Lego has a different take on how this should work, and Lego Dimensions is a game all about challenging perceptions, taking the fun and creative concept of Lego brick- and story-building — a toy that never gets old and can be something even adults continue to have fun with — and mixes it with a tongue-in-cheek video game with a story that not only feels like it has come straight from the Aussie-made “Lego Movie”, but also from other stories that many of us have grown up with.
What Lego Dimensions appears to be, then, is a game made for both adults and kids to enjoy together, rather than for each to grumble and groan painfully while one sits back and watches.
Take the pad that you have to use to play the game, for starters.
Every “toys to life” game relies on one of these, and they’re all a little different. You need the Skylanders one to play that game on a console, and you need a Disney Infinity one to play Disney’s titles.
Lego’s is no different for Dimensions, and it uses the same Near-Field Communication reading technology inside to pick up on tags built inside the base of toys, loading the characters in the game as and when you play with them and put them on the panel.
But Lego also lets you decorate the pad yourself, keeping Lego’s circular block-building pattern on the panel and letting you make it into whatever you want. You could bring some Lego from home — maybe build yourself a full-on Technics portal or attach a few extra characters — and provided you don’t impact the pad space for Dimensions characters, you will literally be making the Dimensions pad well and truly yours.
Then there are the characters themselves, and these are actual Lego mini-figs.
Everyone has seen a mini-fig in the past, and the ones being used in Lego Dimensions can actually be taken off their little game pads and used in other Lego adventures, with your own imagination at play.
For now, we’ll leave our little mini-figs on their respective game pad and use them with the Dimensions main pad, because this will let the game bring them in.
The game itself arrives with three characters for you to start with, delivering Batman, The Hobbit’s Gandalf, and The Lego Movie’s Wyldstyle, which will give one or two players a few characters to start the adventure with. They’ll explore a Lego world being taken over by a bad guy, and this Lego world will include a few movies and places you might already be familiar with, such as the world of Hill Valley from “Back to the Future”, Oz from “The Wizard of Oz”, Springfield from “The Simpsons”, and even a strange two-dimensional version of Valve’s “Portal” video game, with Lego-based versions of characters.