It's a good thing kids these days are so techie, and it's an even better thing that some console games are intuitive and easy, otherwise, as a non-gaming mom, I'd be a bit lost (and on Google searches most of the time).
On the weekend, my son tried out the latest version of LEGO Dimensions, which will be available in stores this week, and all I really had to do for my almost seven-year-old was take the pictures, and the rest was left up to him and his friends who played with him.
If you're unsure about the value of gaming for kids, then it's worth doing a bit of research as there as some proven benefits, aside from just having fun. I also wrote a piece on LEGO video games in particiular, and how they ignite the imagination, and encourage thinking and problem solving (you can read the post here).
So what is LEGO Dimensions, and why does it look set to be on the top of kids' gaming lists and Christmas wishlists this year?
About the game
LEGO Dimensions was first released in selected markets in September last year, and has some additions this month with additional level packs and characters. It's a LEGO-themed adventure video game that features LEGO figures that can be played within the game when you put them on a portal. It's published by Warner Bros, and can be played on PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
What's so cool is that kids need to build their LEGO minifigures and the portal, or "Gateway", which is a huge bonus for any LEGO-loving kid – they get to build, AND play a game. Kids can play alone, or with the help of their friends.
The Dimensions Starter Pack is all players need to begin, and includes:
- LEGO Dimensions videogame
- LEGO Toy Pad ((this never needs to be replaced – this toy pad is compatible with all upcoming expansions)
- Bricks to build the LEGO Gateway
- 3 LEGO minifigures (Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle)
- LEGO Batmobile vehicle
Kids can expand the experience by collecting more minifigures and vehicles, and access new levels with the expansion packs. As with any game that includes real toys, this can become quite costly.
- DC Comics
- The Lord of the Rings
- The LEGO Movie
- Back to the Future
- The Wizard of Oz
- And more still to be announced…
2016 Expansion Packs
- Marty McFly (Back to the Future)
- Portal Game
- The Simpsons
- Kai & Cole (LEGO Ninjago)
- Scooby-Doo & Shaggy (Scooby-Doo)
- Owen & Tee (Jurassic World)
- Joker & Harley (DC Comics)
Wonder Woman (DC Comics)
- Cyborg (DC Comics)
- Aquaman (DC Comics)
- Superman (DC Comics)
- Bane (DC Comics)
- Gollum (The Lord of the Rings)
- Gimli (The Lord of the Rings)
- Legolas (The Lord of the Rings)
- Emmet (The LEGO Movie)
- Bad Cop (The LEGO Movie)
- Benny (The LEGO Movie)
- Unikitty (The LEGO Movie)
- Wicked Witch (The Wizard of Oz)
- Jay (LEGO Ninjago) BT Games Exclusive
- Nya (LEGO Ninjago) BT Games Exclusive
- Zane (LEGO Ninjago) BT Games Exclusive
- Lloyd (Ninjago) BT Games Exclusive
- Sensei Wu (Ninjago) BT Games Exclusive
- Cragger (Chima) Musica Exclusive
- Eris (Chima) Musica Exclusive
- Laval (Chima) Musica Exclusive
- Bart Simpson (The Simpsons)
- Krusty (The Simpsons)
- Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)
- Stay Puft (Ghostbusters)
- Slimer (Ghostbusters)
"When a mysterious and powerful vortex suddenly appears in various LEGO worlds, different characters from DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings™ and The LEGO® Movie are swept away. To save their friends, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle bravely jump into the vortex. As they journey to locations beyond their wildest imaginations in search of their friends, they soon realize that Lord Vortech is summoning villains from across different LEGO® worlds to help him gain control. As his power grows, worlds mix, unexpected characters meet and all boundaries are broken. Our heroes must travel through space and time to rescue their friends before the vortexes destroy all of LEGO humanity."
What the kids say
Since I'm not the target market, nor even a gamer, I asked my son Max and his two friends what they thought of LEGO Dimensions, and it's important to note that I had to pull them away from the game, almost literally, to answer.
What is your favourite character?
Max, aged 6: Slimer, from Ghostbusters
Jonathan, aged 7: Cyborg, from DC Comics
Avile, aged 12: Kai and Kole, from Ninjago
What have you most enjoyed about the game?
Max: Building the characters, and moving up the levels
Avile: Building, and trying to fight the enemies.
Jonathan: The fun! I also like that it challenges me, and lets me try and try again to move up.
Is it easy to play?
Max: Yes, very easy – we just had to think. I didn't have to ask anyone for help.
Do you think this game is good for learning?
Max: Yes, it teaches you how to do things to go up the levels. You have to think all the time of how to fight the enemies.
Starter Pack R1 299 (PS3/X360), R1 499 (PS4/XB1)
Level Pack: R449
Team Pack: R399
Fun Pack: R249
For more information on how the game works, watch this cool YouTube video:
Disclaimer: A review unit of LEGO Dimensions was given to me