thumb_IMG_1760_1024I’ve played and enjoyed each LEGO game from Telltale (except the Wii-U exclusive City Undercover) starting with LEGO Star Wars and most recently, LEGO Jurassic World.

When I heard about LEGO Dimensions coming up this year, I watched a couple of trailers getting an idea what to expect. Considering that #breaktherules is their slogan, that game supposed to be huge. When I read about level, team and fun packs to be bought in additional waves it felt a bit like a cash printing machine for LEGO instead of a real game.

I’m fairly too much into LEGO to resist in pre-ordering this game, but only the starter pack for now. Furthermore Amazon granted a 15€ pre-order bonus when getting LEGO Jurassic World, so the 100€ starter pack wasn’t too expensive.

thumb_IMG_1761_1024Level packs range from 25€ to 30€ providing additional levels for: The Simpsons, Back to the Future, Portal, Dr. Who (Amazon exclusive available at 5.11.2015), Ghost Busters (available January 2016) and Midway Arcade (March 2016, never heard of that).

Team packs add more figures and vehicles and range at ~25€ each. Fun packs consist of one figure and one vehicle at the price of 15€.

There will be several waves where these packs are released over the next couple of months. According to Warner Bros they will support the game 3 years with updates too.

thumb_IMG_1764_1024Opening the starter pack box unveils the toy bad, the game disc and an additional box containing the bricks for the portal, three characters (Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle) and the bat mobile.

thumb_IMG_1766_1024Before starting the build I did start my PS4 and inserted the game disc. It then immediately started to download a 5 GB (!) update to 1.02 which fairly took over an hour even with VDSL50.

While that download lasted, I did build the three characters, the portal itself and well, then I was stuck – the bat mobile instructions are not available inside the printed build instructions. The reason for that is implicitly explained in-game: You may modify and upgrade vehicles and characters inside the game and it holds additional build instructions.

thumb_IMG_1773_1024The toy pad itself is a simple NFC reader attached to the PS4 via USB (cable is pretty long). While the figure stands are printed and reserved NFC tags for each character, the vehicles must be built and then written to the NFC tag. The game will tell you to do so – at first glance this happens when you’re building the bat mobile after completing the portal build.

The light bulbs are using different colours, sometimes blink for giving hints and the three areas can hold 7 characters or vehicles at the same time. At first it was not that clear how the toy pad would be involved in the game – ok, by putting the bat mobile on it it did appear in-game and could be used.

thumb_IMG_1776_1024When going further with the story you’ll experience 5 different purple keystones with different modes: colour puzzles, special character abilities to clear fire, melt ice, enlighten dark rooms, etc. You need to interact with the toy pad and put your characters on it – be it a defined order, or a specific area. Once you’ve completed the first story mode levels you should’ve learnt how to use them. Cool thing: The game tells you to physically attach each keystone to your portal once each level is finished.

thumb_IMG_1777_1024So far I’ve finished 4 of 5 keystones in the story levels and came across Gotham City, Wizard of Oz, Simpsons, Ninjago and Doctor Who. Still curious what else to see. The story itself has an evil boss, the usual suspects supporting him and you, the brave hero fighting your way against them. The level design and story somehow reminded me of Super Mario World, especially the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz 😉

If you are familiar with LEGO games you certainly want to achieve the 100% level. This is helped by buying the red bricks with collected studs which help detecting mini kits, gold bricks, 2x studs (no more 4,6,8,10 multipliers though) and a quest detector. The other ones are more or less funny additions.

The “nasty” thing about these red bricks – they are hidden in the adventure worlds. In order to access these adventure worlds you’ll need a character of each world. So you’ll end up buying additional level, team and fun packs. Clever, LEGO, very clever. Which in return means you cannot complete LEGO dimensions just by getting the starter pack.

Once you’ve completed the first levels you are allowed to use the lift to move up and access all adventure worlds – and there are quite a few. The main three figures allow you to access the DC Comics, LEGO Movie and The Lord Of the Rings adventure worlds instantly. The rest – well, first the story mode, then buy additional adventure world characters, collect red bricks, finish story mode free play and then work towards the 100%.

Conclusion: Apart from the money it will cost you, it is a definitive must buy. The gameplay is better (not so much different characters in the main story, if you don’t want to) and the toy pad integration really adds a new special feature to just sitting on the couch with the controller. Solve puzzles or just transform your character into the level and play with it. Typically you’ll find plenty of LEGO humour and sarcastic references 🙂 And yet, there’s offline LEGO to build!