LEGO DIMENSIONS is an amazing game system available for most of the recent XBox and PlayStation consoles. The version I am reviewing here is for the XBox360.
The game arrives in an exciting and appealing colourful box showing a StarGate type construction, the Batmobile and Batman, Gandalf and Wildstyle hurtling through space together on an adventure.
The StarGate style Portal is fun and studious to build and apart from looking good has no actual use, only the Toy Pad (the base of the Portal) which connects to your console is used. This Toy Pad has two L shaped ares with three sections in each and a central connector where vehicles and other characters are placed for the game to accept and verify them.
I have already reviewed the game per se so the above was just a recap. So Batman rescues Gandalf from the Balrog, accidentally loses Robin and the Fellowship, then journeys on to pick up Wildstyle, unfortunately closing the gate before Wildstyle's friends and a second Batman could enter the Portal and join them.
Tumbling through the vortex the three heroes flip out roly-poly style onto the Yellow Brick Road, the Emerald City visible in the far away background. They encounter Dorothy, the Tinman, the Llion and the Scarecrow, but before there can be any kind of explanation or Q&A Batman flips out on hearing the name "Scarecrow" and another Portal opens up above the gingham-dressed Dorothy and she and all her friends are drawn up and into it, leaving behind a stunned trio of baffled heroes.
Now this is where you can continue down the YBR or perhaps you have a Fun Pack or three that you are just itching to get into the action. I know I was playing away waiting for the moment when I could introduce a character from the Fun Packs but there is so little in the way of instructions with the game and nothing immediately visible in the game on screen, that it's possible you could simply continue onwards with just the original three heroes from the base set; Batman, Gandalf and Wildstyle. With these heroes onscreen along with the Batmobile, I decided to build and add another character from a Fun Pack. Daring eh ?
Slimer from Ghostbusters was easy to put together and onto a base and almost immediately I placed him on the Toy Pad did he appear onscreen with the other three - he could even drive the Batmobile. Within moments though the screen changed and I was asked if I wanted to build the Slime Shooter, and on confirmation this was quickly put together placed on the central section and verified; and there it was on the screen ready to shoot slime at whoever or whatever it is aimed at. Any of the heroes can operate any of the vehicles or constructions, you just need to move them close enough and hit the right button (it's "Y" on the XBox 360 controller) and this puts the character in charge. "Y" also allows you to change from which the character you control to another. If there are two of you playing you can control one character each. The second-player controller icon is constantly seen flashing in the top right corner as a reminder that you can add another player at any time.
The FUN Packs contain the pieces required to build a Hero or occasionally a Villain plus a piece of equipment associated to them. So for example in the Ghostbusters pack you get Slimer and the Slime Cannon, in one of the Dr Who packs you will be delighted by a Cyberman and a Dalek. Other Fun Packs I have seen are:
Bane & Drill Driver, Superman & Hover Pad, Aquaman & Aqua Watercraft, Bad Cop & Police Car (Bad cop's head can be turned round to show a smiling Good cop) plus Lloyd & Lloyd's Golden Dragon (from Ninjago). Every one of these characters can interact with the main campaign game story simply by being included. You can have up to six characters and one Vehicle on the Toy Pad and thus onscreen at the same time, though most of the cut-scenes only feature the original three heroes.
When you get to the end of the Yellow Brick Road adventure your characters are whipped away to Springfield and into the Simpsons' house. Arriving at the Simpsons you see the whole family on their famoues sofa enjoying a TV Show. Your heroes quickly displace them and then the game begins; your first mission is to find your way out so you can begin Meltdown at Sector 7-G.
Each of the characters brings something new to the game and each specialised ability they have is needed either to complete the mission or at least to be able to activate certain parts of it. Abilities are not noted on the Fun Pack boxes so before you buy a new Fun Pack check online to see who or what you are going to require.
The abilities I have encountered to date are as follows:
DIG - Drill Driver can do this. If you have neither of these or any of the other characters available with the Dig ability then you cannot, for example, locate the "easter egg" by the large tree. Other characters with Dig are Cyber Guard, Emmet's Excavator, Scooby-Doo, Shelob the Great, Terror Dog and Velociraptor; these being available in other Fun packs. If you need to Dig (using the Dig ability as an example) and you do not have a character or machine with Dig ability then you cannot Dig; you can continue playing but you'll miss some great fun opportunities.
DRILL - Aquaman; Cragger; Cyborg; Cybernman; Gollum; Slimer; Scooby-Doo; Superman and Wonder Woman.
Some objects, such as doors, furniture etc shines with a silver glow. To activate / utilise these you need characters with: Silver Lego Blowup ability.
SILVER LEGO BLOWUP - Dalek; DeLorean; Gollum; Homer Simpson's car; Hover Pad; Invisible Jet & Police Car.
HACKING - Benny; Cyberman; Doc Brown; Dr Who #12
ELECTRICITY - Acu Trooper; DeLorean Time Machine; Jay; Storm Fighter.
HAZARD CLEANER - Aquaman; Clous Cuckoo Car; ECTO 1; Krusty; Slimer and the Mystery Machine.
I haven't been able to utilise all of these abilities yet as I don't have all the necessary characters, plus there must be other abilities that I haven't needed yet. The ones I have used, along with their associated characters and constructions, have kept the fun rolling along at break-neck speed. I am forever popping characters on and off the Toy Pad and thus having characters popping on and off screen, replacing them with others in a mad merry-go-round like an old-time Brian Rix farce - one door opens another closes. I still can't get over seeing Gandalf and Slimer driving the Batmobile and firing Green Slime all over the place.
In the colourful and descriptive locations and backdrops,the scenery, objects, flowers, in fact virtually everything is smashupable - a few whacks and you have either a bonus of lego coins that mostly automatically fly into your bank or you have a pile of Lego bricks and pieces that you can build into something that is useful. Investigation through the Lego pages found via Google says that each vehicle can be rebuilt up to 2 more times as you progress through the adventure. This appears to be held up by the pictures on the packaging which show three variations of the vehicle that comes in the box, though you do not get the instructions on how to build the other two; I am assuming these will appear onscreen at the necessary times.
I have only had a problem with obe boxed set, and it is only a problem because I don't know and as yet haven't found out, how to use it. This is the Level Pack of Gamer Boy and 20 Arcade Games. Gamer Boy is the character, obviously, and with him you get the Arcade Machine, complete with "Defender" stickers, and the classic sports car the G-615S Spy Hunter. If I put Gamer Boy on the Toy Pad he becomes playable within the world campaign I am enjoying, but if I put either of the two other units that accompany him on the Toy Pad, centre area or one of the spots in the L shapes, then nothing happens except I get a message saying I have an unauthorised unit on the Toy Pad and to please remove it.
I read somewhere that there are games to be found within the main game that allows for this Level Pack to be introduced and some of the classic arcade games, such as Defender, to be played, but I never found anything along the Yellow Brick Road nor, to date, in Springfield. Once again there are no instructions in the packaging as to what I am supposed to do. Therefore if I have a bone to pick with this game then it is the lack of information given. Having said that, I am having a whale of a time playing all different mixes and matches of characters and the vocal acting is superb and very often tongue in cheek witty.
When building anything other than a character the instructions are one page at a time onscreen. Which parts you need for each page are made clear and where they fit in the grand scheme is also well documented and illustrated. I have only found one small piece missing from one pack, and a) it wasn't really needed as it couldn't be seen once the construction was fully made and b) I had so many odd pieces left over from other builds that I found a piece to use anyway. It is very rare to find a piece missing, in fact you are more likely to find half a dozen or more pieces surplus in the packs.
Definitely a game for a Christmas or Birthday present either for your family or your self - I'd plump for myself.