This is what we know about the workings of the AR app:
- Lego Hidden Side includes a series of eight “haunted” building sets, which include functionality and secret surprises that, on their own, already provide the build and roleplay of any Lego play theme.
- Each model can be built as it appears by day, such as a school house, bus, or graveyard, but through the app transforms into the haunted version of itself.
- Activating the dedicated augmented reality app developed for the theme brings the models to life.
- Lego promises a hidden world of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve.
- The packaging suggests additional characters available in the AR experience.
- The app lets one assume a first-person perspective with two characters – Jack and Parker – as they explore their hometown of Newbury, using their mobile phones to see and solve paranormal mysteries beneath the surface of their environment.
- The app can be used to detect virtual ghosts inhabiting the play sets.
- Game play prompts one to hold the phone up to the physical Lego models and interact with various “points of possession,” which release virtual ghosts that must then be “captured” to stop the haunting.
- The app experience will continue to expand after launch, with the addition of new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomisation of gameplay. That implies that the experience will be different every time one plays with a set.
Possibly the most intriguing aspect of the app is that various scenarios involve dynamic gameplay that requires one to “keep one hand in each world” to progress the play.
Says Donaldson: “As we have designed LEGO Hidden Side, physical manipulation of the LEGO models alters the AR experience, and the AR experience prompts new things to discover in the physical models, creating a deeply engaging reciprocal play experience in two worlds that has never been seen before.”
There is a bonus in the app, for those who want to explore it without owning any of the kits: it includes a digital game that can be played independently of the sets.
“We’re leveraging some of the best elements of mobile games to keep the experience fresh, encouraging kids to return to their Lego sets time and again to see what is different,” says Donaldson.
The Lego Hidden Side app will be a free download from the iOS App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android handsets. For more information, visit www.lego.com/hiddenside
The Lego Hidden Side sets are available from The Great Yellow Brick online store or from the Lego Certified Stores.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee