Lego Dimensions: Mission: Impossible (PS4): COMPLETED!

Colonocolypse

It’s been a while since I played Lego Dimensions, but I had Zelda, you know? And turning on the PS4 was hard. But, I did have one last level pack to play through – Mission: Impossible.

As with the rest of Lego Dimensions, this was completed in co-op with my daughter. She has no idea what Mission: Impossible is, even less so than she did with any of the other packs. Not that it really mattered.

mission impossible

From what I recall – and it was some time ago – this pack is the first Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film. There’s the same confusing face-swapping and double/triple/quadruple crossing, and the climax is a fight in the Channel Tunnel. The level itself is pretty standard Lego fare, with nothing too out of the ordinary (unlike, say, Adventure Time or Doctor Who). Ethan Hunt’s drone is nice. His face swapping is good too. It’s a shame there’s not more made of it, though.

The game is pretty big, enjoyable, and has Mr T in it. With that in mind, the list of levels now goes: Sonic the Hedgehog > Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Portal 2 > Doctor Who > Mission: Impossible > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

 

Lumo (PS4): COMPLETED!

A wizard’s staff has a knob on the end.

Lumo is how you remember old Spectrum isometric games played. You know the ones, like Batman and Head over Heels and Knightlore. Only you remember wrong. Because although we all loved them back then, they were a pig to control and the hardest things ever.

Take the idea of these games, and view them through a rose-tinted lens, and you have Lumo. It both pays homage to, and lampoons, the 8-bit isometric arcade adventure genre.

lumo

You begin in “the real world”, visiting a small-time retro gaming event. One of the machines on display malfunctions, and you’re sucked into a world where you’ve become a super-deformed wizard and electrified floors and hidden cassette tapes are the order of the day. You move from room to room, overcoming platforming challenges or puzzles, collecting four artefacts. Collect them all and you just might return home.

Where Lumo succeeds is in evoking the feeling of those old games. Not just in the viewpoint, but in the sort of objects, room layouts and traps you encounter. Several rooms are almost carbon copies of classic ones, triggering the retro glands. Some rooms contain more front-and-centre references, literally including sprites or screenshots. There are nods to 80s computer games and UK gaming culture of the time everywhere. In one section, you ride a lift and the music playing is Your Sinclair’s very own Whistlin’ Rick Wilson and his classic “Hold My Hand Very Tightly (Very Tightly)”. They played it on Radio 1 once, you know.

Sometimes the game will deviate from the Ritman/Drummond/Ultimate template into other areas. There’s a minecart section, and several bonus areas that ape Ballblazer, Zaxxon, Horace Goes Skiing and Nebulus amongst others. Some of these work well in isometric, some (*cough* Horace *cough*) do not.

Lumo

Where Lumo performs less well is mainly due to this 45 degree viewpoint. Also a complaint with many of the classic titles, seeing where you are in space relevant to platforms you need to land on can be a struggle. One particular section in a later area of the game has you navigating a bubble between spikes, and it’s near impossible to determine where it will actually pass. Failing a screen because your pixel-perfect jumping isn’t up to scratch is one thing, but because it looks like the landing area is in front of you when it’s actually up in the sky several squares away? Not great.

Thankfully, and unlike isometric titles of yore (unless you cheated!), infinite lives help stave off throwing your gaming device through a window. Some of the more tricky, long, or “perspectively challenged” areas still cause the red mist after several dozen deaths, but these are rare.

It’s definitely a game aimed at 80s Speccy kids, and is worth playing for the nostalgia if nothing else. In itself it’s pretty decent too. It may lack a little polish perhaps. And maybe a few rooms should have been tweaked to reduce the viewpoint issues a tad, but there’s a lot to like here anyway. Oh, just one more thing: Make sure you install the update before you play. There are nasty save game bugs otherwise!

lumo

Grow Up (PS4): COMPLETED!

And the award for most phallic flora goes to…

grow up Just a brief thing about Grow Up here. It’s good, it’s not as good as the original (Grow Home), and I enjoyed it.

OK, perhaps a little more than that. The premise is slightly different to the first game. You now have to find the parts of M.O.M. (literally your mothership) scattered around the planet. There is more than one Star Plant. The onus is more on jumping and (later) gliding from place to place. For some reason the game pauses sometimes when you collect things or land. It’s very pretty. The strange animals are cute. You can still drown them while they look at you with disappointment.

Despite the game, there’s less growing up than in Grow Home. Instead, you have to scale multiple heights rather than one main one. Each feels less high, and although you ultimately reach the moon, it doesn’t seem nearly as high up as in the first game.

Still, as I said, it was fun, the skies were blue, and I very much enjoyed it. 100%ing it, by doing all the challenges and finding (or rather, stumbling across) all the crystals though? Nah, y’aight.

Lego Dimensions: Portal 2 (PS4): COMPLETED!

Now you’re playing with Portals

After a short hiatus while I finished off a few 3DS games, my daughter and I got back on Lego Dimensions and ran through the Portal 2 level.

It was good! Full of Cave Johnson, some nice Portal 2 puzzles (including the blue bouncy gel and the orange accelerating gel), and of course, it was pretty funny too. I’m not sure the game considered just how easy it was to skip massive sections with a flying vehicle, such as the Cloud Cuckoo Car, as two large areas we missed almost entirely, but that doesn’t really matter.

lego dimensions portal 2

The hub world is decent too, with plenty of referenced – you have to grow the potato, for example. And the shed from the end of the first Portal game is there too, as is Chell’s “room”, complete with toilet. Toilets are important.

We’ve just the one level pack remaining now – Mission Impossible.

Oh! And before I go, you’ll be wanting an updated List, right?

Sonic the Hedgehog > Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Portal 2 > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

There you go!

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4): COMPLETED!

Set framerates to unfh

Shooting a billion giant insects whilst simultaneously avoiding the purple chaos spewing forth from massive robots, all the time contending with framerate issues not seen since the days of playing NES emulators on P100 CPUs, never gets old.

earth defense force

Certainly, for the most part, little has changed from previous EDF games. A few new enemy types, slightly different level layouts, and probably some new weapons. Oh, and some new – but currently unused – character classes. That doesn’t matter.

No, there’s something just so good about these games. Low budget, terrible slowdown, mostly unimpressive graphics, and the worst voice acting in living memory, but none of it matters. In fact, it could be argued that some of these outcomes were entirely planned. Whatever, I’ve completed it now and it was a lot of fun.

earth defense force

Lego Dimensions: Sonic the Hedgehog (PS4): COMPLETED!

Toot Toot Plastic Warrior

After a few false starts a few weeks back, where we were unable to progress past Metropolis Zone due to a bug that prevented Eggman from appearing, we had a bug-free playthrough today which allowed us to finish it. And let me say this: it’s bloody awesome.

Visiting Lego versions of Green Hill Zone, Metropolis Zone, the beach from Sonic Adventure, Sonic 2’s Special Stages, Marble Zone and (Sonic’s least favourite) Labyrinth Zone – as well as Chaos appearing – it does a better job of celebrating the Sonic series than Sonic Generations ever did.

sonic the hedgehog

It’s genuinely funny too. Gollum appears at one point, looking for gold rings. Eggman says “Get a load of this!”. Omachao chaosplains how to play (“Fire is hot!”, “Pushing blocks makes them move!”), it’s filled to the brim with egg puns, Amy the Overly Attached Girlfriend, and so on.

The hub world for Sonic is pretty good too, with areas based on Ice Cap, Carnival Night, Sandopolis Zone, and others. There’s even a snowboarding section, and Sonic quotes lines from some of the songs in his games!

It’s funny to think that Traveller’s Tales, who are part of TT Games, who make the Lego titles, actually made Sonic games in the distant past – Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R were theirs.

And of course, you want to know how this expansion compares to the others, right? Well: Sonic the Hedgehog > Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

Yep. It’s the best. Here’s my playthrough, in case you don’t believe me.

Lego Dimensions: Ghostbusters (PS4): COMPLETED!

Who do you expect you should likely telephone?

No, not the new film and the (much longer) level pack: this is the original one with Bill Murray in. As with other level packs, this takes an abridged look at the source material. There’s the fight with Slimer in the hotel, some stuff in the streets of New York, and then the face-off with Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

ghostbusters

The only Ghostbuster available (at least, unless you can unlock more in other packs?) is Venkmann, and there are very few places elsewhere in the level where you need to use other characters. In fact, I didn’t even put Batman on the portal. The Ecto-1 physical model is great, even if it doesn’t offer anything you can’t already do with the Batmobile, but the ghost trap does something new: You collect ghosts with Venkmann’s proton pack and then “steer” them into the trap. Just like in the film!

It’s full of audio straight from the source, and there are some funny additions.

Current status: Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

 

Lego Dimensions: Doctor Who (PS4): COMPLETED!

Doctor I’ve got this feelin’
Deep inside of me, deep inside of me
I just can’t control my feet
When I hear the beat, when I hear the beat

And the first completed game of the new year is this. It’s another Lego Dimensions level pack, but it’s another good one. There’s timehopping and the inside of the TARDIS and a trip to Trenzalore and a London bus gets blown up and Peter Capaldi is excellent.

doctor who
A TARDIS in a TARDIS. Of course!

You also get to build K9, and ride him while he fires lasers, which is pretty awesome too. So yes, well worth buying this particular expansion. To update my list, Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Back to the Future.

The Doctor Who hub world is excellent too, if somewhat buggy (there are a number of areas where the floor just lets you drop through). There’s time travelling there too, and each time The Doctor dies he regenerates, cycling through all twelve Doctors. Yes I know it’s technically thirteen, but The War Doctor isn’t an option. Anyway, this in itself is fantastic but even better is how the interior of the TARDIS changes to match the incarnation of The Doctor. That’s some attention to detail – sadly missing from the solid geometry of the hub world… And Missy is in it too! It’s the level pack that just keeps giving.

doctor who
Just look at it. LOOK. AT. IT.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have more levels packs to play. Ghostbusters (the original one) is here already, and Mission Impossible and Portal are both on the way.

No you have a problem.

I don’t know. How IS this possible?

Lego Dimensions: Midway Arcade (PS4): COMPLETED!

Wizard has eaten all the food lately.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting much from this Level Pack. It seemed a little contrived and almost like Warner Bros was scraping around their big ol’ IP library for something a little different and came out with this. They haven’t even got a “known” character as the main figure in the set – he’s just “Gamer Kid”.

However, it turned out to be awesome.

midway arcade
Robotron 2084

The level itself, for the most part, is quite small and doesn’t have a great deal to do in it, but the hook is that you unlock a load of actual real emulated arcade machines as you play. Gauntlet, Gauntlet II, Joust, Super Sprint (which, bizarrely, suffers from horrible slowdown), Defender, Spy Hunter and Robotron 2084 to name a few. There’s also a Lego representation of Paperboy, in which the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz have stolen the newspapers. It’s fun.

Paperboy
Super Sprint
Super Sprint

The dimension hub is fantastic too, with references to Rampage, Toobin’, Vindicators, Badlands, 720, Gauntlet and all sorts.

I’ve a complete playthrough of the level here:

Lego Dimensions: The Simpsons (PS4): COMPLETED!

Yellow Peril

This self-contained level follows, more or less, the episode of The Simpsons with the chilli cook-off in it. So Homer has to get there, taste various chillis, then have his weird psychotic episode where there’s a coyote and a golf shop and the sun breaks. Then there’s a lighthouse.

the simpsons

You know the episode. Everyone knows the episode.

In Lego Dimensions, there are obviously changes and bits missing, but it’s pretty good regardless. For those keeping count so far:

Adventure Time > Simpsons > Back to the Future

Lego Dimensions: Adventure Time (PS4): COMPLETED!

C’mon grab your friends.

Another of the complete, almost but not quite standalone Lego Dimensions expansions finished!

Adventure Time was even better than the Back to the Future one – longer, more “fan service”, funny, and so on. There was a bug about two thirds of the way through which made the game crash each time I reached that bit, but aside from that it was excellent.

adventure time

I also loved the cel-shading effect on the graphics. It was also used in the Scooby Doo secton of the main Lego Dimensions story, but here – perhaps due to the colour palette being generally much brighter – it really stands out. At first it looks a little odd, but you soon get used to it.

I’ve a two-part complete playthrough here:

My daughter and I also played the Adventure Time hub world a bit too. That is also fantastic, not least because of Lemongrab, who makes an appearance. Also: toilets.

Lego Dimensions: Back to the Future (PS4): COMPLETED!

Brick to the Future?

Yes, this totally is being classed as a separate game. Why? Because it was a separate purchase, a separate story, and not even part of the main game. No I haven’t changed the rules – I’ve always stuck to this.

Sparsely following the plot of the first film – or at least, a handful of points from the first film – Marty McFly, his skateboard, and the DeLorean of Time smash Lego items while going back to 1955 and trying to return to 1985. Attempting to go back to the future, if you will.

As a fan of the film I was pleased with some of the inclusions and references, but disappointed the entire level, including time spent building the physical Lego models, was just 45 minutes long. There’s nothing in the game about Marty’s mum, no Under The Sea, and no Biff Tannen.

Still, I did enjoy it, and owning a Back to the Future character does mean I now have access to the Back to the Future hub world, which seems to have more content than the level did (including more than one time incarnation of Hill Valley), so that’s OK then!

And of course, I have a pile of gold bricks and minikits to return and collect.

Here’s my playthrough, if you’re interested:

Lego Dimensions (PS4): COMPLETED!

Dimensions are a Lord’s best friend.

Completed Lego Dimensions, certainly. We’ve beaten the final boss and seen the credits. Yet we still have almost ONE THOUSAND gold bricks to accumulate and haven’t even used two of the Lego characters we bought.

Now, unlike most other Lego games, I can’t really discuss the content too much as Lego Dimensions has its own story rather than retell that of a film or something. It isn’t a fantastic story, but some of the levels may perhaps be spoilers if I went into a lot of detail. I will say, though, that it’s very funny. There are references, and cross-overs, that surprised and delighted me. One-liners, events, and “wrong character” comments like Batman quoting Ghostbusters or Lord Vortex (the big bad guy) claiming he’d have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t have been for you meddling kids.

lego dimensions

The game is huge too, as barely any levels came even close to completion and the “hub” hasn’t been touched at all yet. I wasn’t joking about the thousand gold bricks either.

Building the real-world Lego as part of the game turned out to be fun, and to some degree shuffling characters around on the portal is a nice extension to the standard Lego game formula. It does get a little annoying in some levels where puzzles require a lot of character swapping in addition to position swapping, but we (that is, my daughter and I) found moving the portal nearer the sofa helped there. Unfortunately, the cable is a couple of feet too short to sit it on the sofa between us, and with a USB extension cable the portal won’t respond half the time, but we coped.

Now we’re finished with the main story, I’ve a Sonic Level Pack to break out.

lego dimensions

Oh! And this turned out to be my 104th game completed this year! That’s two whole 52 Game Challenges! Woo!

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered (PS4): COMPLETED!

Spellbound.

What a fun puzzle game this turned out to be. It was a free PS+ rental and I only really started it on a whim, but it ended up being actually quite enjoyable.

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I’ve still a fair amount left to do, in terms of side missions and collecting more stars, but the main levels are done and so is the story, such that it is (basically I got pizza, it seems).

Things I’ve been playing recently

All games. All the time. GAMES.

Well, where “recently” is “any time in the last couple of months” and “things” is “games I’ve not completed as I’ve already posted about those”. In no particular order:

Spec Ops: The Line (Mac)

This was free, but only if I played it enough to get £1 credit back from Green Man Gaming. At first, I really struggled as it misdetected my PS4 controller and everything literally spiralled out of control – see this video, in particular from the 7 minute point:

With that fixed (I used a mouse and keyboard instead), I then worked through the first level, or mission, or whatever. It’s OK, but nothing special. It’s also difficult to play with an Apple mouse, because you can’t click the left and right buttons at the same time. I don’t know if I’ll play it more.

Paper Mario Sticker Star (3DS)

A lot of people seemed to be quite negative about this, but I’m really enjoying it. It removes almost all of the RPG elements (perhaps this is why it has the reputation it does), but the story and the combat are great and it looks lovely. Also, that Wii U one is out now and I thought I’d do this while waiting for that to magically appear in my possession.

Letter Quest Remastered (PS4)

Incredible Boggle/RPG hybrid. You’re given a bank of 15 random letters, some worth more than others (sort of Scrabble-like) and you make words out of them. The more powerful your word, the harder your attack is on your foes. You can level up abilities, making 6 letter words worth more, or double letters more powerful, etc. and it’s very addictive.

Assault Android Cactus (PC)

I set my Steam Link up again and this is one of the titles I played, having heard good things and getting it for virtually free in a recent Humble Bundle. It’s not bad, but I don’t think – so far at least – it deserves all the praise. It’s just a quite bland twin stick shooter with average graphics but with some great characters. I’m enjoying it, but not as much as I expected to.

Lego Dimensions (PS4)

I actually bought this a while back, but still had Lego Marvel Avengers on the go. With that finished (although not 100%ed) my daughter and I broke it out and yes – it is excellent. Jumping from world to world (we’ve had The Simpsons, The Wizard of Oz, Ninjago and Doctor Who so far) is great, and the references to other Lego games (such as the Joker Titanbot rematch) are awesome too. Playing shuffle-the-characters on the portal is less fun, though, but we’ve negated that a little by moving the portal to the sofa between us.

Pokémon Y (3DS)

With over 70 hours on the clock now, and still about 30% of my Pokédex unfilled, there’s a lot of game here. Not least when you consider I “completed” it at around the 35 hour mark.