Ever since the idea of LEGO manufacturing figures of Doctor Who characters first crossed people’s minds, we’ve been desperately clamouring for the crossover to happen – it made so much sense, and yet it somehow seemed such an impossible dream. Thankfully, that dream became a reality in 2015 with the release of TT Games’ LEGO Dimensions for Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Not only did it usher in the first wave of Doctor Who themed LEGO figures, but it also gave us a brand new Doctor Who video game experience. The question is – was the wait worth it?
Let’s be completely honest, Doctor Who has never translated particularly well into the virtual world. While there have been valiant attempts at producing a Doctor Who video game in recent years – The Adventure Games and The Eternity Clock standing out as two of the better efforts – they’ve never quite reached the potential we all know it could be capable of. The LEGO series of video games though seem to offer a perfect fit with its tried and tested gameplay formula, swapping out intense action for puzzle solving and by-the-numbers story design for sharply written wit and humour. Rest assured, it is a match made in heaven.
Considering Doctor Who is an entirely new franchise to the LEGO universe, there’s a surprising amount of content centred around it in LEGO Dimensions. Ultimately, it’s split up into a number of chunks – “A Dalektable Adventure”, “The Dalek Extermination of Earth”, the Doctor Who Adventure World, and the characters themselves – some of which are available straight out of the basic starter pack, and others you’ll need to fork out some extra cash for.
The one piece of content that everyone will be able to play is “A Dalektable Adventure”, which serves as the fourth stage in Dimensions’ story mode. While you don’t actively play as any of the Doctor Who characters in this level, their presence is more than felt – The Doctor saves Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf from a rift loop and drops them off on an unspecified planet. Call it, I dunno, “Dave”. There, they must navigate a desolate space station under siege from some of The Doctor’s greatest enemies – classic set-up for a Who-themed plot if ever there was one. Initially, you’ll square off against the Cybermen and the Cyber King, later encountering the Weeping Angels in one of the game’s most tense and dramatic set pieces, before finally facing the Daleks and their Emperor in a climactic confrontation. It’s reasonably lengthy and there’s loads of neat little touches for eagle-eyed fans, too – references to Bad Wolf and the crack in the wall to name but a couple.
As serviceable as the story mode level is, though, it’s merely an appetiser for what’s on offer should you go out and purchase the Doctor Who level pack. In addition to the fantastic Twelfth Doctor, TARDIS, and K-9 LEGO mini-figs, you get a whole new and even more exciting level – “The Dalek Extermination of Earth”. Playing out just like an episode of the TV series, it begins with a pre-titles scene before bursting into an incredibly faithful LEGO recreation of the Twelfth Doctor title sequence, sprinkled with added cameos from all thirteen Doctor incarnations. After that, it’s back down to business, as this time you take control of Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord on the streets of a Dalek-ravaged London. It’s a thrilling story that will take you from Earth to Skaro, with plenty of time-travelling and planet hopping along the way. It’s, even more, chock-full of fanservice too – keep a look out for Autons and posters of Li H’sen Chang from The Talons of Weng-Chiang!
Upon completing the level pack you then gain access to the Doctor Who Adventure World which is where you’ll likely spend most of your time, and this is also where you can unlock The Doctor’s previous regenerations to play as. Here you can venture between a wide array of locales including 21st Century London, Victorian London, Skaro, Mars, Telos, and Trenzalore – in fact, the only real missed opportunity is Gallifrey, but seeing as this was released before the Series 9 finale its omission is understandable. Throughout the different areas you’ll encounter familiar faces like Missy, Strax, and Madame Vastra who will set you unique missions and objectives inspired by Doctor Who canon past and present – one moment you’ll be tunnelling deep underground to stop a Silurian uprising, the next you’ll be helping Rusty the Friendly Dalek fend off his evil brethren. Or, perhaps, you’ll be searching every nook and cranny in the capital of England to find a bunch of runaway dancing Ood that Captain Jack Harkness is recruiting to give the Face of Boe a birthday routine to remember. No joke.
As if it wasn’t obvious enough by now, there’s an awful lot of love that’s gone into every part of Doctor Who in LEGO Dimensions, perhaps nowhere more evident than in the voice work. Lending their vocal talents to their respective roles are Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, Julian Bleach, John Barrowman, Neve McIntosh, Dan Starkey, Nicholas Briggs… it’s a mighty list, and when you take into account that some franchises in the game are stuck with soundalikes, it’s, even more, proof of the care that’s been lavished on here.
There’s so much more that could be said – the fact that every Doctor has their own individual animations and TARDIS interior, the fact that you can change the entire soundtrack to just Doctor Who music, the fact that the Doctor Who characters are some of the most versatile and useful in the game… or even just the fact that there’s nothing quite as glorious as seeing The Doctor whizzing around on the back of a Dalek, firing extermination beams at helpless Cybermen. This is the ultimate Doctor Who toy box and bar the possibility of future packs adding, even more, content, the only real limit to its potential is your imagination. You can even use your collected LEGO studs to upgrade the TARDIS, K-9, and the Dalek into souped-up versions of themselves with even more crazy powers and abilities.
So, do we recommend the Doctor Who content in LEGO Dimensions? Absolutely! If you want to scratch that gaming itch and get a healthy dose of fanservice, you can’t go far wrong with this. The only caveat is the entry fee – it could potentially cost just under £150 to access all of the Doctor Who content, depending on which version you opt for – but if you have the money to spend, then this incredibly fine effort from TT Games certainly won’t disappoint.