We’re living through the first big boom of toys-to-life games. Everyone is throwing their hat into the ring. We all know the big players: Disney, Activision, Nintendo.

We’ve talked less about LEGO Dimensions, which is coming out on September 29. Like the rest of the toys-to-life crew (minus Nintendo’s amiibo) it will be available for every major console from this generation or the last.

So what is it? For one, it’s even more of a brand-mashup than Disney Infinity. The conceit of LEGO Dimensions is that barriers are breaking down between all the universes—that is, the universes licensed by LEGO and Warner Bros. for their figurines. These universes include Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, DC Comics, and more.

What Makes It Different

The thing that sets LEGO Dimensions apart is what has always made it special: building. You build and customize the “Toy Pad” that you set the figurines on to bring them to life. Like other toys-to-life games, it uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to relay information saved in your figurines to the game.

This NFC reader has more entry points than others. WIRED’s Bo Moore writes that it has seven spots to place characters and vehicles on. While you can’t dismantle the Toy Pad itself, it has LEGO attachments and you can build on it. So kids will be assembling their own portal into the virtual world.

At times you will also be rebuilding the vehicles, as instructed by the game, to change their functionality. Additionally, the Toy Pad is a little more interactive than other toys-to-life games. Skylanders: Trap Team might require you to switch out pieces every now and then, but in LEGO Dimensions you might have to move your figures to safer parts of the Pad, thanks to interference from virtual baddies.

I like both of these additions, and the fact that it’s essentially a big cross-fandom mashup is pretty cool. The trailer for the Portal expansion of LEGO Dimensions shows Gandalf, Batman, and Wyldstyle (from the LEGO movie) facing off against GLADoS, and for some reason Homer Simpson is also there.

What a wild ride.

What You Get

The LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack will be $99.99. It comes with the video game, the Toy Pad, LEGO bricks to build on the Toy Pad, Gandalf, Wyldstyle, and Batman figures, and the LEGO Batmobile.

There are a few different kinds of expansions.

Level Packs are $29.99 and will offer more figures, vehicles, or weapons, plus more game content.

Team Packs are $24.99, and give you two characters and two vehicles.

Fun packs are $14.99 and give you another character and vehicle.

LEGO promises that all figures will be compatible with future versions of the game. If you’ve ever had to squint in confusion at a Disney Infinity or Skylanders compatibility chart, you probably just let out a huge sigh of relief.

Skylanders Compatibility Chart


Honestly, as tired as I am of the ceaseless starters and expansion packs bleeding out of Toys-R-Us, it makes me glad that LEGO is considering the longevity of this brand. Plus, LEGOs are…well, LEGOs. You can still play with them, build on them, and have fun with them outside of video games on ephemeral consoles.

I hope the building aspect of LEGO Dimensions is as engaging as it sounds.

We’ll be offering more coverage of LEGO Dimensions as its release draws nearer, so check back here for more info.

This article was written by

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.