I seem to be slipping behind with my LEGO Super Mario Reviews: I have a few sets from the current wave remaining to look at (as well as some more from last year); sometime soon, we will see what the LEGO Group have in store for us later in the year.
The figures were released earlier in 2023, and cost USD6.99/AUD9.99 each. I picked up an unopened box at Toybricks. Read on to see who’s inside, and how they score:
As with series 5, the figures come in a cardboard box with 16 character packs included.
There are no markings on the individual boxes that might go towards identifying their contents. Each box contains several plastic bags of elements, as well as a couple of loose ones, along with paper instructions for the enclosed figure.
There are 2 complete sets in a box, running along each side. This table gives us the box layout as I saw it
|Sumo Bro||Sumo Bro|
|Ice Bro||Ice Bro|
|Cat Goombas||Cat Goombas|
|Green Toad||Green Toad|
There are 8 characters in the set, and two complete sets in the shipping box. Each character comes with a 6×6 biome plate – as with series 5. This larger size allows for a more significant building experience, compared with the earlier sets and their 4×4 base.
Green Toad is kicking back and living his best life. It just looks like he is missing a drink with an umbrella in it. The associated tile is a ‘speech bubble’ as we have seen with other Toads and Toadette throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario (Peach or Luigi) can land on it and will offer a greeting to Toad: He has a number of greetings to use, and you typically earn between 3 and 5 coins.
Mario can also gift fruit (scan a piece of fruit, scan a gift, as per Adventures with Peach – then scan the speech bubble) for an additional 5-7 coins.
The bright pink Birdo lives in grassland next to a lake. She features some terrific printed cheeks, as well as a round 2×2 tile with a black circle printed in the middle, forming her mouth. In Super Mario USA, she attacked by breathing fire or shooting eggs at Mario.
Birdo brings a little extra to game play: when you jump on the bar code, an egg appears on Mario’s chest screen. At this point, if Mario jumps up, the egg is broken, and Mario gains 6 coins. If you do not jump, and stay still, then the egg explodes, and Mario enters a stunned, no-coin state for a couple of seconds.
If Birdo is scanned again in game play, and the egg broken, then you earn an extra 2 or 3 coins.
Like Goombas but in cat form, we get two, each with their own face design. They scan for a single coin each, and can be rescanned during game play. I think this is the first time a packet has come with 2 figures in.
Blooper comes with 3 babies, build using white 1x1x 2/3 plates, with eye printing on the side. There is a small cloud of lavender/medium lavender in the background, which I presume represents a squirt of squid ink. We have some bright green weed elements, which feel softer than similar ones I have seen in the past. I presume these are made of bio-polyethylene, part of the Plants from Plants.
Scanning Blooper earns us a coin, while Scan once for a single coin. this can be repeated. Scanning Blooper gives us a ‘splashing sound’ in conjunction with earning the coin.
Biome: Soda Swamp
This prickly customer is worth a single coin to scan (which is repeatable) and has some bright green leaves supporting vibrant coral flowers, along with some sand green shrubbery growing up in the background. It is good to see Bramball available again, now that the Soda Swamp levels from December 2020 have now retired.
Standing on some bricks above a frozen wasteland, this Koopa Bro has ice balls to fire at Mario. He is hard to beat, needing to be scanned 4 times to earn 5 coins. Subsequent in-game scans will earn 3 coins. With the latest software update, (early 2023) Mario now recognises a frozen tundra, represented by the medium azure biome plates. I really like the snow covered pine tree in this pack, too. Ice Bro has a striped aqua helmet, as well as an aqua shell.
Once Mario stands on the medium azue plate, a snow drift started to appear on his screen, getting deeper and deeper if he stands still, eventually dissipating with a joyous cry.
Biome: ?Mud. This shade is not specifically recognised by Mario/Peach Luigi.
This figure highlights the challenges that the LEGO Group face with colour matching from day to day. Predominantly Bright light orange and tan, there are several different shades of the orange visible. This is more apparent when we apply an ultraviolet light to the tiles on top. This model is also an excellent source of the the yellowish orange SNOT Bricks, 1×1 with studs on 2 adjacent sides. It is apparent that the 2×1 offset plate on top is a different colour to the 1×2 tiles on either side. Sumo Bro has a black shell on his back.
Like the Ice Bro, four scans give you 5 coins the first time, with 3 coins on the subsequent scans.
Finally, Spike: two scans give Mario 3 coins. You can only collect one coin with each subsequent double scan during game play.
And there we have them…
Of the eight figures, only a couple have the simple ‘scan once for one coin’ gameplay: Bramball and Bloober. Technically, the Cat Goombas play this way, but you get two of them in the packet. Birdo is the only character with the power to stun Mario into a no-coin, although this can also happen on the soda swamp (medium lilac) biome plate. Green Toad allows for friendly greetings as well as fruit-sharing game mechanics, while Ice Bro and Sumo Bro both allow you to scan for higher coin counts. Birdo brings a little problem-solving to the game, as you need to make sure that you jump over the egg, rather than have it explode.
My personal favorites are Blooper – for the babies – as well as Ice Bro and Birdy, for the level of detail, as well as the variety added to game play.
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I am glad to see some previously retired characters appearing in this series, as well as some long awaited ones. Who is your favourite in this batch of characters? why not leave your comments below and until Next Time, Play Well!