LEGO Dimensions review

The Danish toy maker conjures up yet another way to empty our wallets...

Following in the wake of Skylanders and Disney Infinity comes the most logical addition to the toy-to-life genre to date: LEGO Dimensions.

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, toys-to-life games require players to purchase collectible toys/figurines that synchronise with a game to unlock additional levels and characters. Kids love them because they bring their toys to life; games publishers love them due to the extended revenue streams they create.

If this all sounds a bit cynical then it's worth noting that LEGO Dimensions is a genuinely enjoyable title. The Starter Pack gets you the game, the bricks to build the LEGO portal (which allows the toys to interact with the game) and four playable collectibles (the Batmobile, plus Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle minifigs). The game itself showcases 14 LEGO worlds – including The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Wizard of Oz, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Doctor Who and Scooby-Doo. More are promised further down the line.

Created by Traveller's Tales it's hardly surprising that the gameplay itself is reminiscent of the developer's previous LEGO movie tie-ins, asking players to bash everything in sight, collect studs and solve puzzles. This time, however, many of the puzzles require you step out of the game and move the toys around on the seven spaces on the portal to activate different features or prevent the videogame avatars from harm. The downside to this is that these puzzles, while fun, aren't particularly taxing.

Backing all of this up is the developer's trademark brand of humour, which is pushed way beyond anything we've seen before thanks to the pop culture mash-up the game provides. As well as goofy gags to keep kids happy there are thousands of smart in-jokes to entertain adults (we still can't stop grinning about Batman's first encounter with Oz's Scarecrow).

Add-ons come in three varieties: Fun Packs and Team Packs provide new characters/vehicles to play with and can unlock Dimensions within the main game; Level Packs do the same while also providing a new level themed around its characters. While collecting them all would obviously be prohibitively expensive, the game makes no demands on you to do so. Instead, you're free to simply pick and choose those that appeal to you (maybe, Jurassic World) and ignore the rest (let's say LEGO Ninjago).

All told, LEGO Dimensions is both a great game and a great toy, and largely succeeds in removing the distinction between the two.

LEGO Dimensions, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Xbox One/Xbox 360/PS4/PS3/Wii U, £75 (Starter Pack)/£27 (Level Packs & Team Packs)/£15 (Fun Packs) Approx