LEGO Super Mario: 71400 Big Urchin Beach Ride Expansion [Hands-On Review]

The January 2022 wave of LEGO Super Mario sets follow two specific streams: Luigi’s Mansion and the Beachfront. Today, I’d like to present the 71400 Big Urchin Beach Ride expansion set. You need either the Mario or Luigi Starter sets to play with this set in the way it is intended. The set has 536 pieces, and will be released on January 1 2022. This set was sent to me by the AFOL Engagement team of the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions, however, are my own.

After the previous wave of expansion sets focussed on two-player, cooperative play this wave returns to the roots of single player gaming, although the 2 player option exists, with all of the potential advantages that brings.

This set brings some familiar gameplay from the Super Mario Video Game, as well as a few new characters, and game mechanics. With this set, I will take a look at the Characters encountered, Any Bonus boxes, as well as hazards and obstacles encountered in the gameplay.

As with all LEGO Super Mario sets, building instreuctions are accessed through Digital instructions in the LEGO Super Mario App, or using the LEGO Building Instructions App. Personally, I find the App quite acceptable to use on a tablet – it also allows demonstration videos for game play. the Instructions Plus engine also allows manipulation of the model in 3D space as you build it, ensuring construction is clear.

Elements

There are a few new elements, and some appearing as recolours. Of particular interes are the new ‘water splashes’, in transparent light blue – they have a 1×2 antistud attachment on the base, and are otherwise shaped like one of the power blasts from LEGO Super Heroes (edit: these are new to me, but have been around in Superheroes in 2021). We see rollercoaster track in medium Azur, as well as several6x6 biome plates in this colour. Otherwise, we have a primarily sandy and water based level. There are plenty of lavender elements available, as part of the eponymous ‘Big Urchin’/

The Characters

Yellow Yoshi

This set features Yellow Yoshi – Scanning Yoshi’s tile, Mario greet him, and Yoshi appears on his chest – essentially allowing Mario to ride Yoshi. This gives Mario an extra life, avoiding the ’coin free period’ should Mario fall down. Yoshi can be rescanned once, resulting in a heart appearing on Marios chest, and an additional 5 coins.

Cheep Cheep

The flying fish jump over the bridge as Mario runs accross. They are worth a single coin for each scan, and can be rescanned within a game.

Dolphin

The Dolphin is designed to take Mario for a ride around the circular track. Mario earns coins while riding on his back, in a circular motion: fortunately, the track is designed to let you do just that. As Mario rides around on the Dolphin’s back, the music changes, and the dolphin chirps and trills.

Big Urchin

Finally, we have Big Urchin. Covered in Spikes, Mario is unable to defeat this character unless he is invincible, through the use of Star Power. In this situation, Mario earns 16 coins. If Mario scans Big Urchin’s tag without star power, he gives off a buzz and displays an exclaimation mark on his chest, suggesting he got spiked!

Power-Ups

There is only one power-up included in this set: the Star Power. Scanning this block gives Mario 10 seconds of invincibility, the ability to defeat multiscan enemies with a single scan. He can also defeat some enemies that are unable to be simply jumped on, including ghosts and the Big Urchin. Normal enemies will score double coins. It cannot be rescanned within a game, although the same power can be gained from a question mark block.

This box is designed to hang from the palm tree, from where it will fall after the dolphin is guided around a few laps.

The Landscape

We start off with some simple sand dune pillars.

There is a diving board: when Mario jumps on it, he gives off a ‘boing’ sound. He scores one coin if he lands in water (with a splash), scores nothing if he lands on sand, and enters a no coin state if he lands on a hard surface such as the grass.

We build a bridge, with two swinging arms – one at each end. When Mario lands on the central planks, the Cheep Cheeps fly across the bridge. This is a really clever way of representing the way they behave in the video game, although they cannot knock Mario out.

Finally, the beachfront dolphin ride: there is a small coral reef, on which we place the Big Urchin. The circular azure track tilts in two planes, allowing a roller coaster car (dressed up as the Dolphin) to run around repeatedly. Ultimately, you can knock the Big Urchin down. As Mario rides around the track, he gains points – a function of using the inbuilt accelerometer and gyro to detect a change of direction. A Star Power box hangs from the palm tree, and is easily dislodged, to scan and defeat the urchin.

Here’s a quick playthrough

I actually really enjoyed playing this level through. There was around an hour of build time, but not too much of the build focussed on any one part. I found the level more appealing than many of the expansions from 2021 – there were call backs to old games, and newer, as well as some neat functionality with the bridge. At $AUD89.99/USD59.99, and with 536 pieces, this could be an ideal way to expand the game next year.

I am looking forward to trying the other beachfront levels, as well as some of Luigi’s Mansion. The game continues to be refreshed, with new approaches to the gameplay. While I don’t play the game regularly, I can see myself returning to it time and again over the next few weeks, even for my own amusement!

Keep an eye open for more new LEGO Super Mario set Reviews Coming Soon.

What are you looking forward to seeing? And what do you think of this one? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well.

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