Suit Up to Power Up with LEGO® Super Mario [Power Up Packs tested]

Since the early days of Super Mario, back in 1985, Mario has had the ability to dress up in alternative suits, and gain additional powers. With the release of LEGO® Super Mario, we have 4 Power Up Packs available to choose from. These are some of the cheapest sets available in the range, and add to the game play, so important questions remain to be asked: What do they do, and Which one(s) should I get?

These suits share a few things in common: externally, they all look the same, although on the inside it becomes apparent that each suit comes from a different mould. They each come with a unique hat mould, and two 4×4 rounded plates, as well as a 2×4 plate, as well as a couple of elements to add to the landscape. When you see LEGO Super Mario naked, you can see 6 small switches under the chest screen. These switches are activated by tracks inside the suits – and each of the suits available today is slightly different to the others.

Looking inside the suits, we can see the ridges in different positions. These seem to be arranged in 2 groups of 3: Whichever switches are activated determines which switches are pushed.

In case you like to look for patterns, this is what we see.

SetNameSwitches -binary (decimal):
71360Starter set100001 (33)
71370Fire Suit010010 (18)
71371Propellor suit001100 (12)
71372Cat Suit010001 (17)
71373Builder100010 (34)

In theory, there could be up to 16 different combinations, but if we take the simplest approach of only one ridge in each group of 3, we are looking at 9 possible switch combinations in total, that might be used. These are 5 of them.

So how do they PowerUp LEGO® Super Mario?

Fire up with the Fire Mario Power Up (73170)

This white suit, and peaked cap come packed with 2 4×4 landscape plates, as well as some trans orange pyramids.

The suit allows Mario to throw fireballs – which he does by tilting forward slightly while stepping – akin to leaning forward on tip-toes. Attacks with fire balls add up, and will all be delivered to the next enemy you scan: especially useful if it is a multi hit enemy, such as Baby Bowser, Thwomp or Whomp. Fireballs can be thrown by walking along on tip toes. It is harder to throw fireballs than just jump on the back of the multiscan enemies.

The fire suit does not feel like it has a lot to offer, other than throwing fireballs while walking towards an enemy. They can then have that number of ‘strikes’ delivered with a single scan.

To add to the disappointment I felt with the fire suit: enemies which require fireballs to be defeated in the video game, such as Spiny, can be beaten with regular plain old unadulterated scanning. The reverse is also true: Buzzy Beetle is invulnerable to fireballs in the game but can be damaged by them here. The mechanism for launching fireballs felt a little awkward at first, but I quickly became quite used to it. It just didn’t feel like it was offering a significant advantage here.

Fly away with the Propellor Mario (71371).

A bright red suit, with a white stripe, and blue boots, as well as helmet sporting a bright yellow propellor. The propellor suit allows Mario to fly without the aid of his cloud, and being able to accumulate lots of coins, through active flying: The suit exploits the accelerometer, and it is particularly responsive to rapid changes in direction. The propellor suit accumulates coins at a higher rate, compared to the Cloud, which requires a slow, gentle oscillation.

Propellor suit Mario comes with two yellow landscape plates, as well as a flower and small stone.

The propellor suit is quite useful if you wish to spread your level over several rooms: something which could certainly be a bit of a fun way to make Mario work. A rapid liftoff, and occasional changes of direction seem to work well to ensure additional coins being collected by Mario.

Walk the walls with Mario’s Cat Suit (71372).

This yellow suit, with a white belly and printed tail, along with ears on his hat, gives Mario cat like prowess. In case there is any doubt, there is a bell that appears under his chin. This suit allows LEGO Super Mario to gain additional coins when walking up and down vertical surfaces, such as a TV or the outer walls of a tower. (Over 50 steps up and down my computer screen, regular Mario earned no coins, Cat Mario earned 36)

Cat Mario comes with some green landscape plates, as well as a flower.

The cat suit works well for taking the coin count up as Mario scales any vertical surface. This certainly gains coins faster than ‘regular Mario’ gains them while walking along the ground.

Pile drive with Builder Mario (71373)

Another yellow suit, with a yellow hard hat, sees Mario wearing solid workbooks, and a hammer on his chest. Compared to Cat Mario, he is anything but nimble. However, when he strikes a surface firmly, it seems to be the equivalent to 3 scans on an enemy. This is accompanied by the sound of a jackhammer.

Builder Mario comes with a couple of grey plates, as well as some dark orange masonry bricks.

Builder Mario was a little harder for me to take advantage of. Slamming him down on the back of a ‘multiscan’ enemy such as Baby Bowser seemed to be worth 3 regular scans. But I found it hard to get the right level of force to make this happen reliably.

So, which is my choice?

The Power Up Costumes play an important role in Super Mario Video Games, BUT offer variable enhancement of game play in the LEGO version of the game. I probably found that either the Cat Suit or Propellor Suit offered me more, as far as enjoying my gameplay, than the other two. If you enjoy building ludicrous towers for Mario to climb, there is no doubt that having the cat suit will bring you more fun. If you like to spread you game play out around the house, I think the propellor might be a better choice for you.

Whichever you choose, these Power Up Packs all take advantage of the accelerometers built into the Mario Brick, allowing players to take a greater advantage of the sophisticated hardware that underlies LEGO Super Mario.

What’s your favourite powerup suit?

Of course, these are only a few of the suits that Mario might find over the course of a game: he has many others that feature in the video game, including a frog suit: fantastic for doing things in water, amongst others. What’s your favourite? What would you like to see come out in a future wave?

Why don’t you leave your comments below, and until next time

Play Well.

These powerup suits were provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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