I’ve never been hugely into collecting LEGO (unless it’s for a franchise that I really love). It wasn’t until LEGO Dimensions, that I became hugely addicted because of the building and interactive elements. That’s what had me instantly intrigued about LEGO Super Mario. All of these beloved Nintendo characters in LEGO formation thrown together with hugely impressive innovative technology.
Ripping open the starter course, your first task is to build Mario, which at first, doesn’t look that out of the ordinary, but once he’s built and turned on, you realise just how much tech is packed into the little guy. He’s got screens for eyes, a screen on his chest (which we’ll get to in a bit), bluetooth connectivity, a speaker and the ability to scan both colours and RFID tags.
This is just the beginning of how this experience differs from a regular LEGO build. From this point onwards, you almost never touch a physical booklet again, instead using special LEGO Mario app that will interactively walk you through building every part of the course, including enemies and obstacles before then creatively showing you how to piece it all together to create an interactive Mario course from start to finish.
Personally, the digital aspect took a little bit of the joy out of building for me, but I definitely understand why it was necessary here, and once I started building the parts, and adding elements, I definitely learned to love and appreciate the app a lot more. I also got a lot of great ideas from the app, which does a great job of serving up other people’s builds and providing weekly challenges.
The starter course comes with all the necessary things needed to create a Mario course (no matter how big or small). You get a starting pipe, which is what starts the countdown timer for your level, the end flag pole, which marks completes the level, a number of red, blue and green course bricks, Bowser Jr, a goomba and a number of unique obstacles.
It doesn’t sound all that complex, but it’s surprisingly deep. Mario recognises whether he’s stepping on either grass, water or fire, by a symbol on the screen of his chest as well as letting out audible noises (obviously he’s not too happy if you keep him on fire for too long).
Similarly, the obstacles all provide different challenges for Mario. For instance, the cloud one will have you floating Mario through the air (complete with the cloud music) whilst the spinning block will have you spin Mario around, without him falling off to collect coins. It’s something you have to experience to fully understand. I know it sounds silly, and you’ll probably feel silly playing out the actions as well, but it works, and really damn well at that.
Enemies also all have RFID tags on the back of them and provide different responses based on how you hit them. Some larger enemies like Bowser Jr takes more hits to take down, and will often come with a contraption to throw them off of the course, for instance, Bowser Jr has a contraption that allows him to be thrown out of the castle.
At the completion of every level, your coins are tallied up and sent back to your app. You can then take a photo of the level that you’ve created and upload it onto the internet for others to take inspiration from. The fun really begins when you start adding expansion sets, and I was super surprised with how much fun was packed into the few I received.
For instance, the Piranha Plant Power Slide Expansion Set, has you balancing Mario in a cart between two Piranha Plants collecting bonus coins depending on the length of time that you can avoid each Piranha Plant, with Mario visibly and audibly taking damage when you smash either end.
Similarly, the Boomer Bill Barrage Expansion set has you dodging Boomer Bills whilst they spin around you. The Toad’s Treasure Hunt Expansion is one of the biggest (both in terms of bricks and functionality) and has you pulling down contraptions to find special blocks, and looking throughout trees for blocks. All of the other expansion sets look to bring equally exciting obstacles, and beloved characters such as Bowser, Yoshi and Toad. It’s going to quickly add up price-wise, once you start adding these into your trolley.
There’s also Power-Up packs in the former of Builder Mario, Cat Mario and Fire Mario, which allow you to earn extra coins by having Mario climb walls or fly through the sky, and there’s 10 blind character packs which have a range of characters from multiple Mario generations.
LEGO Super Mario is definitely suited at younger players. If you’ve got kids, or nephew/nieces, then this is absolutely a no-brainer. It’s obviously fun for anyone to build, and the tech absolutely blew my mind, so I can only imagine what it would do for kids. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the world of Mario. If you’re an adult you’re probably not going to spend hours upon hours playing with each set if you’re an adult, but there’s definitely still fun to be had, and the characters will look mighty nice on your shelf.
LEGO Super Mario releases on August 1st. The Starter Course cost $89.99, Expansion Sets cost between $49.99-$199.99, Power-Up Packs cost $12.99 and Character Packs cost $5.99. You can preorder the starter pack HERE.
LEGO Super Mario is a triumph for both the LEGO and Nintendo brands. It successfully brings together two beloved households names to create a fun and unique piece of tech that provides an experience like no other.