Figurine games shoot-out

Marvellous fun in Lego Dimensions' mashups

On occasion, I would grab my action figures and some of my daughter's toys, and spin together a yarn that has Captain America team up with Applejack, as they try to get away from Dumbo.

My stories rarely make sense, but that hasn't stopped my girl from laughing at some of the tall tales I've crafted, because this is how I play with toys.

This is also how Traveller's Tales has designed Lego Dimensions. It is easy to assume Lego's attempt at a toy-to-life game is merely a cash grab meant to emulate Skylanders and Disney Infinity. However, the sheer scale of this game shows how much effort has gone into this title.

The toys used here are actual Lego pieces. Figures can be removed completely from their base plates, which are the components that contain all the digital information about the toys for the game.

This is not developer Traveller's Tales' first Lego video game, but it is the first to combine characters from multiple properties. Previous outings such as Star Wars and Batman might have involved related characters or story elements, such as with the complete Star Wars saga or Superman, but Lego Dimensions includes 14 unrelated properties. They include Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown from Back To The Future, Slimer from Ghostbusters, and the 12th Doctor from Dr Who.

The toys used for Lego Dimensions are actual Lego pieces. Figures can be removed completely from their base plates - the components that contain all the digital information about the toys for the game.
The toys used for Lego Dimensions are actual Lego pieces. Figures can be removed completely from their base plates - the components that contain all the digital information about the toys for the game. PHOTO: WARNER BROS INTERACTIVE

And they can all play together in the main game campaign.

Unlike Disney Infinity, which includes various characters from Disney's rich library but limits any crossover from within the main game, Lego Dimensions embraces such mashups from the get-go.

A portal that opened up in Gotham City has drawn Robin into it. When Batman drives into it as well, he ends up falling from the Bridge of Khazad-dûm - moments after the Balrog from The Fellowship Of The Ring has pulled Gandalf off it.

After rescuing Gandalf, both superheroes watch as Frodo gets sucked into another portal, and their pursuit leads them to yet another realm, where they meet Wyldstyle, last seen in The Lego Movie.

The three heroes, whose figurines are included in the starter pack, find a portal that allows them to travel between worlds. They then discover that someone is picking up villains from many worlds, in order to stop them. By the way, the pack also comes with a Batmobile toy that can be used in the game.

Players are allowed to visit every other property included in the game, from Springfield (The Simpsons) to Hill Valley in 1885 (Back To The Future).

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    FORMAT: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

    GENRE: Action

How do you defeat Sauron? Why not have Bart Simpson build the Bat Signal to shine a light on the evil one? Players are never restricted with the characters that they use, although there are areas on each level that can be accessed only by a character unrelated to that world.

Yes, it is annoying to have to buy more characters to unlock these hidden bits, but if you just want to finish the game, there was no point where I felt I had to buy more characters.

There are also points in the game where the game actually stops and displays instructions on what you need to build next, using the provided Lego bricks. The figurine reader itself is also part of the game. For example, if Batman is trapped by an energy shield within the game, the only way to escape is to lift the figurine from the area he was on, and place him on a new area.

On other levels, puzzles in the game require you to place the figures on specific areas on the reader.

With the added voice talent, who include Michael J. Fox, Peter Capaldi and Chris Pratt reprising their famous movie and TV roles, Lego Dimensions is a labour of love that takes an already great toy franchise and turns it into an amazing game.

Sherwin Loh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Marvellous fun in Lego Dimensions' mashups'. Print Edition | Subscribe