A confused parent's guide to Lego Dimensions

Buying the right games for your children can be hard enough at the best of times, but with the world of toys-to-life there's much more to consider than there is with a regular title. The genre made popular initially by Activision with Skylanders has branched out in recent years, and Lego is now one of the biggest names in the space.

So the kid's begging for you to get them Lego Dimensions, but you want to know what exactly it is before you agree to fork over your cash. Here's what you need to know.

What is Lego Dimensions?

Lego Dimensions is a toys-to-life game available on Xbox One and Xbox 360, as well as PS4, PS3 and Wii U. Only the initial game you buy is unique to one console, from there on out you can buy add-ons that are compatible with all.

Essentially it's a unique experience within the Lego universe, and the characters you play as within it are actual Lego minifigures that you construct and then beam into the game via the portal. The minifigures have an NFC tag in the base which is recognized by the portal which then activates the character in the game. Simple, but pretty amazing to the young ones!

There are a lot of things to purchase, though, in experiencing Lego Dimensions, a run-down of which you'll see below.

Starter pack

Lego Dimensions

Without this, you're going nowhere! For the completely new Lego Dimensions player, the starter pack is the only place to begin. It contains everything you need to get up and running and dive into the game world. Inside the box you'll find:

  • The Lego Dimensions portal
  • Gandalf mini-figure
  • Batman mini-figure
  • Wyldstyle mini-figure
  • Game disc

And as this is Lego, everything needs assembling, even the portal! But then, that's half the fun and a lot of the attraction. It's not just a Lego video game, you get the physical objects to collect as well!

The starter pack is still the same as it ever was, but it's more likely you'll find deals on it now than when it first launched. The regular price is $80, and it's available from lots of video game retailers.

See at Amazon

Story packs

While there's a main game to Lego Dimensions, a lot of the fun comes in adding new characters and new experiences to play within it. Story packs are the largest expansions to the main experience, with a new Lego construction inside for the portal along with new characters and levels to play.

Currently, you can pick up story packs for:

  • Fantastic Beasts
  • Lego Batman Movie
  • Ghostbusters

Each of these allows you to play through the entirety of each movie, and there are even a few novelty surprises within. For example, in the Fantastic Beasts pack, there's a level to play designed around legendary British comedy show Red Dwarf.

Price wise, the story packs aren't far off the starter pack at around $50, but there's a lot more Lego inside and a much longer game experience to play than some of the packs mentioned below.

See at Amazon

Level packs

Lego Dimensions

Level packs are similar to story packs in that they bring new content to play through, but they're much less expensive and smaller additions to the game. They just add levels, rather than an entire story, but inside each you still get three new mini-figures to play the game with.

There are a wide range of franchises covered by level packs, with some of our favorites including Back to the Future, Doctor Who and The Simpsons. They're around $25 each, and are a great way to extend the Dimensions experience without the need for a full story pack.

See at Amazon

Fun packs and team packs

Lego Dimensions

Fun packs and team packs are essentially the same thing, but fun packs only give you two mini-figures compared to the four you get in team-packs. These don't give new level experiences to play within the game, but they do allow you to bring some of your favorite characters into the main Dimensions multiverse experience.

These are a great way to get started with expanding the base experience, because it doesn't require starting any new levels, but you get unique abilities and new ways to play through the initial game. They're also the most affordable Dimensions add-on packs, so they make a great gift, too!

See at Amazon

Internet connectivity

After buying the physical parts of Lego Dimensions, one of the biggest things to remember is that you'll need internet connectivity to download a lot of the additional content. In particular, more recent releases like the Fantastic Beasts story pack came with the Year 2 Update, which you'll need to have installed before you can think about playing.

If an online connection is required it'll tell you on the box, so if you generally keep your kids console offline you'll know when you need to connect. Only the initial content shipped on the game disc, the rest has been delivered since as free updates.

Hopefully that helps you get started, but if you've got any tips, tricks or favorite Dimensions packs to share jump into the comments below!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine