The Portals of LEGO Dimensions

LEGOPORTALRecently I played and beat the new holiday title, LEGO Dimensions.  I was impressed with some of the worlds you explore and licenses used, so I decided I’d write a blog about it.  In short, LEGO Dimensions is essentially Skylanders with LEGOs.  You buy and build LEGO figures and vehicles, and then put them on a special pedestal so you can play as them in the game.  Unlike Disney Infinity, any character and vehicle can go into any world at any time.  That’s one thing that Skylanders and LEGO Dimensions does right.  Half the fun was seeing all the worlds you could go into, and what surprises you’d find.  In fact, brother Jeff (who I always play LEGO games with), described the game as ‘LEGO Kingdom Hearts’ and I like how he put that.  So let’s dive into the portal and see what we can see!

Gameplay-wise, LEGO Dimensions is just like any other LEGO game.  I won’t describe it any further than that, but you can check out my many other LEGO game reviews if you don’t know what they are like.  But instead of switching out characters on screen, you do it manually with a pedestal.  This pedestal has three different sections, and depending on where you are, you can set characters on certain places to do different things.  You can warp them to hard to reach areas, make them grow and shrink, give them an elemental shield (reminds me of the shields from Sonic 3), change their color to solve puzzles, and more!  Only problem is they don’t do a very good job showing you how to use the pedestal, so it’s not very intuitive.  It took my brother Jeff and I a while to figure it out.  Even selecting which level you can go to is hard because you have to be in a certain spot to do that, but the game doesn’t give you any of that info.

You also have to build the pedestal with LEGOs.  Well, I guess you don’t HAVE to, but they encourage you to build the back part so it looks like one of those Stargate thingies.  That’s a personal problem I had with the game because I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth and sometimes I have trouble doing some manual dexterity things like building with small LEGO pieces.  That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t play with LEGOs much as a kid.  Luckily, my brother Jeff was there to help with the building parts.  He loves building with LEGOs so he enjoyed that.  The other problem I had with building is that if you buy a level pack that has figures and vehicles in them, they don’t give you instructions on how to build them.  You have to do it with in-game instructions by playing that level pack’s secret level.  I think that if you buy something, you should be able to use it right away.  Luckily you build them soon after starting the level, but still.

While I would recommend most LEGO games to all ages, I think LEGO Dimensions is best for older kids.  One, the things you build are pretty complicated sometimes, so they would need to be experienced LEGO handlers.  And like other LEGO toys, the sets are pretty expensive so kids would need to know how to keep up with and take care of their toys, as the game is useless without them.  And plus using the pedestal is not very intuitive.  Also don’t forget the whole choking hazard thing with small LEGOs! And that’s pretty much my short overview and review of LEGO Dimensions, now let’s look at the worlds you can explore.  But before I go any further, I will say there might be some slight spoilers here and there, so from here on out, just know that you’ve been warned!  OK, with that out of the way, let’s go!

DC Comics

So the story is your typical multiverse stuff.  A bad guy is trying to combine universes and rule them all, so three heroes from different worlds come together to stop them.  Batman is one of the main characters in this one.  He’s been in a lot of LEGO games!  Some of the levels mix up different themes, and one of them is Metropolis from Superman, but Lord of the Rings characters have taken over.  Each character also has a hub world you can explore and do missions for gold bricks.  I haven’t gone into Batman’s yet, but I imagine it’s probably a combination of Gotham City and Metropolis.

Lord of the Rings

One of the other main characters is Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.  I never really got into the Lord of the Rings stuff.  All the movies look the same to me, and as far as books go, I prefer Chronicles of Narnia.  There is a Lord of the Rings level in the main quest in some big city that I couldn’t tell you what it is, but the Riddler has taken it over.  I haven’t been to the Lord of the Rings hub world, but I bet it’s Middle Earth.

The LEGO Movie

And the last main character is Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie.  That was actually a pretty good film, I highly recommend it.  There really isn’t a level based on the movie, but in one stage you do climb the office building from the film while fighting a boss.  There is a hub world as well, and I imagine it’s like the hub world from the LEGO Movie game.

The Wizard of Oz

The first level in the main story mode is from this classic movie from the 1930’s.  You can also buy some packs that have characters like the Wicked Witch with the flying monkey.  But there’s not a special level pack or anything.  The Wizard of Oz story mode level is your basic entry stage.  You go down the yellow brick road, through a spooky forest, and defeat the witch in her castle.  There is one funny scene regarding Batman, though.  Just keep in mind who one of Batman’s enemies is and you can probably guess what happens!

Jurassic World

Some character packs don’t have levels in story mode at all, such as Jurassic World.  There are characters you can buy for Dimensions, though, so they probably at least got a hub world.  But it’s just as well since there was a full LEGO Jurassic World game that came out last summer.  At the end of the LEGO Jurassic World game, they dug up a key thing that I had no idea what it was, but it turned out to be an item from LEGO Dimensions!


And speaking of licenses that don’t have their own levels, I don’t remember seeing one based on Chima.  This is a LEGO only product that’s not tied to any other license, so I don’t know much about it.  From what I can tell, though, it looks kind of like Thundercats.


And speaking of LEGO-only licenses, they do have a level based on Ninjago.  It’s a LEGO property that reminds me of a cross between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers.  But if you have kids who like ninjas and LEGOs, I guess it’s all right.  At least LEGO didn’t have to pay any royalties with Ninjago and Chima.  In the story mode level, you fight in an arena that one of the bad guys has set up, and then you battle through his dungeon.  I don’t really know much else about Ninjago so that’s all I can tell you.

Scooby Doo

I’m not a big fan of Scooby Doo, but if they had a level pack instead of just character packs, I probably would’ve bought it because I think it would’ve been fun to drive around the Mystery Machine and play as Scooby.  They do get their own level in the Story Mode, though.  You explore the outside and inside of a haunted mansion while Scooby and the gang split up to find the bad guy (Shaggy and Scooby go to a haunted amusement park).  It’s pretty funny and has many of the antics you know from the cartoon.  There was even an animated LEGO Scooby Doo special over Thanksgiving.

Doctor Who

I’ve never really gotten into Doctor Who.  There is a level pack that I was going to buy since my brother Jeff’s girlfriend is into Doctor Who.  But since I am unemployed as of this writing, I decided not to buy it after all since I need to save some money.  But there is a Doctor Who level in the story mode.  You go through a space ship with some robot guys, then you go into a space graveyard, then you go through a castle with these angel statues that only move when it’s dark, and they try to get you!  And then you battle this guy who looks like Krang from TMNT (LEGO TMNT would be cool, too), and he has these robots that look like R2-D2 wearing a skirt and they like to say “EXTERMINATE!” a lot.  And that’s pretty much all I know about Doctor Who other than that he rides around in a flying purple port-a-potty.

Back to the Future

I got the Back to the Future level pack.  It comes with Marty McFly, who can break glass with his guitar sounds.  And the pack also comes with two vehicles, the hoverboard that lets you float to places too far away, and the DeLorean, which lets you go back in time on special treadmills when you go 88 mph.  Since it’s a level pack it also unlocks a special stage that follows the plot of the first movie, although they skipped a bunch of stuff in the middle since I guess there weren’t a whole lot of action scenes that would translate well to a LEGO game.  You just build speakers in the lab, then find Doc Brown in the mall parking lot, then go back into the past and get out of the barn, then go to Doc’s house and then you immediately go to the last scene in the movie where you must use the lightning strike on the clock to go back to the future!  I guess that’s why there’s not a full Back to the Future LEGO game.  I do like how they keep things family friendly in regards to Doc Brown getting shot.  You just have to see what they came up with!

I think the second and third movie would fare better as a LEGO game as they had more action sequences.  That’s probably why in the main story mode; the Back to the Future level takes place in the Wild West Hill Valley from the third movie.  Since I got the pack, I could also go into the Back to the Future hub world.  It’s a LEGO recreation of Hill Valley, but the cool thing is that you can go back in time to the western version of Hill Valley, and any missions you do there can affect the modern Hill Valley!  So it’s like two hub world in one!

The Simpsons

As you can tell, I saved my favorites for last.  I loved the LEGO Simpsons levels.  In fact, I think LEGO Simpsons could be a whole game.  Although I haven’t actually watched the show in a long time.  In fact, I think the last one I saw was the LEGO episode!  Anyway, the story mode level happens early on and is just in the nuclear power plant where Homer works.  I love what Homer says at the beginning of the level when he’s on the phone, “It’s not selling out, it’s cross promoting!”  Ha!  I got the level pack for this one as well, and it comes with Homer, who can burp to break glass like Marty McFly.  He drinks Buzz Cola to burp; I guess they couldn’t get him to drink Duff Beer.  He can also grow big with rage to pick up stuff, which doesn’t make sense, but oh well.  The pack also comes with their TV that explodes in the game, and Homer’s pink car which has tow cables for pulling certain objects.

The Simpsons hub world is a slice of Springfield, complete with the suburbs, nuclear power plant, shopping area, and Krustyland theme park.  Pretty neat, but not as cool as it was in Road Rage.  The special level you unlock with the pack is actually based on one of the more famous Simpsons episodes where Homer eats a spicy pepper that makes him trip out.  The first part of the level takes place in sectioned parts of the hub world, which is a little disappointing.  But after you find and eat all the chili, you get to play the last part of the level in Homer’s tripped out fantasy world.  If they made levels based on famous Simpsons episodes, I think a full LEGO Simpsons game could work.


Even though I’m trying to save money since I don’t have a job as of this writing, I’ll probably still get the Ghostbusters level pack when it comes out early next year since Ghostbusters is one of my top favorite movies of all time.  So I don’t know what the secret level or hub world is like yet, but the level pack will have a Ghostbuster (not sure which one because it’s hard to tell who they are in LEGO form).  It’ll also have a ghost trap item and the Ecto-1 as a vehicle.  I wish it had Slimer, but that one is in another character pack, and those don’t unlock anything extra so I won’t be getting it.  There is a Ghostbusters level in Story Mode, but it’s not very eventful.  You just fight ghosts and other enemies on the streets of New York, and can see the Ecto-1 driving all over the place in the background.  I think a whole LEGO Ghostbusters game could work by itself.  They may have to change some gameplay mechanics to implement proton pack streams and ghost traps, but the LEGO series could use some change-ups anyway.

Midway Arcade Classics

Now THIS was a surprise!  Before getting the game, I had NO IDEA there were going to be Midway Arcade Classic levels and characters in this game!  It’s a shame the level pack won’t be out until later next year (looks like Spring-ish).  I know it has a character called “Arcade Guy” which looks like some dude from the 80’s, or it could be me, who knows?  The item you get looks like an arcade cabinet, and the vehicle is a white car that I can only suspect would be the car from Spy Hunter!  That would be so cool to play a LEGO Spy Hunter level!  My brother Jeff loved playing Spy Hunter when he was a little kid!  I can’t wait to see what the level pack stage and hub world is like!

There is a Midway Classics level in the story mode, though, and you play through several Midway and Atari titles to complete it.  First you save some astronauts in a 2-D sidescrolling Defender level.  Then you play some top-down Gauntlet stages.  These are particularly cool because you can still use your vehicles and just mow down the enemies, which is also a lot of fun!  It’s also neat because if you’re playing as Gandalf and run low on energy, the game WILL say, “Wizard needs food badly!”  Then after that you race with vehicles in top down Super Sprint tracks, and finally you fight some more baddies in a Robotron arena.  The only problem is that if you’re playing in two-player mode and venture far enough to make the screen split, it can be a little confusing since it’s all in 2-D.  But it’s still fun.  Man, the folks who made LEGO Dimensions really pulled out all the stops to make me want to get this game.  They included some of my favorite movies and TV shows, classic arcade games, and I saved the best for last…


One thing you should know about me is that I love, love, love the Portal games.  If it weren’t for Portal being in LEGO Dimensions, I probably wouldn’t even have gotten that game at all, or at least not for a while.  And technically I didn’t even BUY the game.  I didn’t get to review it, but I had a bunch of Christmas and birthday Best Buy gift certificates I needed to use, so I used them to buy the game and the LEGO packs I wanted.  So anyway, I was super surprised and happy when I saw Portal in LEGO Dimensions on an E3 trailer.  The level pack comes with Chell, the (purdy) lady from the game in her Portal 2 outfit.  It also comes with a companion cube, which you can use to hold down switches.  And the vehicle is a turret.  You can use it to shoot at certain switches, but you can also ride it.  It’s silly, but hey, it’s a LEGO game so it’s supposed to be silly.

There is a Portal level in Story Mode, but since you don’t need Chell to play it, it just feels like a regular LEGO stage inside the Portal test chambers.  When you use one of the LEGO portal pedestal powers, GlaDOS will complain that you aren’t following the rules of the test and are cheating.  She’ll even warp into other later levels in the game, complain that you are still cheating, and throw a test chamber at you to slow you down.  She’s also quite interested in the robots from Doctor Who, and has a funny conversation with a certain other robot from 2001.  And near the end of the game, the heroes need GlaDOS’ help, so they take her immorality core away so she’ll help for a bit.

The stage you unlock with the level pack plays more like a regular Portal area.  Chell is required to play it of course, and she can make portals on white walls, just like in the Portal games.  What’s great is that it’s like a continuation of Portal 2.  Wheatley comes back, and his time in space has given him anti-gravity powers so he can float around and help you (sort of).  The gameplay in the level has a lot of Portal-ish puzzles from the first and second game, and shows that Portal in a third person view would probably work just fine.

The hub world is also cool.  You can tell the makers of LEGO Dimensions were big Portal fans, or they did their research, as the hub world has everything from both games.  You can walk around the test chambers, go through Aperture’s old offices, run through Cave Johnson’s old tests, and even visit the turrets in the choir room from the ending, as well as the outside area when you get kicked out, too!  There are even LEGO mantis men!  And everyone from the cast of the Portal series lends their voices again, and it was great to hear all the new lines.  The hub world, being so big and tall, was a bit hard to navigate, though.  But this’ll probably be the closest thing we get to a Portal 3 for a long while, since Valve really doesn’t make games anymore now that they’ve got that whole Steam thing.  Aside from DC Comics and Lord of the Rings, Portal probably has the biggest presence of any of the licenses.  And you know how at the end of Portal games, GlaDOS sings a condescending song to you?  Well, I won’t tell you if she does that in LEGO Dimensions, but let’s just say, I wasn’t disappointed!

And that’s all for now!  In the comments section, let me know what you think of LEGO Dimensions.  Later!  –Cary

2 Responses to “The Portals of LEGO Dimensions”

  1. Great Dr. Who description… the (blue) box is a police box, and the salt & pepper shaker evil dudes are Daleks.. all harkening back to the show’s early days in the 60s..

    Now I’m totally intrigued enough to want to go out and buy the game!

    How much time does it take to conquer levels? (ie. game time per buck..)

  2. Well it’s pretty much like any other LEGO game in terms of length. You can beat a level in about 30 minutes or so, but if you want to go back and get ALL the stuff, it could take a lot longer. There are about 15 main levels in all, not including hub worlds and extra levels you unlock via packs you buy.

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