Ahead of the New York Toy Fair, LEGO announced one of their big surprises for the year, a brand new theme called Hidden Side!
It seems like a spooky throwback to Monster Fighters (a most excellent theme) but with an interesting twist – a companion mobile phone app that allows you to bring the set to life through the magic of augmented reality.
LEGO Hidden Side will be released in August 2019, and consists of eight sets in total:
- 70425 High School (1,474 pieces) – US$129.99 | €119.99 EUR
- 70424 Train (698 pieces) – US$89.99 | €7.99 EUR
- 70423 Bus (689 pieces) – US$59.99 | €59.99 EUR
- 70422 Diner (598 pieces) – US$49.99 | €49.99 EUR
- 70421 Truck (428 pieces) – US$39.99 | €39.99 EUR
- 70420 Graveyard (335 pieces) – US$29.99 | €29.99 EUR
- 70419 Boat (310 pieces) – US$29.99 | €29.99 EUR
- 70418 Lab (174 pieces) – US$19.99 | €19.99 EUR
These eight sets cover a wide range of different sizes and price points, which is great as it ensures that there’s something for everyone. There’s going to be what seems to be a fairly comprehensive and storyline surrounding hidden side.
The game/theme takes place in the town of Newbury and sees teenage bloggers Jake and Parker take on spooky ghosts through an app on their phone which reveals the location of supernatural and paranormal activity before capturing/defeating these spirits.
It sounds like a mish-mash of Ghostbusters and Fatal Frame.
From the looks of it, the sets are perfectly functional on their own and look like it draws inspiration from the aforementioned Monster Fighters theme, mixed with a side of some Time Cruisers.
Watch the video teaser above which shows you how the sets come to life. Paired with its own companion augmented reality app (Android and iOS), the sets come alive and serve as settings for what looks like mini-games where you can solve puzzles, catch ghosts and discover mysteries hidden within the set that’s unseen to the naked eye.
I actually really like the concept of Hidden Side (which btw, is a homonym for Hidden Sight – very clever) and I hope this theme does well.
The builds themselves seem fairly varied with a plethora of new accessories, elements and cool new minifigure accessories.
I think the blending of Augmented Reality and LEGO is very intriguing, and this is clearly aimed at kids who are addicted to their mobile devices as a way to bridge the gap between digital and physical play.
This is definitely aimed at kids, and LEGO knows it, although I think it will be quite a compelling purchase for anxious parents who want to ensure their kids don’t stay glued to their phones for extended periods of time.
I do think that this is a really challenging concept to land, and most importantly market.
Like Nexo Knights and LEGO Dimensions, this feels like yet another stab at LEGO between bridging the digital + physical divide, which is clearly worrying them as kids start spending more time on devices than playing with actual toys – an existential threat to LEGO itself.
The success of this theme comes down to how well LEGO markets this to parents, and most importantly, whether the augmented reality game portion is actually fun and can promise hours of replayability.
I’m also very intrigued by the underlying tech. Looking at the video and sets revealed so far, it doesn’t seem like there’s any specific markings on the sets, which suggests that LEGO has some sort of working LEGO-scanning and identifying technology in the backend – which is really exciting.
Also, I’m stupidly excited by this ghost dog that they’re introducing in the sets. If that isn’t the cutest LEGO thing of 2019!
So yeah, that’s what I think. I’m mildly excited by this and I hope LEGO nail the marketing aspect of this to ensure that this set achieves the success it deserves.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on LEGO Hidden Side – let me know what you think in the comments!
If you’re a parent, do you think this is something that you’d be interested to get your kids, or do you think this is something that may pry them away from Fortnite?