Its only a couple of days before the final release of LEGO Super Mario on August 1st 2020. As we continue looking at the Expansion sets, we look at Thwomp Drop. With 393 parts, it is very much a set with a couple of linked action features. Set in the dungeon levels, Mario encounters Thwomp! A living stone who would like to do nothing more than slow him down on his way.
On the front of the box, we see all that is included in the set, along with the reminder that LEGO Super Mario is NOT included in this set. We see a platform, lined with cartoon skulls, riding along a rail, crossing a path of lava. An angry Thwomp, some small platforms and a couple of podoboos complete the picture.
The back of the box adds some components from the starter set, and highlights the scannable elements (What do you mean, scannable elements, Rambling Brick? The Lego Mario Brick has a barcode reader/colour detector shining between his feet. Parts of the game for him to interact with have a reapplied barcode sticker – this includes enemies, powers and ‘Actions’ but more on these later)
Our first bag features multiple yellow as well as bright and transparent orange elements. It becomes apparent that there are duplicates of everything – and we build up a podoboo – a lava creature. We have some delightful eyes printed on a yellow tile. After scanning the completed lava bubbles, the app presents us with the remaining instructions for the set.
Our next bag contains lots of red, orange and stone grey elements: it feels like we are heading into the dungeons, with a lava stream flowing around. We have two 4×4 rounded elements featuring scannable barcodes: one on a tile, one on a plate they have the same slide/side to side logo that we saw on Whomp’s lava trouble, or Toad’s Treasure Hunt. We also have four 2×2 round tiles, printed with cartoonish skull faces. There are several 4×4 and 6×6 red plates, with rounded corners (I think of them as landscape nodes, as they define aspects of the terrain Mario is walking through. Our next bag also contains an 8×8 node plate, in red, which makes the basis of a long black and medium stone grey tower. A number of technic elements.
Out final bag gives us the elements that go towards building up Thwomp. a number of elements not visible in the final model include the newly introduced 1×1 cool yellow. So many sloped elements…How will they be incorporated into an angry, spiky, grey cube? We’ll find out eventually, I am sure.
Essentially, our final model has a rail, with a platform for Mario to ride on. there are two scannable tiles there from him to ride: one with studs, and one without. I expect this allows the option of playing in a more difficult mode, ensuring Mario does not get snowed off the platform. There are also two platforms, which seem to be meant for the podoboo’s. Behind the track, is a vertical, square pole. At its base if a box with a piston arrangement. These pistons are moved by a semicircular plate which pusses each one in, as it goes past. they are attached to a long Technic rod, concealed in the black and grey tower. Towards the top, to becomes apparent that there is a lever that moves from side to side, as the pistons are pushed by the platform, as it slides from side to side. Thwomp lives at the top… and we will talk about him a little more shortly.
One of the podoboo’s platforms looks like it has been designed to fling him him off.
Thwomp is a spiky, angry block of sentient granite, that like to do little more than fall out of the sky, and Thwomp anyone trying to get past. the internal structure features alternating slopes, resulting in partial drops the first few times the platform glides past. Until…
Once Thwomp has dropped, LEGO Super Mario can jump onto the scannable tile on top. Six scans results in a bigger and bigger explosion o Mario’s chest screen, until you finally earn the 6 points for defeating him. This can be modified by power ups (Star power:- single jump, and double points; POW Brick: single scannable to defeat him) These might be dependent on how you ultimately set up your level.
The Lava creatures, also known as podoboos, are hanging out in the dungeon levels, just living their best lives. They are each worth a single coin when scanned, and, unlike Thwomp, can be scanned multiple times during the game.
Both of these action bricks have the same effect: they work as a slider, and we have seen similar mechanics previously, except on this occasion, we have different music to the other slider and swing platforms used throughout the other expansion sets we have looked at so far.
So, how does it all come together? Mario can hop on either Action Brick of the platform. The music becomes sinister, and Mario’s accelerometer comes into play: you get a coin every time the platform changes direction. If it interacts with the pistons in front of the ‘Thwomp tower’ the block drops a small distance. On the third or forth pass – depending on how you move the platform, Thwomp drops. Hard. He is buffered by some rubber elements. As he falls, he activates a lever, resulting on one of the lava bubbles flying straight at Mario. Once he has fallen, Mario can strike – 6 jumps are required to defeat him, and collect the coins.
There are two platforms Mario can ride on: one with tiles, and one without. If on the platform without, he is more vulnerable to being knocked off the platform and stunned. This can reduced with either star power, or a super mushroom power up.
From there, Mario can leap past Thwomp, knock the other podoboo out of the way, and continue along his way.
This is another fun ‘Action Feature’ set – although like some of the others, it can only really be activated once in the time available: once Thwomp is Dropped – he stays down! In this position, he also makes it hard for Mario to ride the full length of the track: becoming a permanent obstruction. At least Mario can jump over him.
This is one of the medium sized LEGO Super Mario sets, and most of the others of this size are hop-on, hop-off. This is also one of the few sets that does not come with some form of power up brick. I think this set is great as a play feature, and also as an example of the drop mechanism.
I find things to be a little confusing, however, Whomp’s Lava Trouble and Thwomp Drop both have features in common: a slider across a lava environment, as well as ‘Rock monsters’ as the primary antagonist in the set. This set will have limited retail release – and won’t be as widely available as the relatively inexpensive Lava Trouble set. I do worry that there might be a little confusion as parents and grandparents head out to pick one of these up for a birthday or Christmas present and come home with the wrong one.
I probably feel that for this set, the 39,99 USD/EUR $AUD59.99 pricetag is probably a little more than I think I would want to pay for it. As fun as the mechanism is, I think I would have more fun with the Piranha power slide for repeated play. I appreciate the different music used, compared to the other slider platforms seen in this wave of sets, as well as the mechanism. It just seems to feel a little over priced for a section of the game which will only take about 45 seconds to play through, compared with Toad’s treasure hunt or the Guarded Fortress. Once I have finished reviewing all of these expansion sets, I’ll sit down and try to work out if there is an optimal combination of sets to get, if you don’t feel the need to buy them all!
What do you think of Thwomp Drop? A great representation of an interesting game mechanic, or an overpriced expansion? leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO group for Review Purposes. All opinions are my own