Lego Dimensions Impressions from GamesCom 2015

You might wonder what I am doing here, talking about a Lego game. Not exactly part of the core gaming we usually cover, right?
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Well, one of the reasons I spent precious GamesCom time with this game is that my 6 year old son and I have been playing Lego games for years now, so I wanted to check out the latest entry in the franchise. The other strong reason is that Lego Dimensions is not just any Lego game.

Someone in Lego saw how games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity were doing great and thought to themselves: “Hmmm, we’ve got toys loved by billions of people around the world, a successful video games series and licenses to some of the world’s most famous franchises. What would happen if we mixed those together?” So they did, and that’s how Lego Dimensions happened.

For $99.95 you will get the starter pack containing the game, the toypad peripheral and four Lego Dimensions figurines: Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle (from the Lego Movie) and the Batmobile. You will have to assemble the portal and the figurines, just like you would any other Lego toy. The portal is connected to your console and you place the figurines on top of the portal when you want to summon a character into the game. It is also used to solve in-game puzzles and has three interactive zones where you can place up to 7 figurines. You will be able to purchase additional expansion packs containing characters and vehicles from 14 different famous franchises – by doing that, you will also be unlocking new playable worlds in the game (these expansions will be separated into Level Packs, Team Packs and Fun Packs).

That covers the physical part of the game.

The game itself initially looks and plays like any other Lego game, that is, until you encounter the first puzzle that requires you to interact with the toypad and the figurines you have. That is the moment when this whole thing starts to come together. The way it works is when you encounter a puzzle in the game world that requires you to interact with the physical toys, you will get a prompt about the kind of the puzzle it is and where on the toypad you need to place the characters to begin solving it. The whole thing can be seen in the gameplay video we shot at GamesCom (found below this), but the feeling is what got me. You are playing a video game and at the same time, you are playing with your Lego toys! That moment where you have to put down your controller and think about which physical Lego character you want to place where, to help the video game along, is what makes this game unique. I’ve played it several times, experiencing several worlds and mechanics – after about an hour and a half of hands on experience, I still had to stop and think which character to use and how to interact with the toypad and it all still felt fresh and exciting.

Here are just some of the unique things you’ll encounter in Lego Dimensions that you haven’t seen in previous Lego games:

  • You can upgrade your physical vehicles! While playing the game, you will collect golden bricks (like in other Lego games), but they serve a different purpose here. You can spend some of those bricks to upgrade your vehicle both in game and physically! When you spend in-game currency, the game shows you a booklet with instructions on how to re-assemble your level 1 Batmobile, for example, into a level 2 Batmobile. I believe all vehicles will be upgradeable to level 3, which will provide you with a different looking Lego toy and enhanced vehicle inside the game.
  • Each of the Adventure worlds (there are 14 to be had, with 3 coming with the starter pack) has two layers to it. In the Wizard of Oz world, for example, you can fall from The Land of Oz down to Kansas and do various open world activities there, then enter the big hurricane to get back up to Oz.
  • There is a Doctor Who themed expansion pack. If you have the Doctor and Tardis Lego toys, there is a unique thing that happens in the game. If you enter the Tardis as the Doctor, you will be able to interact with the inside of it (it’s bigger on the inside…) and change the Doctor’s appearance to one of the 12 incarnations from the TV show. This also changes the Tardis’ interior to match.
  • The toys you get with Lego Dimensions are proper Lego toys. You can take them off their RFID bases and add them to your Lego collection or exchange them with other toys you already own. This will not affect the game, however, because the RFID base is what determines the character present in the game. Still, it is a cool thing for Lego collectors.

Lego Dimensions is a great new experience for those of you that love Lego games. The merger of playing with the Lego toys and playing a Lego game is very well done – it makes things exciting and fun. I can see that both parents and children will find something fun in playing with it. Whether you like playing with the toys and the kid likes playing the game, or the other way around, it will surely provide you with hours of quality family time.

Author Serge profile picture
Having games be part of his life since Commodore 64 it was only natural that Serge co-founded With every new game he travels from being the Noob to being Gosu. Whether he does coding or editorial work on the website he is still amazed by the fact that gaming is what he does for living.