Toy Fair 2019: Lego Hidden Side is like a tiny AR Ghostbusters escape room

CNET | 2/16/2019 | Scott Stein
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I'm looking at a Lego brick construction sitting on our office table and I don't know what to make of it. It's an old mansionlike building that feels Harry Potter-esque. The building's sides bend down, windows flip open and now it's a snarling beast. I'm handed a phone, and I aim an app at the bricks. I see virtual ghosts start to appear, blending with the physical bricks. This now fits the synopsis Lego handed me:

"Jack and Parker are teenage bloggers who attend Newbury High School. Through an app on their mobile phones, they can see the unseen -- and in this case, Newbury is overrun with ghosts!"

Spooky - School

Spooky school.

An AR-equipped phone app finds the ghosts in the set and sucks them up, collecting them like Pokemon. The kits feel like little movie sets, where the game plays out via augmented-reality characters that appear on the tiny stages. You don't technically need to use the phone app to put Hidden Side sets together, but the extra gameplay and missions are a big part of the package. Lego promises a number of unfolding puzzle challenges in each set, and a possibility of new events that unfold over time.

Lego - Hidden - Side - Feels - Reality

Watch this: Lego Hidden Side feels like an augmented reality haunted...

I was immediately reminded of Nintendo's ghost-hunting Luigi's Mansion game, but in this case there are actual physical Lego bricks. That, and of course, Ghostbusters, plus a bit of Pokemon Go. Lego's previous AR apps for specific Lego kits were built off Apple's ARKit. Lego: Hidden Side's inspiration started further back, with the success of app-enabled kits like Lego Nexo Knights. Lego's AR app for Hidden Side was custom-built to work with both iPhones and AR-ready Android phones, but that also means no multiplayer (a feature that's possible in Lego Playgrounds, which allows more than...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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