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LEGO DIMENSIONS Builds a Brighter Future for the Toys-To-Life Genre

It was only two months ago that Warner Bros. and TT Games took to the web to announce their toys-to-life title LEGO Dimensions. One of the coolest features of the game that sets it apart from the likes of Skylanders, Amiibo, and Disney Infinity competitor is that you’ll not only be able to collect sweet LEGO sets that will be utilized in real life, but will also be able to build the set, take apart vehicles, build, and rebuild them up to three times. You’ll also be constantly moving your selected characters and vehicles around the gamepad to help solve puzzles, spawn vehicles, and quickly move from place to place. Since it’s probably a lot to wrap your head around, I’m here to clarify what I discovered when I got my hands on the title during E3 last week.

Just as in the new trailer they released, one of the places I played around in was Aperture Laboratories from the Portal series. Upon arrival, Batman, Wildstyle, and Gandalf question GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) about the cake that’s supposedly there. Though we all know the cake is a lie, she tells them they’ll be able to get their hands on some if they pass a couple of tests. 

No, you won’t be given a portal gun to help you get through the levels. Unfortunately that is reserved for Chell, whom you can only score via buying the Portal Level pack. Instead, you’ll be utilizing several modes including: shift, chroma, scale, elemental, and locate, to get from point A to point B. While those are introduced in the video at the top of the page, figuring out how to use them is a different story.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 4.22.51 PM

For example, Shift, which allows a selected player to come tumbling out of one of the three colored portals, was relatively simple once I got the hang of it. There was a blocked-off area in the level which could only be reached via the chroma method. All I had to do to get this to work was select chroma and move one of the characters to the corresponding color lit up on the toy pad. Choosing which character goes through which portal is important however, especially when you consider the fact that they react differently with their environment. For instance, one of the closed-off areas had a companion cube, which can only be moved with Gandalf’s telekinetic power. To move on in the level, I had to place him in the correct area on the toy pad and wait for him to come out the other side before manipulating the companion cube to place it on one of Aperture Labs’ big red buttons.

I also tried out Locate, which when activated helped my character follow cues from the toy pad itself to find things. When going in the right direction, the toy pad will light up green, whereas on the flip side, going the wrong way will produce a red light. If you’ve ever played “Hot and Cold” with a sibling or a friend when you were younger, you’ll know what I mean. It was simple enough to use, and pretty cool to see the toy pad integrated into almost every bit of the game

There is also chroma which allows you to solve puzzles by moving a character to the colored pad and then moving their real life mini-figure to the corresponding color on the toy pad. There will be a model displayed in the area that you’ll need to match this up to.  It took some time to get used to, but once I did, everything started to click.

LEGO DIMENSIONS BATMAN SHRINK

Last but not least is Scale. Activating this mode allowed the character I was using (Batman) to either shrink to enter a tiny tunnel, or grow in size to reach new areas or switches that were previously unreachable. As you can see in the image above, Gandalf is normal size whereas Batman is small enough to enter tight spaces and Wildstyle is tall enough to to travel somewhere new.

As of right now, Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and amiibo are all considered “toys-to-life” franchises but are severely lacking in the “toy” functionality department. Sure, the figures are cool, but once you’ve turned off the console, you are more than likely to put them back on the shelf or away in a drawer somewhere until you want them to appear in your game again. Even when you do end up using them, it never really goes as far as connecting them to your console when you want to use them, or switching them out for another character when you want to try something new.  More often then not, the figures end up sitting on a shelf for decoration, or in the case of amiibo, sold to the highest bidder because there just aren’t enough to go around.

That’s what makes LEGO Dimensions so great. Let’s face it: everybody loves LEGO, whether it’s the look, the charm, or physically creating whatever comes to mind. The fact that you’ll be able to physically take apart and rebuild the toys you’ll be using, even after you turn off the game, is what sets this apart from the competition. This coupled with the fact that the figures are constantly moved around, swapped, and used in countless ways the majority of the time you are playing, makes this a toys-to-life title unlike any we’ve ever seen before.

LEGO DIMENSIONS PORTAL Bots

It also doesn’t hurt that the list of franchises to be included in the game is about a mile long and jam-packed with titles we all know and love. We’ll be seeing content from Scooby Doo, Jurassic World, The LEGO Movie, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Ninjago, Wizard of Oz, Portal, Back to the Future, Batman, The Simpsons and more. Just seeing how some of the characters from these titles interact with each other is intriguing in an of itself. If you thought previous LEGO titles were funny, prepare your belly because you’ll probably be cracking up at the dialogue the entire time.

LEGO Dimensions is set to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360 September 27, 2015. We’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen so far and can’t wait to hear more.

What do you think of LEGO Dimensions? Does it look like something you would want to play? Let us know in the comments below.

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