“Toys-To-Life” games are a growing subgenre of videogaming, which makes sense. For kids who love to play imaginatively with figures but also love to park in front of the TV with a controller, they’re a perfect combination of both interests. And Lego, which is a power player in both the “toys you play with on the floor” and video game spaces, is getting in on the trend started by Skylanders and Disney Infinity with the launch of Lego Dimensions.
To introduce Lego Dimensions, the company recruited Joel McHale, who plays a Lego-obsessed adult who Jeff Winger would definitely be contemptuous of–and pairs him up with Lego Batman, Lego Gandalf, and Wyldstyle (from The Lego Movie). McHale accidentally opens a dimensional rift with his new Lego delivery, and out come the trio of heroes–in need of a little help from McHale, who manages to say the awkward (if brand-preserving) sentence, “I play with Lego a lot” in the course of the adventure. Once McHale gets the group on the way, the sort of adventures that players of Lego Dimensions might encounter unfold as the heroes enter the worlds of The Wizard Of Oz and Back To The Future, as well as wherever the Blue Astronaut comes from. It’s a fun teaser for a game that makes a whole bunch of sense–converting a toy you bought into a video game character can be fun, but converting a toy you made into something playable is infinitely more appealing.