LEGO sets come to life with Playgrounds AR app for iPhone

LEGO has launched its latest augmented reality (AR) experiment: LEGO Playgrounds for iPhone.

Available for the iPhone 6S and later, the app connects with sets and brings them to life with AR effects and games to play. The first supported sets – the NINJAGO Dieselnaut (60654) and NINJAGO Dragon’s Pit (70655) – will let players “team up with a friend to battle against the Dragon Hunters, share power-ups and 3D assets, create strategies to withstand the endless waves of Dragon Hunters and even compare high-scores with friends.”

If you don’t have those two particular sets, there are two reasons not to worry. Firstly, more will be added over time, and secondly, you can see what you’re missing by using the app without the sets – though you’ll be capped to five levels, apparently.

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Children today are mastering the art of finding new moments and forms of play and LEGO Playgrounds will provide a ‘live’ opportunity to test and learn directly with them,” said Tom Donaldson, Vice President of Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group. Having this direct-link to users creates a win for everybody – sharing the latest play experiences is great fun for children and highly useful for our LEGO design and development teams who can take their feedback and use it to make launch experiences even better and more engaging.”

For parents concerned about the usual pitfalls of ads and microtransactions, you can relax because the app will never contain either, according to LEGO. It’s a genuinely free to play experience, although LEGO does suggest that these first sets are reserved for children of nine and over “due to the gameplay and storyline complexity.”

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You can download LEGO Playgrounds for iPhone right now, and give it a spin for yourself.

Does LEGO need augmented reality, or is the joy in a tech-free toy? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews