The LEGO games have always been a blast to play, but LEGO Dimensions is on track to blow every previous entry out of the water by simply asking “Why not?”
The first thing you notice about this multiverse game is that you get a set of characters and a gamepad portal to assemble straight out of the box. The starter pack comes with Gandalf, Wyldstyle, Batman, and his trusty Batmobile that has three different forms for you to unlock. Once you unlock them, you get a set of instructions in-game that tell you how to reconfigure your standard Batmobile LEGO kit to a Sonic Cannon Batmobile kit; this reconstruction is necessary to use the new form and each of the vehicles in LEGO Dimensions has these three transformations to choose from once you unlock them.
My demo started off on Vorton, which is the hub world of the game. From here you can assemble vortexes to take you to the 14 different adventure worlds and universes within LEGO Dimensions including Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, The LEGO Movie, and many more. Each universe has an open world and multiple sub levels to beat. Back on Vorton, the three main characters are tasked with using their combined skills to unlock a vortex to our first universe, Portal 2…to get some cake.
As with all previous games in the series, LEGO Dimensions is full of these types of tongue-in-cheek nods to the player. Each world has tons of references that fans of that franchise will get. The Portal level had actual portals to warp through, turrets to melt, and Wheatley to be betrayed by. In Batman’s case, the version you start out with is the Batman from the DC Comics LEGO Batman game. The distinction is important because the LEGO game Batman is voiced by Troy Baker while LEGO Movie Batman is voiced by Will Arnett. The two characters will end up meeting, and instantly disliking, each other. TT Games went the extra mile and got all the original voice actors from each game, movie, or show and has them reprise their roles for LEGO Dimensions.
The demo skipped forward a bit and took us to the Scooby-Doo universe, where everything took a cel-shaded, Sarturday morning cartoon look. Here, we got to unlock the wimpy Great Dane himself and have him join our crew; what makes him even more enjoyable to have around is he adorably runs exactly like he did in the cartoon with his legs flailing all over the place. You can either unlock characters by progressing through the game or by having their mini-figure and placing it on the gamepad, which has space enough for seven figures.
Throughout the game, you’ll run into keystones which are vital for progressing through the levels by allowing you to locate hidden items, use the gamepad to beat puzzles, grow or shrink your characters, or even open up vortexes to other universes to call for help. For example, in the Portal universe, we needed a barrier broken down to progress, so a simple activation of the keystone opened a portal to Springfield and called in Homer Simpson stuck on a wrecking ball – exactly like this scene from The Simpsons Movie:
Doctor Who fans, especially, will get a kick out of LEGO Dimensions. The good Doctor plays a bit different from other characters. In all LEGO games, when your character runs out of hearts, they pop into a shower of individual pieces then immediately respawn. You’ll find no difference here, but the Doctor – seeing as how he’s now on his 13th regeneration – comes back as his next regeneration. So you could go from Christopher Eccelston to David Tennant to Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi – who lends his marvelous voice to the game as well – all in the span of a few minutes. The TARDIS is also available to explore in the game, and even adjusts itself to match the Doctor you are playing as at the time. Playing as William Hartnell’s First Doctor puts a black and white filter on the inside of the TARDIS and makes it look retro sci-fi.
With a huge cast of characters, vehicles, and worlds to choose from and play with, LEGO Dimensions is poised to be the largest LEGO game TT Games has ever made, and catch up to other games in the collectible figurines genre.
Gamers will get a chance to have Scooby-Doo drive the DeLorean to help Gandalf solve a puzzle that unlocks a door for Chell to place a portal on to bring both Batman forms through to the objective when LEGO Dimensions drops for all major consoles on September 27th. New waves of characters and vehicles will follow the release of the game every two months until early next year.