Games reviews roundup: Lego Dimensions; Anki Overdrive; Fifa 16

FIFA 16

Lego Dimensions
PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Warner Bros., cert: 7

★★★★

Gamers familiar with Skylanders will be instantly at home with the “toys to life” format of Lego Dimensions. For everyone else, here special real-world Lego models can be placed on a pedestal, appearing moments later in the game as interactive characters and vehicles. As with developer TT Games’ previous Lego titles, Dimensions focuses on puzzle-solving and light combat in a world built from the plastic bricks. An emphasis on blending existing licensed worlds sees locales and characters from Batman, The Simpsons and The Wizard of Oz among othersinterwoven with real grace and plenty of wit.

Where Dimensions excels, however, is in playing to Lego’s strengths. The real Lego sets can be rebuilt to reflect changes and progress in-game, resulting in a spellbinding merging of the physical and digital. Additional sets, meanwhile, add quality new models and in-game content. But they don’t come cheap, and the game’s habit of suggesting introducing extra models is almost certain to irk some parents while leaving players longing for more. WF

Anki Overdrive
iOS, Android, Anki, cert: 9

★★★★★

Moving on from the pleasingly original concept showcased in last year’s Scalextric-style Anki Drive, Overdrive brings snap-together track, new cars and game modes to the franchise in which real-life vehicles automatically steer themselves around the slot-less track as competitors use the app to hit the perfect racing line, control speed and trigger virtual laser fire, EMP blasts or drop mines. Because the cars are powered, the track can be flexed up and down, around furniture or even used outside. The app also enables cars to be upgraded and customised for the next race, while the play modes, including King of the Hill, Battleand Time Trial, underline Anki’s gaming rather than simulation aspirations.

The starter kit, it should be noted, isn’t cheap at £149.99, but offers eight tracks and two cars. Additional cars, of which four can be raced at a time, are £49.99 each, but last year’s Anki Drive vehicles are also compatible. Masterfully combining physical and virtual racing toys to create a highly enjoyable and entirely new experience, Overdrive is a fine successor to a great debut. AR

Fifa 16
PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, PC, EA, cert: 3

★★★★

Following on from Pro Evolution Soccer’s warm-up act last week, Fifa 16 arrives on the scene, with the defending champion facing a tougher test than in recent years. There are incremental improvements, but the obsession with the superficial endures, the build-up to a match resembling Sky Sports more than ever. There’s an added physicality to the players this time, rendering pace less of a killer and giving defenders greater options for easing attackers off the ball. Cerebral passing is encouraged, too, coming to the fore in the women’s game, which is represented by 12 teams.

The other big addition is that of a draft mode to the increasingly popular Ultimate Team. Rather than spending months building a squad, you can dive right in with players, draft a quality group and take on four increasingly difficult challenges, with big rewards. But the scarcity of goals at higher levels will not be to everyone’s taste, and the endless replays still frustrate, meaning for the first time in a while Fifa isn’t a clear winner on the virtual pitch. TM

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Will Freeman, Andy Robertson and Toby Moses, for The Observer on Sunday 4th October 2015 07.00 Europe/London

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