A couple of weeks ago, my family and I were invited to check out a few of the new LEGO videogames and talk to some of the people behind them. Those games, specifically, were LEGO Dimensions‘ new Goonies set, LEGO Worlds, and LEGO City Undercover. Look for a separate piece down the line on the last of these, as we spent most of our time that afternoon with Dimensions and Worlds.
I had been wrong about Dimensions, which I saw as akin to Disney Infinity. And, while the two do have certain similarities, the Dimensions Toy Pad was far more involved than Disney’s version and not just in terms of what can be put on it. We solved one in-game puzzle in which we had to cause the Pad itself to light up different colors. With Infinity, as much as I enjoyed it, the levels/missions never felt that deep, that involved. Sitting there with the Dimensions Goonies’ stuff, we were immersed in the experience. It may have been a little disconcerting to be able to use Harry Potter and Batman characters in the Goonies’ world (something that’s a big no-no in Infinity), but their various abilities fit into the game’s structure (Goonies’ character abilities do as well, it’s not like you need Hermione to make Sloth viable).
As much fun as Dimensions was, Worlds was better.
Worlds was about the player building, and learning how to build. The game started us off on a pretty basic world (built of LEGO blocks) and asked us to go out and accomplish certain tasks, which it explained how to do step by step. The next world we visited added to the complexity as did the next after that and the one after that.
But, the wonder of the game was in its construction. As explained to us there, while the missions on each individual world are the same each time through (these missions function as almost a tutorial), the world itself is different – it is randomly generated. As we progressed we could go and build things and change the characteristics of the world we were on (don’t like the mountain? Get rid of it! Don’t like the color of the land? Change it!). The game slowly added in new mechanics and eased us into their use so that eventually we would be able to go off and do whatever we wanted. The further we got into it (and by no means did we accomplish anywhere near everything that could be accomplished… that is, this is not a review just impressions we got during the afternoon), and the more we talked with the developer, the more limitless it all felt.
Both games, while different from one another and from other LEGO titles, still offered the same LEGO videogame feel. The player got an instant sense of familiarity with both of them, adding to their comfort even as the game taught new things.
In the end, the most apparent thing was that whether it was traditional LEGO pieces and sets or one of these videogames or whatever else they may be working on, the LEGO brand felt unified and that a lover of one aspect would do well to explore another. LEGO videogame players may find they don’t like the physical objects as much and vice versa, but that shouldn’t stop one from giving them a go.