Some of the most intriguing sets this month are from the new LEGO Hidden Side theme, combining physical play with augmented reality. The sets are reminiscent of the LEGO Monster Fighters collection from 2012, which included similarly spooky, ghostly haunted sets, but also has a strong LEGO Stranger Things and LEGO Scooby-Doo vibe with kids being the main characters. I know many of you are interested in this new collection because of the interesting designs, unique pieces, excellent minifigures, and the augmented reality expansion. So, let’s take a closer look.
Here is the official description of the theme: Hidden Side invites kids to join a fearless team of ghost hunters, who dare see the unseen and help turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. This new theme includes a series of “haunted” building sets full of awesome functionality and secret surprises that, on their own, provide the build and roleplay fun of any LEGO theme. Activating the free augmented reality app brings the models to life, revealing a hidden world of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve. When combined, the two worlds make each other even more compelling and fun. The app also consists of a digital game that kids can play independent of the building set.
The main characters of the LEGO Hidden Side story are Jack Davids, Parker Jackson, scientist J.B, and Douglas (a.k.a. El Fuego). Jack is the 13-year-old son of the school headmaster, and he has a ghost dog named Spencer. He is into live-streaming to his online video channel, BOO-Tube. Parker is also 13, and lived in the town of Newbury with her parents all her life. She always suspected that something was off about the town. J.B. enjoys being the brains behind the local ghost-hunting operation and all the gang’s ghost-hunting gear, while leaving all the messy work to the kids. She eats, works and sleeps in her lab, except when she’s driving Sweet Sally, her old decked-out school bus. Douglas is the groundskeeper of Newbury Middle and High School with mad mechanical skills that turn out to be valuable assets to the ghost hunting team.
To enjoy the augmented reality aspect of the sets, you will need to download the LEGO Hidden Side app at the Apple App store or the Google Play store. And to make sure your device is compatible, you can visit the LEGO Hidden Side Device Guide. You will find drop-down lists for both Android and IOS compatibility, so you can look for your particular phone or tablet. It seems that compatibility is pretty good, and the app should be able to work on most modern devices.
The app can recognize the set immediately, and expand the setting around it in virtual reality. It’s pretty cool to see. There is also some interaction between the built sets and the app. By changing the positions and colors of certain components, you also make changes in the game. This interaction is not very extensive, but it’s still interesting and engaging. In the player below, I have included reviews of the LEGO Hidden Side sets by JANGBRiCKS. He will show you both the details of the sets and how they interact with the app.
The LEGO Hidden Side collection is going to be quite large. Nine sets are already available, with more coming in the future. Currently available sets are the #40336 LEGO Hidden Side Newsbury Juice Bar, the #70418 LEGO Hidden Side J.B.’s Ghost Lab, the #70419 LEGO Hidden Side Wrecked Shrimp Boat (this seems to be a very popular set), the #70420 LEGO Hidden Side Graveyard Mystery, the #70421 LEGO Hidden Side El Fuego’s Stunt Truck, the #70422 LEGO Hidden Side Shrimp Shack Attack, the #70423 LEGO Hidden Side Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 (another very popular set), the #70424 LEGO Hidden Side Ghost Train Express (super interesting train with many great parts and new tracks!), and the #70425 LEGO Hidden Side Newbury Haunter High School, which is the hotspot for ghost activity. I do recommend checking out the sets in detail because you will find many interesting new pieces and building techniques. You can find pictures and full description of all the sets at the LEGO Hidden Side section of the Online LEGO Shop.
LEGO Hidden Side will also have a video series with episodes posted on the LEGO Hidden Side website, and I assume will be available on LEGO’s YouTube channel as well. We discussed the trailer previously, but I’m posting it here again for your convenience.
In summary, it appears that the LEGO Hidden Side theme has been a hit so far. Older LEGO fans are excited about the interesting sets, the great minifigs, and the unique pieces and colors. And kids like the idea of combining their building sets with virtual play. In reality, there is not much interaction between the build sets and the games in the app, but I think that’s okay for now. If everything works well with the first wave of sets, LEGO could add more interaction in the future. This is still a pretty new technology, so it’s best to do small but sure steps that make LEGO fans happy.
What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Hidden Side theme? Did you get any of the sets yet? Have you had a chance to play with the app? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
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