Lego Dimensions isn’t a good game. It’s a shame too, as there’s potential here for an amazing, unique experience, but it’s squandered under the weight of greed and a lackadaisical approach to the gameplay.
After the success of Skylanders, it was only a matter of time before Lego would follow suit with their successful brand of toy. Merging real life Lego with virtual representations of the same character seemed like a match made in heaven, especially with the solid success of the Lego video games. Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired in this poorly implemented and frustrating mess of a game.
The starter kit comes with 3 playable characters (Batman, Wyldstyle and Gandalf), the Batmobile and the portal itself. All are made from real Lego and the figures themselves, although they can’t be removed from their podiums, have fully functional limbs and are high quality models. As the game begins, handy on-screen instructions guide you through the process of building the portal from scratch, which is used as a stand for the characters.
The game switches between physically moving the characters on the portal and using the game controller to move the characters on-screen. Whilst the idea is good, the execution is a little clumsy at times, with the portal space small and requiring precision to place figures in the middle circular slot during the game’s puzzle sections. These sections require some thought and at times are a little tricky to figure out, especially for the younger market this game is clearly geared toward.
The story mode is a decent length though and features some imaginative levels, mainly used to showcase the different sets and worlds Lego Dimensions is made up of. Playing quickly you can expect to finish the campaign in around 10-15 hours with three big, hub-sized areas to explore on top of that. The unskippable cut scenes during the campaign are a little tedious though, and some go on for over 2 minutes which detracts from the enjoyment, although replaying each level opens up the option to skip these for a second playthrough. There are plenty of mini-kits and collectables in the levels but a lot of them are locked behind character-specific actions, which leads to the next problem with Lego Dimensions – the cost.
It’s well-known that these sorts of games are used to exploit as much money as possible by buying extra sets to enhance the gaming experience. Lego Dimensions takes it a step further by increasing the price of each individual set to an eye-watering level. Expect to pay £15+ for a single character and their vehicle, as well as £30+ for extra level sets. We bought the Doctor Who character set, including a Cyberman figure and vehicle Dalek, and a few Ninjago character sets which open up extra hub worlds and allow for a bit more variety during levels. While these characters do enhance the gameplay, it’s actually a hindrance playing with more characters than the basic 3 during the story mode, especially with puzzle sections requiring specific combinations and including layered colours that can be annoying to pull off with more than three characters on the board.
The basic three hub worlds are big enough to explore and there’re plenty of little side missions and gold bricks to obtain to keep you entertained once you complete the campaign mode. The added hub worlds unlocked by buying more characters, on the other hand, are disappointing to say the least. Large, empty spaces pad out the size of each and the lacklustre effort put into crafting each world is frustrating. The worlds don’t feel like they exist in the same universe and are a far cry from the care and attention put into the story worlds. It’s a shame, too, as there’s certainly potential here and with a little more thought and care Lego Dimensions could easily surpass Skylanders, despite the ludicrous cost associated with the sets.
All of this could be forgiven somewhat if the game was stable and worked well during play time, which it doesn’t. There are numerous game breaking bugs and glitches that destroy the glimmers of fun and entertainment to be had playing this. During one mission, playing two-player will break the game and not allow you to progress during a driving mini-game, forcing a hard reset. Another sees additional flying vehicles crashing the level while crossing disappearing platforms, and numerous game-breaking bugs like this rear their ugly head throughout the campaign. This isn’t even counting the numerous glitches, unclear “find” puzzle sections, and wonky camera movements that stifle progress to the point of frustration.
Lego Dimensions isn’t a good game. It’s a shame too, as there’s potential here for an amazing, unique experience, but it’s squandered under the weight of greed and a lackadaisical approach to the gameplay. The campaign mode is enjoyable and lasts for a solid 10-15 hours, and although adding more characters to the mix helps to vary the gameplay, it also hinders progress during the campaign mode. There’s plenty to unlock but considering the extra cost associated with this set, Lego Dimensions feels inferior to many of the other Lego games. Bogged down by game breaking glitches, expensive add-ons and a general lack of enthusiasm or care, Lego Dimensions is a wasted opportunity and one that’s unlikely to be revived any time soon.