Lego Hidden Side: Combining Legos and Augmented Reality!

As a long time Lego builder with 25 years of experience (should consider putting this up on my resume), learning about Lego Hidden Side brought a whole lot of excitement to the kid inside me. While the combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Lego isn’t entirely new for the brick company (yes, they did attempt to have virtual Lego sets using AR technology), this second attempt certainly is more promising.

What is Lego Hidden Side?

For those worried that it’ll simply be virtual stickers that one can put up on physical brick sets, worry not. Lego Hidden Side will indeed however combine physical Lego sets with the realm of Augmented Reality through the use of your mobile devices. How will that work? In short, it will enhance the already existent experience that kids (and let’s be honest, adults) enjoy when playing with a fresh new brick set.

Through a series of eight “haunting” themed building sets, builders will experience new functionalities when using the AR app. These sets will appear in the physical world as regular objects of the world (school bus, a house, etc.), but will transform into their haunted counter-part in the virtual realm. Upon launching the app and holding their device towards the sets, builders will have various task to accomplish.

  • Capture ghosts;
  • Solve paranormal mysteries;
  • Battle bosses;
  • And more!

An interesting feature of Lego Hidden Side is that both the physical and virtual worlds can also work independently from one another. Builders will be able to play with the brick sets should they prefer, or even enjoy the app on its own. Of course, it will be more entertaining to combine the two, especially that the Lego Company indicates that after launch, they will continue to expand the game play experience with new ghosts, challenges, and features to ensure that every experience with Hidden Side differs from the last.

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According other Pocket-Lintthe Lego Company will eventually expand the selection of building sets available, but the theme will focus around two characters, Jack and Parker, as they explore their hometown of Newbury. While it would be interesting to see more themes being added to the line of Hidden Side, it is certainly encouraging to see that the Lego Company intends to expand this new addition.

There are, however, two downsides to this new Lego feature.

  1. Considering that Lego opted for Qualcomm’s Vuforia AR technology to ensure compatibility between iOS devices and Android devices, it means that iOS users will require an iPhone 6S as a minimum requirement to activate the AR feature. While most adults will have the technology available at hand, kids on the other hand rarely have such devices. That means that they will most likely be required to use their parents’ devices, which isn’t that much of a downside as some parents will undoubtedly wish to play Hidden Side with their children (I know I would).
  2. Considering that Lego sets are always being torn apart, rebuilt, pieces spread out between different sets, etc., we have a hard time imagining people using the AR functionality for a long time. The video below shows that the response between the physical set and the app is actually quite good, but what will happen if you are missing a single piece for the set? We look forward to reviews of this new Lego addition (well, reviews excluding those based from the exposition hall, right?).

Parting Words

Advancements in Augmented Reality have certainly been impressive over the past few years, and we are very excited that they are starting to go beyond of scale of simple AR games.

Lego Hidden Side’s eight building sets are set to be released in the Summer of 2019 and will cost between $19.99 and $129.99 US.

What are your thoughts? At JIBS, we are very excited, but somewhat doubtful of the actual success of the toy. We’ll grab a couple nonetheless!

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