Let’s not deny it: Doctor Who is a cultural phenomenon. With over 53 years on television and countless ventures into audio, books, and other forms of entertainment, it was only a matter of time until Doctor Who took on the world video games.
After all, a Doctor Who video game makes perfect sense, surely? It’s the stuff dreams are made of, and there’s infinite potential for what you could do with the interactive medium. There’s now been a number of Doctor Who games over the years, and some have been more successful than others. The Time Lord’s digital escapades have ranged from the fun-filled to the best-forgotten (we’re looking at you, Return To Earth). There’s even been some interesting product crossovers, like the officially licensed sonic screwdriver Wii Remote! Today, we count down the Top 5 Doctor Who video games of all time: which ones best catapulted the series into a brand new dimension? Insert coin to continue… let’s find out!
5. Top Trumps: Doctor Who
This probably sounds like a bit of an odd choice for this list. When you think of Doctor Who and video games, you probably don’t instantly think of Top Trumps. But that’s exactly what happened! Top Trumps: Doctor Who launched on Wii, DS, PS2, and Windows in 2008 and was the first Doctor Who game since Destiny of the Doctors eleven years earlier. Celebrating the Ninth and Tenth Doctor eras, it included characters from Series 1-3 of the revived show, presented in the animated style of The Infinite Quest.
The gameplay is simple yet effective. Moreover, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. If you know how to play Top Trumps, you know how to play Top Trumps: Doctor Who. Each player gets a deck of cards and you choose the attributes you think you can beat your opponent at. It can get a bit repetitive, for sure, but it’s perfect for boasting your Doctor Who knowledge. You can either play alone in Adventure Mode or against a friend in multiplayer, making it an accessible entry for anyone to play. It may not be very Doctor Who, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here if you play your cards right. Ahem.
4. Doctor Who: The Adventure Games
Released episodically in 2010 and 2011, The Adventure Games were arguably the first “true” Doctor Who games. They were originally free to download in the UK and are now available worldwide for a price on Steam for Windows and Mac. This 5-part series has a lot of big names behind it from both the worlds of video games and Doctor Who. The series was developed by Sumo Digital, of Virtua Tennis and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing fame. It was also written by Doctor Who writers Phil Ford and James Moran. Even more exciting, it had the actual voices of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill!
The games themselves are a mixed bag. The first two entries, City of the Daleks and Blood of the Cybermen, feel like proper Doctor Who episodes with strong exploration and puzzle-solving mechanics. But by episode three, TARDIS, focus had shifted to fetch quests and minigames and the novelty began to fade from there. They’re still worth a look, especially at the low cost, but in the end the BBC shelved them for the next game on this list…
3. Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock
Another series of Doctor Who, another Doctor Who video game! Taking place at some point during Series 6, The Eternity Clock was released in 2012 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PC. The Eleventh Doctor and River Song team up to save Earth by collecting pieces of the Eternity Clock. Along the way they have to face off against Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians, and the Silence. No pressure, eh!
Building on what The Adventure Games started, there’s plenty of puzzles to solve and goodies to find. The Doctor can find hidden hats and River can piece together chapters from her diary. The gameplay also introduces stealth, particularly when River needs to escape from prison. Matt Smith and Alex Kingston again lend their voices to the game, making the adventure feel even more authentic. It wasn’t especially flawless or original, but by Doctor Who standards it was decent fun.
The Eternity Clock was meant to be the first in a series of new Doctor Who games, but unfortunately the sequels were cancelled. A shame, as there was definitely more potential that could have been unearthed here.
2. Doctor Who Legacy
At first glance, this seems more akin to Top Trumps: Doctor Who than it does a “proper” Doctor Who game. But when it’s this fun, what does it matter! This match-3 puzzle RPG for iOS, Android, Kindle, and Facebook from Tiny Rebel Games launched in 2013 and it’s still going strong. Even better, it’s free to play – though there are some microtransactions to help you get a head start if you need it.
The gameplay may not have much to do with Doctor Who, but the game still oozes character. As the story progresses you build up a team of classic characters and take on some of the series’ biggest bads. By joining up 3 or more of the same coloured orbs, you can attack foes or heal your party. The last one standing is the winner! It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s addictive. Anyone can play it, but Doctor Who fans will get the most out it. There’s extra characters and alternate costumes to unlock, so die-hard Whovians will want to get them all!
As well as an original narrative, the game regularly updates to tie into new seasons of the TV show. There’s even content from Titan Comics, Big Finish, and George Mann’s Engines of War. It’s a real love letter to the series and a commendable effort by any standard.
1. LEGO Dimensions
Now, here’s one no one saw coming! Doctor Who was the surprise addition to TT Games’ LEGO Dimensions, a crossover of iconic franchises in one huge game. The Doctor Who level pack was announced at San Diego Comic Con 2015 for Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Peter Capaldi returns to voice The Doctor, alongside Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, John Barrowman, and more. If that’s not enough, you also get actual LEGO figures of The Twelfth Doctor, K-9, and the TARDIS! (plus a Cyberman and Dalek for those who buy the additional Fun Pack)
There’s tons and tons of Who love in this game. There’s two levels filled with Easter eggs and references, as well as a giant Doctor Who Adventure World to explore. You’ll fight off Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Silence… even Zygons and Sontarans make an appearance! The Doctor can regenerate into all twelve (no sir, all thirteen!) incarnations, so you can play as your favourites whenever you like, complete with their own TARDIS interiors. If you still want more, you can crossover Doctor Who with the likes of Back To The Future and Lord of the Rings. Soon you’ll even be able to have him meet Harry Potter and Sonic the Hedgehog (get your sonic screwdriver jokes at the ready!).
What puts this into top place though is the gameplay. Doctor Who and LEGO just work so well together. There’s lots of clever puzzles, exceptionally witty writing, and it’s just good plain fun from start to finish. After all, no other game has Captain Jack and the Ood planning a birthday party for the Face of Boe! The only downside to this game is the expensive entry free. All the Doctor Who content doesn’t come cheap – but if you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed. Check out our review for even more reasons why this is the best Doctor Who game so far.