs you own, the more fun there is to be had, even if it will cost you a small fortune to buy the lot.

This really is LEGO Dimensions' biggest problem. While it's entirely possible to complete the entire game with the Starter Pack's Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle minifigures and Batmobile, to access everything on offer you'll need at least one minifigure from each of the fourteen brands in the game. Each has its own hub world to explore, but you can't get into it without one of the requisite characters. Abilities that you'll have taken for granted in previous LEGO games like being able to blow up silver bricks or blast gold bricks with heat attacks are now attached to characters sold separately too, which seems a bit icky.

None of this hampers progress, but the series' spirit of exploration and emphasis on replaying levels is severely dampened unless you shell out for add-on packs. And when a Fun Pack with a single minifigure and gadget will set you back $15/£15 and Team or Level Packs cost around $30/£30, you could conceivably drop hundreds in cold-hard cash to see everything in LEGO Dimensions. The worst part is finding a part of the game where you require something that's not even available yet. I spent a good 15 minutes or so solving a puzzle late in the game, only to discover that the solution gave me rainbow bricks that only Unikitty (not out until wave 2 hits in November) can assemble. Infuriating, and not an isolated incident either. This crops up multiple times.


Behold Lord Vortech, voiced by a manic Gary Oldman.

That said, even with just the three minifigures and single vehicle included in the box, LEGO Dimensions is massive. You'll find yourself hard-pushed to baulk at the wealth of content included in LEGO Dimensions, even if the initial outlay for the Starter Pack might seem a bit much. There's a good 15 or so hours of story and with three characters, you also get three hub worlds to delve into, and you can build the Batmobile in three different guises with varying abilities to match. As 'toys to life' games go, LEGO Dimensions is pretty substantial, even if the price tag might seem a little hard to swallow.

If you're concerned that you'll have to buy add-ons to net the full complement of trophies or the Platinum in LEGO Dimensions, worry not. The usual objectives of collecting everything in every level is no longer a requirement, so you need only gather 30 minikits and 30 gold bricks, which is easily done with the three characters you get in the box. Other trophies are attached to story progression or completing quests and renovations in hub worlds. A list with a good spread, LEGO Dimensions' trophies are remarkably easy and won't take very long at all.

At face value, LEGO Dimensions is quite possibly TT Games' best entry in its prolific LEGO series thus far, but the high price of entry and the locking off of certain elements that require forking out for extra Fun, Team or Level Packs could prove off-putting for some. Its value for money might be questionable, but there's no questioning the amount of fun and enjoyment you'll get out of the mash-up of iconic characters, with the toy pad and the physical LEGO components doing so much more than its toys to life rivals. LEGO Dimensions is quite simply a work of genius.

 

Iconic movie scores and sound effects will give you goosebumps, while the original music is superb. It's just a shame that The Simpsons theme tune isn't in there, but it's the only glaring omission from the soundtrack. The huge celebrity voice cast is exemplary too.

Standard LEGO fare. TT Games' has this schtick down pat now, so the blocks are shiny and it all looks perfectly lovely. As ever, its charming as hell too, positively brimming with personality.

If you've played a LEGO game, you'll know the score here. Punch stuff, collect studs, jump a bit, build things. Factor in the toy pad puzzles though and it all feels fresh once more. TT Games has done it again somehow.

A hefty story that gleefully romps from universe to universe, LEGO Dimensions isn't short on content. Factor in an upgradeable vehicle and access to three hub worlds, and you get a fair amount of stuff to see and do.

An incredibly easy trophy list that's not particularly demanding, there's a good spread here and a few decent tasks to undertake. You won't have to spend an arm and a leg buying extra packs either unless you want additional trophies, so fear not.

A game in which Batman rubs shoulders with the Stay Puft marshmallow man, where Gandalf solves puzzles at Aperture Sciences and Wyldstyle punches orcs, LEGO Dimensions is a smile-inducing mash-up that revels in everything that makes LEGO such a joy.

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