Games: Lego Dimensions will be coolest thing in Santa's sack
Lego Dimensions (Multi)
STATISTICALLY speaking, everyone in the world owns 86 Lego bricks, so the Danish plastic mongers know a thing or two about toys.
And following on from Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Nintendo's Amiibos, the latest attempt to bundle videogames with plastic doodads is an explosion of licensed content, triple-A production values and endless Lego charm.
With a whopping base unit to devour your living-room real estate, Dimensions combines another brick wit-house adventure on the telly screen with collectible Lego figures that come to life on the cathode ray thanks to clever microchips in their bottoms.
The story sees Lord Vortech attempting to collapse different Lego realities into a single realm that he can rule with a plastic fist. Long story short – Batman, Gandalf and Wildstyle from The Lego Movie must romp through 14 worlds for some time-honoured evil-stymieing.
Like an orgy in a Forbidden Planet store, if it's made the slightest blip on the pop-culture radar, it's in here, fully licensed, fully voiced, and hewn in virtual brick. The rich jumble of properties includes – deep breath, now – a battle through Springfield's nuclear power plant, exploring a haunted mansion alongside Scooby Doo, ridding New York of spooks with the Ghostbusters, taking on Cybermen, Daleks and Weeping Angels with Doctor Who or confronting the Wicked Witch of the West at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.
Actually, this merely scratches the surface, and planned Fun Packs include levels based around Back to the Future, DC Comics and Lord of the Rings, each accessed by purchasing the relevant Lego figures.
The voice-acting is top-drawer, with Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Chris Pratt, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson suffering hard studio time alongside Gary Oldman as the villainous Vortech.
And unlike the competition, which offers solid plastic lumps, the toys here are fully poseable, buildable creations. While this isn't the Lego I grew up with (nowadays the licensed content does all the imagining for you), Dimensions is a joyous festival of trademarks.
The Simpsons level alone is incredible, and when you crash the roof of 742 Evergreen terrace and land on that iconic sofa, it's impossible not to grin. While it's sad to see Lego catch the toys-to-life money-train (didn't they just release a movie about such evil business plans?) Dimensions is pretty much guaranteed to be the coolest thing in Santa's sack, even if parents will be bricking it when each new brace of figures hits the stores.