It's a me, Lego-Mario! In addition to his appearances in video games of all kinds, the world-famous plumber is not only good as the hero of an amusement park that is currently under construction and as the star of the upcoming Mario animation film, no, Super Mario is also ideally suited as a block companion. Lego and Nintendo prove this together with a whole range of interactive Mario Lego sets. But are the plastic-packed packages even worth the money? Does the concept work (spoiler: yes), and probably even more important, is it also fun? And for whom are the sets actually intended, who strikes, who better to keep away from them? We took a close look at the starter set and two of the expansion sets, set up, tried out and completed (the Lego levels) – and came to the conclusion that, as always, there is no clear answer to all of the above questions. But slowly, slowly: let's start with the basics.
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The various Mario Lego sets are basically classic 2D Mario levels in the real world Lego variant. That means, after you've built a set, you could "play it through". So that this works, the Mario figure has two buttons (Bluetooth and Power), several displays, a speaker, sensors on the underside and a motion sensor. Mario basically works independently, but can also be connected to a smartphone or tablet on which the Mario Lego app is installed via a wireless Bluetooth connection. Then the application records your "games", primarily the coins you have collected and the enemies you have killed. Coins, the timer, the current subsurface (lava, meadow, water and so on) and other basic information can also be seen on a small display located in Mario's stomach. Further
Screens are in the face and represent the eyes and mouth of the Nintendo plumber. A really smart idea, Mario can display so different emotions and reactions, so diversified facial expressions. Together with his voice and various typical sounds as well as some iconic Mario pieces of music from the built-in speaker, playing or generally interacting with Lego Mario is really fun. Discovering new functions is especially fun. For example, just lay Lego-Mario flat on his back while he's switched on and wait a moment to see what happens …
The optical sensor on Mario's underside is essential for its functioning. This recognizes both different colors and different barcodes that are printed on some Lego tiles. This allows Mario to react to the underground, but also to opponents such as Gumba, Koopa or Bowser Jr. and other elements such as question mark blocks. For example, if the figure steps on red underground, i.e. lava, Mario reacts accordingly. If you bounce a gumba on the head, you will hear the corresponding sounds and collect coins. The motion sensor also registers Mario's position and thus records the height of the jump, for example. So it is possible to "play through" the different sets individually or in combination, whereby you can connect and combine level parts of different sets with each other completely freely and as you like. Incidentally, the Mario figure can also be used with the NES Lego set, which was also released on August 1st, the optical sensor on the underside is also used here.
Source: PC Games
But what always comes before the game with Lego sets? Exactly, the assembly, at least as relevant to the fun as using the ready-made set. Unfortunately, the Mario sets do not come with any classic building instructions on paper, instead there is only a very brief quickstart guide, which essentially contains the information that you should download the app. This is available for devices with Android and iOS and not only tracks your "games", but also includes virtual building instructions for all sets. You can imagine that in a very similar way to the Labo sets, whose virtual building instructions are also presented on the switch's screen. The whole thing works well in any case and so it was easy for us to assemble the starter set and two extension sets. No wonder, as the sets are actually aimed at a younger target group, i.e. primarily children. Despite the detailed instructions, they are likely to be a little more demanding when assembling, but as an adult there is really no challenge in this.
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We still had fun. When typical Mario levels and iconic opponents like Bowser Jr. and Co. gradually emerge from the initially felt countless colorful individual parts, and in the end result in a nice overall picture, then there is simply joy; even without great demands. We couldn't try it out ourselves due to the lack of children in the office, but we still claim that building together with parents and children should also be some fun. In any case, there is definitely some plastic waste, as each set contains several bags. While this makes the organization easier to assemble, it is not particularly sustainable. The use of compostable plastic for the bags would be an alternative and a step in that direction, such packaging is now available in all shapes and forms. After all, Lego is now making some of its own blocks from renewable raw materials.
Source: PC Games
All sets and extensions
Are you keen to call all sets of the Mario Lego series your own? Then you should have a few pennies on the high edge, because as to be expected with Lego (and Nintendo), the sets are not exactly cheap. The starter set called "Adventure with Mario" – essential because it includes the Mario figure – costs 59.99 euros. A total of eight different expansion sets are also available: "Guarded Fortress" (49.99 euros), "Desert Pokey" (19.99 euros), "Wummps Lava-Ärger" (19.99 euros), "Piranha Plant- Powerwippe "(29.99 euros)," Riesen-Kugelwillis "(29.99 euros)," Marios Haus und Yoshi "(29.99 euros)," Toad's treasure hunt "(79.99 euros) and" Bowser's fortress "( 99.99 euros). There are also four different suits for Mario, each costing 9.99 euros: Fire Mario, Cat Mario, Builder Mario and Propeller Mario. And as if that weren't enough, there are also ten different typical opponents from the Mario universe at 3.99 euros each, which are in random packs. So you don't know what you're buying. You can either catch Paragumba, Fuzzy, Stachi, Bummelkäfer, Kugelwilli, Bob-omb, Cheep Cheep, Blooper, Igloo or Spukmatz. Let's assume that you buy exactly ten of the random enemy packs and just happen to catch different characters. If you want to collect all the sets and figures from the Mario Lego series, you have to put a total of around 500 euros on the table. A really proud sum, despite all the great ideas, good implementations and Lego qualities.
By the way, here you will find an overview of where you can buy the Mario Lego sets.
Source: PC Games
Are the Mario Lego sets worth the high prices? Matter of opinion. The quality is right, that's what you're used to from Lego. Typical figures from the mushroom kingdom such as bob-ombs, koopas, gumbas, piranha plants and Co. are lovingly and thoughtfully implemented and make the hearts of Lego-enthusiastic Nintendo fans beat faster. The mechanisms of traps, power blocks and the like are cleverly designed and fascinate at the beginning, but then wear out quickly. This also applies to the "gameplay". If we had a lot of fun assembling it, this also applied to the first two or three rounds through our self-assembled Lego levels. But then we had enough quickly. Certainly younger players should have a little longer fun maneuvering Block Mario through and over the plastic levels, but the possibilities are simply limited, even with expansion sets. We liked the Mario figure well until the end. The different interaction thanks to displays, sound output and sensors surprises again and again and makes for some smirkers and many a laugh.
Source: PC Games
So recommendable for children, not for adults? That depends of course on the person. Without a doubt, the Mario Lego sets should arouse some interest among collectors. And if you are into Lego anyway and like Nintendo, the crossover of both worlds should probably be interesting even without collecting ambitions. But anyone who hopes to have as much fun and variety with "playing through" the Lego levels as with a real Mario game for a Nintendo console will inevitably be disappointed. As is so often the case in life, it's all a question of how you look at things.
Great ideas, assembling is fun, but “playing” wears out quickly.
I had a lot of fun with the Mario Lego sets. If I was initially annoyed about the missing paper instructions, I got along really well with the interactive app variant and then had the most fun assembling the levels. Trying out the different functions was also exciting, but only once or twice, after which the surprise effect was worn out again. Nevertheless, I was happy, as I was not only a lifelong Nintendo fan, but also an enthusiastic Lego hobbyist for many years in my childhood. Apart from children, collectors and euphoric Lego fans, despite all the great ideas, I don't see any target group for the rather expensive sets. I would still like to assemble all the other extension sets.
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