The Harry Potter name is practically a license to print money, and you have to wonder how much pressure JK Rowling felt to turn in another workable property within the wizarding world. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them began life as a magical school textbook that had a passing mention in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but has since become the name of the latest cinematic incarnation of Rowling’s work.
In turn, Traveller’s Tales has made it the focus of their second major Lego Dimensions’ Season Two release, allowing you to play the movie in full, spread across six levels, with some of their trademark plastic slapstick thrown in for good measure.
Newt Scamander is the improbably named hero of the piece – played in the film by Eddie Redmayne – and of course he’s the included Lego figurine. He looks as much like the genuine article as a blocky, slightly yellow-faced figurine can, though it’s a shame that he’s not wearing a fabric coat and doesn’t have the film’s integral briefcase in tow.
He’s able to destroy silver bricks with a flick of his wand, pick locks with a Bowtruckle creature and use Apparate Access to move between two places via special panels, and many more besides, but by far his biggest boon is the variety of quips he’ll spout during your playthrough. As with other recent Lego games, it’s the movie’s soundtrack and audio, but unlike Marvel Avengers they’ve rectified some of the issues where the speech was too low in the mix. Eddie Redmayne’s amusing and tonally perfect delivery works really well here, and carries the humour through from the on-screen action.
The Toy Pad’s first use allows you to grow and shrink, with the left and right portion glowing different colours depending on whether you need to increase or decrease in size. As you’d expect, it’s tied to some simple puzzling that requires little thought for anyone but the very young. Later on you gain the ability to create creatures that will aid you in getting past certain obstructions, and touching your figurine to the three panels in different sequences has different outcomes.
Soon enough, you’re constructing one of those fantastical beasts in the shape of the trouble-making platypus-mole Niffler. It’s a swift build, and a cute little figurine that allows you a minimal amount of posing, but it’s unlikely to stand up to much real-world play with a number of parts that are too easily separated from its body. Still, he comes in handy for digging things up.
Almost immediately you’re then put to work building the new facade to your Toy Pad. It depicts the doors of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, but while it’s a cool looking centrepiece it’s not as substantial an undertaking as the Ghostbusters’ Chinese Restaurant was. It’s impressive opening doors and floating platforms allow for some careful real-world play, though as with all three of the Lego Dimensions’ portal builds, it is still disappointingly flimsy and it could be worth thinking about in relation to the age of the player.
Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them continues the strong graphical work that Lego Dimensions has showcased throughout, though similarly there remain some technical issues when out in the small hub world, with slowdown and some obvious screen tearing being chief amongst them. This has been an ongoing issue for the game, but fortunately it doesn’t detract from the central gameplay.
Largely though this is business as usual for Lego Dimensions. There’s less of the main series’ penchant for just bashing everything in sight to progress, but the portal’s puzzles still don’t attain the heights that those within the central storyline did. Spread over six levels, just as the Ghostbusters level pack was, there are a good few hours of storyline to work your way through, and that’s before the obligatory completionist run-through to mop up all of those golden bricks extends the run-time further. Clearly your investment in the Harry Potter lore and the newly created Fantastic Beasts storyline will dictate how much this is an essential purchase, but the likeable lead, fun narrative, and endearing soundtrack make this perfect for some relaxed gaming.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them makes for another welcome entry to the steadily growing Lego Dimensions roster. While there’s nothing here to surprise anyone that’s played any of the Traveller’s Tales games of the past decade – particularly the Harry Potter entries – it continues the series’ reputation for unadulterated fun, all within JK Rowling’s enchanting magical world.
Version Tested: PS4
- Developer:Traveller's Tales
- Publisher:Warner Bros.
- Platforms:PS4, XBO, PS3, X360, Wii U
- Release Date:29/09/15