As much as we like to shake our metaphorical canes at kids and lament how they're all about Minecraft and Fortnite these days, the truth is that they're still really big into physical play too. Children still love Lego, both the plastic bricks and the worlds they can create with them. However, the company is now going to try to unite all these different aspects -- building, video gaming and storytelling -- with its new AR-based line, Lego Hidden Side. Kids can construct sets and bring them to life using their phones, with a continuing narrative to keep them coming back for more.
Hidden Side isn't Lego's first foray into augmented reality. In the past it's experimented with letting you use AR to preview toys in the store, and last year the Lego Playgrounds app used ARKit2 to add animation and other flourishes to existing sets. Hidden is the first line designed around the tech, with a storyline that's only fully accessed through the app.
Lego Hidden revolves around two students, Parker and Jack, who end up investigating the supernatural in their small town of Newbury. The initial building sets include locations that would be instantly familiar to any kid with a penchant for urban fantasy: a high school and a graveyard. Once assembled, each kit has secrets that can be unveiled by pulling and pushing different parts, like the school will sprout evil eyes and claws when you turn the clock attached to the front of the building. But the real surprises come when kids point a phone camera at it and look through the app. Then the set will be infested with ghosts that they need to investigate and zap and then send data about them back to their professor, J.B. Read more