Ahh toys to life, what a crazy phase that was. While Nintendo’s Amiibo are the sole survivor of what was meant to be “the next big thing” major companies like Disney and Activision tried their best with Disney Infinity and Skylanders respectively, it was Lego who took a massive risk, creating a multiverse and pulling franchises from different eras and styles to create what I considered to be the best offering of toys to life (sorry Nintendo #notsorry).
Lego teamed up with Traveller’s Tales to develop the video game and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It was released on the PS4, Ps3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360. The game was initially released in September 2015 and the started pack included the game, a usb toypad and three minifigures including Batman from DC Comics, Wildstyle from The Lego Movie and Gandalf from The Lord Of The Rings. It also includes the Batmobile as the vehicle.
The main game is a solid 20 hour adventure that takes you through many different franchises all crossing over to deliver an enjoyable experience that doesn’t require any further expansion packs to enjoy. This alone was worth the price of admission and is something that fans responded to. But the fact that it is Lego, the desire to collect all of the different packs was strong and I for one succumbed to the sweet sweet marketing tactics the studio put out and went all Pokemon like in an attempt to catch them all.
What resulted was the necessity to buy a new bookshelf just so I had storage space for all of my Lego figures, cars, level packs and spare parts. How my partner didn’t question my sanity I still don’t know to this day. Instead of releasing new discs with content, it relied heavily on DLC that came with the story and level packs that were consistently released with movies like Ghostbusters, The Lego Batman Movie and Fantastic Beasts. All of these massive story pack expansions packed a whopping 6 new levels based on the movies and came with a new usb toypad to construct. In that wasn’t enough the studio also released level packs based on franchises like Sonic The Hedgehog, Teen Titans GO, The Simpsons, Gremlins and Mission Impossible. Each level pack gave you a character and vehicle from the franchise and was great filler content in between the story pack releases.
While I did manage to get my hands on all of these, some of them I played a lot more than others. Sonic The Hedgehog, Gremlins and Harry Potter were definite highlights, with some like The A-Team and Knight Rider not going down too well, but definitely great to have content for contents sake. Also trophy hunting in this game is strong and an absolute joy to tackle down. In addition to this the usual gold bricks and red bricks are part of the fun and a later released battle mode did fizzle out pretty quickly, the studio consistently released content to keep it feeling fresh and giving us a reason to keep coming back.
Upon release the game received favourable reviews, outsold its competitiors Skylanders and Disney Inifinity while also managing to scored itself a BAFTA award for best game. The future looked bright as the level packs for year one continued to sellout across stores in most countries it was released in. However the demise started in the second year when the Ghostbusters pack started seeing extremely low sales due to the huge backlast against the movie (thanks toxic fanboys!) and the game’s blocking in China also didn’t help propel anything. What followed was a slew of franchises from the 80’s that struggled to capture kids due to the age of the franchises. It appeared that Travellers Tales expected parents to buy these for there kids and play with them to boost sales, however it didn’t appear that this was a viable option. I spoke with some of my gamer friends, Dads in particular and they didn’t buy into the Dimensions madness.
The studio confirmed they would support the game for three years, it was a big surprise when they confirmed that they would not make any further new packs after the second year with the release of the Powerpuff girls and Teen Titans GO packs. The studio have kept the servers online so you can still purchase the existing packs and download the content (for now) so the hunt became to collect them all, get all the gold and red bricks and unlock that sweet sweet platinum trophy.
While this was something that I was going for, so many games have come out in the meantime and my willingness to continue playing the game faded. As the dust has collected on my Lego Dimensions figures and toys I decided to dust them off and try again. What has resulted is the reignition of my love for this franchise and its boldness with creating a multiverse of different properties with a story that actually made sense and a host of villains you can both hate and cheer for at the same time.
As I am writing this I have dived back in long enough to get some more trophies and fulfill all the fun that I could possibly get from this game. The best thing that I have now is the legacy, I am passing all of my lego dimensions games, toys and vehicles to my beautiful goddaughter who is currently obsessed with all things Lego and video games. It is my hope that she cherishes this game and its contribution to the toys to life craze. While it didn’t last for the many years we had hoped, what it did offer was always quality and that is really what gaming is about.
What was your favourite Lego Dimensions pack? Did you have a favourite character? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on socials.
Lego Dimensions forever!