Lego Fusion merges physical brick-building and digital play
By Simon Crisp
June 20, 2014
Lego has revealed a new line of play kits which are designed to combine its traditional brick-building and app-based gaming. The new Lego Fusion range will allow children to photograph their physical creations using a smartphone or tablet, and then see them brought to life in virtual worlds.
There will initially be four Lego Fusion sets: Town Master, Battle Towers, Create and Race, and Resort Designer. Each kit will consist of more than 200 Lego pieces, a "capture plate" to build on, and will be accompanied by a free downloadable app for iOS or Android. The purpose of the capture plate is to allow the app to identify the size and colors of the Lego bricks used.
As prompted in the games, users build on the capture plate and import their creations by pointing the device's camera at them. At this point, the constructions are incorporated into the digital world, allowing them to be played with virtually. In games with buildings, 2D façade creations (their capture plates are just one row of studs deep) are automatically transformed into 3D buildings.
Gamers are then, through a series of challenges and interactions, required to continue building in the real world, to progress in the game. This creates a constant back-and-forth between the physical and virtual elements of play. Lego says this engages children in both the digital world and the real-life one, and helps combat the "zombie gaze" that parents will recognize in their app-playing kids.
In Lego Fusion Town Master, users create their own Lego town, building things like houses, restaurants, a fire station and shops, and importing them into the game. They also complete errands and missions, such as catching robbers, fighting fires and skateboarding, all while trying to keep citizens happy. Resort Designer, which is part of the Lego Friends line-up, works in much the same way, but with a holiday resort theme … and more pink bricks.
The Battle Towers set requires players to build a tower and then defend it against virtual attack in a bid to rule a kingdom. Damage to towers in the app can be repaired by completing timed real-world building challenges. In Lego Fusion Create and Race, players construct a car which can be taken for a virtual spin in races, demolition challenges or used to perform stunts. Every brick used in the real-world car will have an impact on its performance in the game.
From September, users of Lego Fusion sets will also be able to access their digital creations from any compatible device. After logging into the Lego Fusion app with a Lego ID, they'll be able to see and select their gallery and game play progress.
Aimed at 7-12 year-olds, Lego Fusion Town Master, Battle Towers and Create and Race will go on sale in August. They will be followed by the Resort Designer kit, which will be released in September. The kits will cost US$35 each.