Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the second of three Story Packs released for Lego Dimensions. The expansion includes several new levels which recreate the story from last year’s spin-off movie. If you are a fan of all things J.K. Rowling and Lego games, there is lots of fun to be had here. But is it worth the steep sticker price?
Out of all the offerings in the second year of Lego Dimensions, the one my kids were most excited about was the Harry Potter Team Pack. Both of the girls are slowly working their way through J.K. Rowling’s series of books and have watched most of the movies. It would be accurate to describe my oldest as a Harry Potter fan. The youngest is getting there. They couldn’t wait to explore iconic locations like Hogwarts and Diagon Alley in Lego form. In that respect, this Team Pack did not disappoint.
Regular readers know that I am not much of a gamer. My video game coverage is limited to Lego games largely because their skill requirements closely align with my limited hand-eye coordination. But that was not true of the video games of my youth. When I was a kid, arcade games were unforgiving and most of the home console games weren’t much better. Even then, I gravitated towards games like Atari’s Adventure which didn’t require split-second timing. But those games were few and far between.
In the early 90’s, I had a Sega Genesis in my dorm room. Side-scrollers were the popular game style of the day. Sonic the Hedgehog innovated by making its spiky blue protagonist was really, really fast. Playing Sonic was frequently a dizzying, exhilarating blur. Even though I frequently ended up losing all of the rings I had collected, I couldn’t help getting caught up in the fun as Sonic rocketed from platform to platform spinning and bouncing like a hyper-kinetic pinball.
I didn’t stick with the Sonic series for very long. I think I may have owned the first couple of games. After that, my pathetic gameplay steered me to games that were more my speed. In other words, slower games. Thanks to Lego Dimensions Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack, I can revisit the old high speed side-scrolling gameplay married with the much less challenging Lego video game format.
C’mon grab your friends,
We’re going to very distant lands.
If you know the words to this song, then you or someone else in your house probably watches the Cartoon Network series, Adventure Time. This weird and imaginative cartoon is about Finn the Human, a boy with a sword and a funny hat, and his best friend, a talking dog with shape-shifting powers named (what else?) Jake the Dog. It’s one of those shows that can be enjoyed equally by kids and adults which makes it a perfect fit for Lego Dimensions.
Today’s Lego Dimensions write-up is a little different. The figures we are looking at today are promotional items which are not sold in stores. If you must have them, you can buy them online for a price. Either that or you will need to find a way to meet the terms of the promotion for the character you want. I was lucky enough to pick up both of these figures in time for them to be used as stocking stuffers. But if you aren’t able to locate Green Arrow or Supergirl, don’t worry. They are hardly essential.
Late last summer, I picked up the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack on a whim. It was on sale and I was going to spend a week at home with the girls just before the new school year. Turns out it was a rainy week and we got a lot of use out of the new toy/game. When I made that purchase, I had not anticipated it turning into such an investment either financially or in terms of time. Today’s article is the fourteenth weekly write-up covering expansions for the game and it is also the last one dealing with the game’s first year offerings. As a result, the two Fun Packs I’m reviewing may seem a bit random.
Lego Dimensions is a deceptive product line. On the surface, a toys-to-life video game is aimed at kids. But if you look at the intellectual properties included in the game’s expansions, it’s pretty obvious the game is intended to appeal to their parents as well. Ideally, the game serves as a way for adults to introduce their kids to nostalgic properties they remember fondly. Or, in the case of Scooby Doo, to serve up a character familiar to both generations.
One of the major selling points of Lego Dimensions is the inclusion of several diverse and popular intellectual properties. My family was initially drawn to the game because of the ability to play characters from The Simpsons among others. When we first started playing the game, I let the kids pick a pack to buy and the one they wanted was Bart Simpson. So what I am saying is, we’re fans. How does the game’s Simpsons content stack up? I’m sorry to say it’s kind of a mixed bag.
There’s something strange in the Lego neighborhood. So of course we’re going to call the Ghostbusters. The question is, which group to call? The classic all-guy squad or the new and not-necessarily team of women? With Lego Dimensions, both teams are available. But since I am focusing on the sets from the game’s first year, we’re going to stick with the Lego Dimensions Level Pack which covers the 1984 original. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the Story Pack for the 2016 remake eventually.
Two years ago, The Lego Movie got snubbed by Oscar voters. Birdman may have won Best Picture that year, but does it have a series of toys-to-life figures included in a popular video game? I don’t think so. At least not yet. Given some of the oddball inclusions in Lego Dimensions, we probably shouldn’t rule anything out. Among the many licensed properties in Lego Dimensions, the least surprising inclusion would have to be characters form The Lego Movie. Today, we’re going to look at a couple of the year one Fun Packs.
Today’s fun packs include some heavy hitters from the DC Universe. All three of these characters come equipped with some pretty useful skills. What do you expect from a bunch of superheroes? They aren’t necessarily going to open up any new gameplay since everyone has access to the DC Comics adventure world through the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack, but you’ll probably find yourself reaching for these guys as one-stop shopping for a lot of skills. Plus, who doesn’t want the Justice League as part of their collection?
A big part of the appeal of Lego Dimensions is the use of familiar properties. What initially attracted me to the game was the inclusion of characters from The Simpsons and Ghostbusters, pop culture touchstones that appealed to me and my kids. But the developers at Travelers Tales have cast a very wide net that included some lesser-known licenses as well. Perhaps the most offbeat choice of all was to devote an entire level pack as well as part of the game’s main storyline to a cult video game like Portal 2.
Last time I looked at a pair of Lego Dimension Fun Packs, they were characters from DC Comics which I love. Today, I’m dealing with two kid-friendly franchises I know nothing about. So I’m going to kick off this article with a little Lego history. In the late 20th century, the Lego brand had fallen on hard times. In a bid to revitalize sales, the company made a deal to make Star Wars toys. This lead to other profitable licensing arrangements like Batman and Harry Potter. These days, Lego has an intricate web of licensing deals.
Flush with success, Lego has made a few attempts at creating their own intellectual properties. Two of those are the Ninjago and Chima lines. Both of these toy lines are supported with cartoon series that I have never had to watch.