Lego Fusion Town Master review: It's like The Sims with Legos

lego fusion town
At a Glance
  • Lego Group Lego Fusion Town Master

When I was a kid, my brother and I played with our Lego bricks every Saturday and Sunday morning, from whenever ridiculously early time he would wake me until eventually we’d get in a fight and accidentally wake up our parents. I can still picture the giant roofless mansions we’d construct, homes for our Lego people, garages for their flying cars, and pool houses and guest houses and treehouses—only the finest in plastic brick real estate.

Lego Fusion Town Master combines the fun of designing your own Lego buildings with the clever cuteness of the Lego videogame series. The set comes with a “fusion plate,” upon which you construct the facade of a building with the included bricks. Then using the camera on an iOS or Android phone or tablet, you capture an image of the facade, and little Lego construction workers spring into action, fleshing it out as a 3D building in your little Lego town.

lego fusion build

If you build it, it is fun.

Each building houses a new citizen, and their requests nudge you to keep building: One is hungry, so you build a pizza parlor. They love transportation, so you’ll build a bike shop, skateboard shop, roller skate shop, even a pogo-stick store. Then of course they’ll hurt themselves with all those toys, so you’ll have to build a hospital, change into your EMT gear, and go to their rescue. You’ll also fight fires, chase down burglars, and rescue Lego people who get stuck in trees. You don’t have to worry about laying roads—those are automatically generated as you put down buildings, and you can always rearrage buildings and decorations to your heart’s content. It’s kind of like playing The Sims, if you were pausing every couple of minutes to build something with Legos.

You’re allowed to reuse your own models whenever you want, so in theory you could make one generic building and use it over and over. But it’s more fun to make a police station with red and yellow “lights” on top, or a clock store that looks like a grandfather clock, or a school that resembles an apple. Still, it was nice to be able to keep playing the game even when I needed a break from building. This game is aimed at kids 7 to 12, so if they wanted to play a little in the car or at a restaurant, for example, they might not have access to their stash of bricks.

lego fusion scanning

Scanning gets easier as you get "the touch" through practice. 

And even if they did, you need good conditions to get the facades to scan in properly. The game has you line up the fusion plate with an overlay on the screen, then when the app detects the fusion plate, you have to move the camera back and down so it can see the whole facade. Then you press the green button while holding the device as still as you can. In my playtime, the app would either scan my building in right away with no problems, or it would stubbornly refuse to see the fusion plate at all.

Lighting and a still, empty background seem to be key: If it was too dim in the room, or I was trying to stand my building on top of a bedspread or other patterened surface, forget it. My hardwood floor worked well but my bedside table did not. My desk didn’t work, but my kitchen table was fine. The app got significantly more reliable after an update, so hopefully with another update or two it’ll improve some more and eliminate my sporadic moments of frustration.

lego fusion mission bird

One of my missions was to find and photograph this bird. Squawk!

When everything’s working, the game is adorable. There’s some reading, but not much in the way of strategy. You just complete missions when they pop up and keep expanding your town in between. It played just as well on an iPhone 5c as on an iPad—the iPhone’s smaller size actually made it easier to point the camera and then press the button without moving the phone. Lego still needs to add a way to sync your town up to the cloud so you can access it from different devices. More building types and missions are unlocked as you play, so there’s plenty to do, even if the missions themselves are a little repetitive. Designing your own buildings is a hoot, and so is rearranging your entire town on a whim, picking up trees, decorations, and even buildings and flinging them into new locations.

Bottom line

Lego Fusion Town Master is a fun toy for kids who are already super creative with their Legos, as well as kids who might need some prompts besides “build anything you want.” That’s almost too open-ended, so getting specific directions like “design a flower store” might be just the thing to trigger a creative response. The set is also priced very reasonably at $35. In addition to Town Master, two other Lego Fusion sets are available: Battle Towers is a tower defense game in which you use the bricks to design levels of a fortress you then must defend from attacks, and Create & Race has you designing your own vehicles to race, perform stunts, or smash up in a demolition derby. They’re all available starting Thursday at Toys R Us and Lego stores.

This story, "Lego Fusion Town Master review: It's like The Sims with Legos" was originally published by TechHive.

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At a Glance
  • Lego Group Lego Fusion Town Master

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