The Lego Batman Movie is an absolute delight at the cinema. It’s easily one of the best Batman movies they’ve ever made, and if you’ve been a fan of the character your whole life – and really, who hasn’t? – you absolutely need to see it on the big screen. Just as with other story packs, the latest addition Lego Dimensions level pack allows you to play through the movie across six levels, infused with all of the trademark humour you’d expect, though those hoping for a full length game like as The Lego Movie had may feel somewhat short-changed by the shift to a Dimensions’ pack.
Right off the bat, it’s nice to be able to add to the well-used Lego Dimensions Caped Crusader’s family, with the movie pack including both Robin and Batgirl minifigures who look exactly like their ‘real-life’ counterparts. Robin is great at acrobatics, and can sneak through small vents, while he can also become an adorable – and completely unimposing – version of Nightwing with a different set of abilities that include throwing staffs, gliding and reflecting lasers. Batgirl, meanwhile, has many of Batman’s capabilities, but adds the ability to interact with computer systems that can be unlocked via a circular maze-based puzzle. It’s not challenging in the least, but fun enough in small doses.
Alongside the two characters, your central build for the Dimensions portal this time around is the Bat-Computer, though unfortunately it’s a much sparser affair compared with the previous level packs. The cynical side of me says that the “bonus” second minifigure is where this pack’s budget may have gone, but that being said, it does look the part.
However, in terms of actual build time you’re looking at around ten minutes, which pales in comparison to both the Ghostbusters and Fantastic Beasts packs. When the builds are such an integral part of the experience, fans may well feel the wrong kind of pinch. It’s also a fiddly set with mainly small pieces, and the younger members of our household found it more annoying than is perhaps ideal.
The other build is for the pack’s vehicle the Batwing. As with most Dimensions’ vehicles it has a wonderful solidity, despite the diminutive size, and its secondary Black Thunder form is even better. One of the things I love about the Dimensions vehicles is their ability to be rebuilt, and it’s made all the better when each version of the model actually holds up as it does here.
The newest addition to the portal’s in-game arsenal is the Phase keystone, which allows you to bring in props and characters from other dimensions that’ll help you solve the puzzles. The first one we touched brought in a Pterodactyl from Jurassic World, which certainly pleased our five year old, and it’s great to see the game playing to its strengths, and that they’re mirrored in the cinematic version.
Next up is Batman’s Detective Mode, which largely just means moving your minifigure from plate to plate on the portal, while following a glowing path onscreen as we’ve done umpteen times before in the Lego games. It certainly doesn’t feel very fresh, though the first time through did at least raise a smile of recognition.
Unfortunately, and confusingly, the Lego Batman movie pack is the least loyal to the source material yet, and I kept hoping to see parts of the film that weren’t there. Instead they skim over various key moments, or alter them entirely to suit the game, while doing all of their storytelling via in-engine cutscenes.
The Lego Movie Game proved how effective using actual footage from a film can be, and while I appreciate the craftsmanship of using the game engine, and that it’s been the same throughout the Lego Dimensions run, I would have liked to see more of the movie’s actual events rather than ones that occur in/around the same vicinity, or with the same flavour. It comes off feeling more like a TV movie of the film’s events, and I was genuinely disappointed by how different it was, with the claim that you could “play the entire movie” being only loosely true.
Having said that, there are still plenty of funny moments that weren’t in the film that at least add something fresh to the experience. You’re brought crashing back down by the poor delivery from whoever they got to voice Michael Cera’s Robin – who doesn’t even behave like the film version – as well as one or two of the other celebrity-voiced characters.
There are, of course, the standard Lego game problems here as well, and the shonky platforming at one point had me ready to throw the portal and it’s entire contents across the room while jumping up and down on my controller. It’s actually painful now, but given that the Dimensions engine is unlikely to miraculously improve, we have to continue to put up with it. Plain and simple, they need to stop trying to make us jump across from one thing to another when the game isn’t capable of consistently making that a possibility.
The Lego Batman movie pack is ultimately a disappointment. The film’s plot ties perfectly into the Dimensions brand, and its vast array of licensed characters, but somehow they’ve managed to make that far less fun than it should be by watering down both the narrative and the gameplay experience. Despite the excellent minifigs and an attractive pair of builds, Travellers Tales have squandering a huge opportunity.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4