For many years LEGO® and Nintendo fans alike have yarned for the legendary companies to work together. Little did we know that for over four years, teams in Billund and Kyoto have been secretly working to create what we now know as LEGO Super Mario. But this is unlike anything either company has done before, yet remains truly rooted in both LEGO and Nintendo’s fine-tuned DNA. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing every set in the range, but there is a key component which links every single one of these sets.
Nintendo has curated a stable of iconic characters over the years, from their very first game in 1981 to modern-day smash hits such as Animal Crossing. Every character featured in their games is loved by gamers of all ages. But there is one who has stood the test of time, features in a vast array of games and just so happens to be celebrating his 35th anniversary this year – it’s-a-him Mario!
Just as Mario can turn his hand to almost any job, his LEGO outing is central to the LEGO Super Mario experience. Instead of a standard Minifigure, LEGO Mario is an interactive figure. In technical terms that means he features a tiny LCD screen to create animated expressions, a speaker for all those well-known catchphrases and a colour sensor to interact with the environment, all powered by two AAA batteries. Combining all these elements brings LEGO Mario to life.
But why do we need a blinking, catchphrase spouting figure instead of a normal Minifigure? Because the key to LEGO Super Mario is play. LEGO Mario can jump around the various courses which you can build with the additional sets and where he can collect coins, just as you would in a Mario videogame. This isn’t just a fancy extension to LEGO Dimensions readable discs, LEGO Mario is fully capable of recognising certain colours which tie to in-game biomes. He can also scan special pre-applied surface stickers. Certain motions can also activate fun sound effects, switch LEGO Mario on and you’ll be welcomed by a cheery “LEGO Mario time!”. Landing on a red surface conjures up that familiar fire burn sound, a swift up motion is paired with an equally familiar jump noise. Even lying LEGO Mario down causes him to fall asleep, complete with snoozing.
LEGO Mario does look a little odd but it works in the concept of the brick-built recreation of the Mushroom Kingdom. The actual figure is smaller than I expected and is created by seven elements. The base body, a pair of dungarees, ears and buttons, plus that all-important hat. In terms of connection points, there are four studs on LEGO Mario’s head, his feet can connect to studded surfaces and his hands, although bigger than a standard Minifigure’s have a smaller in-lay in the grip making them able to hold all sorts of normal accessories.
When the LEGO Mario was first revealed, I was a little unsure about the design. Minifigures are a key component to many LEGO sets, but they wouldn’t work here. After all the sets were created in full partnership with Nintendo, as many fans will know, don’t do things by the book. Sure an oddly cubed Mario looks odd, but it’s not overly different to having the world-famous plumber, don a doctors coat, painters overalls, football kit, the list goes on. This unique approach to bringing the world of Mario to life with LEGO bricks is perfectly summed up with LEGO Mario.
LEGO Mario is only found in the Starter Course set, which I will be reviewing shortly. You can pre-order the set now ahead of its release on August 1st. He can be kitted out in additional outfits, which unlock further abilities.
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This set was provided to BricksFanz.com by the LEGO Group for purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are that of BricksFanz.com and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing the set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.