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Game Review

Another bring-your-toys-to-life title? Yep, even the gang behind all those LEGO video games has now been compelled to come out with a plastic treat that uses plug-in portals and chip-enhanced toy figures. But the new LEGO Dimensions makes it clear it has no intention of just copycatting what Skylanders, Disney and Nintendo have dreamt up before. It has crazy-cool dreams all its own.

The gamemakers first pull in the standard hallmarks of a LEGO video game: quirky scripted giggles, the bashing of LEGO foes into their block basics, scads of plastic stud collecting, and tons of digital break-it-down-and-build-it-up-again puzzle-solving. And then they add ... actual LEGOs!

Snap to It, Heroes!

It seems there's a fiendishly maniacal baddy named Lord Vortech who's discovered something called "Foundation Prime." He uses this powerful locale to open swirling portals in a variety of dimensions—sucking in the friends and sidekicks of a variety of heroes.

His ultimate goal? To gather the essentials necessary to collapse all of the different dimensions into one. One dimension that he can rule with complete and utter control. It'll be his very own precious!

What his initial actions do, however, is cause Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle to rally together as a heroic team set on saving their captured compatriots (Robin, Frodo and Metalbeard).

When Worlds Collide

LEGO Dimensions clearly isn't simply about slapping a figure on a portal and moving him or her around an empty sandbox. It's about heroes from every LEGO dimension you can imagine taking their battles and puzzle-solving into all the other dimensions. And with this everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink kind of mentality, gamers play through (and can buy characters and level expansion packs for) 14 different dimension worlds—including the movie, TV or comic book lands of Back to the Future, The Simpsons, The Wizard of Oz, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo, DC Comic's Metropolis and Jurassic World.

But even if you stick to just the original three-hero starter pack, you can still get a taste of all those dimensions. It's a crazed free-for-all adventure that can find Doctor Who, Homer Simpson and flying monkeys all going at it at any given moment.

Then there's the physical LEGOs side of things. The starter kit and all the purchasable character and level packs come with a packet of LEGOs that you can build with and insert into play as well. You can, for example, build Batman's Batmobile to drive through roadblocked areas, or piece together a Velociraptor for a bit of beastie besting. Each construct comes equipped with its own chip-inserted base that the game recognizes and saves info to.

How Much Mess Is There to Clean Up?

Of course, when you're playing around with a mad mash-up of Middle-earth, Marty McFly, Marge and Metropolis, it's not outlandish to wonder if there's anything problematic for the kiddos that slips into the mix. Sure. A bit. Beyond the downside of promoting entertainment franchises that aren't always squeaky clean, there are some uses of exclamatory phrases such as "dang it!" "dagnabbit!" and "what the heck?" Gandalf murmurs over what he sees as Vortech's use of powerful dark "magic." And I heard Homer Simpson say something to the effect of, "I'm not normally a praying man ... but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!"

That's the worst of it, really. After you snap together the typical (for LEGO games) block-on-block violence, of course.

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Episode Reviews

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