Little late getting the set, but still ended up doing a review like promised.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The box for The End is an obsidian block. I was at first confused by this, as I usually associate obsidian with going to the Nether and expected an end stone block instead. But then I remembered there's all those obsidian towers in The End and it's just a more recognizable block overall, so I guess it does make sense. Either way it still looks cool and is another neat design to have lined up on a shelf with the other boxes.
Inside the box are two instruction booklets, a handy brick separator, and five bags of parts.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The End sees a somewhat disappointing return to the norm for the Minecraft Micro World sets that The Nether temporarily broke. It is a standard build of creating an underground portion on a plate, a little bit of aboveground scenery on a plate, stacking them, and repeating four times.
It's really rather disappointing, made worse by the fact that The End's really just a boring place. It should truthfully all be in just one color to truly replicate end stone, which is all that there is in that dimension, but fortunately the designers thought to break that up by introducing other shades amongst the bricks. I am more than okay with this because it makes it slightly less boring - but only slightly. On only the second portion, I had tired already of such an incredibly repetitive build. All the other micro world sets varied in many ways what was going on both above and below ground, but The End does not even remotely do so (not that the source allowed that, granted).
But you what to know what's the worst part of all during the entire build? How scattered the pieces are amongst the bags! Some are available in relatively extremely low quantities, like those to the Ender Dragon and Endermen. Finding them, which is supposed to be done first according to the instructions, was a genuine pain. One would think that because so many pieces in the exact same tan color that finding anything else would be easy, but it was quite the opposite.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here
Remember before how I've complained about wanting more of the mobs out of these micro world sets? Well, The End at least fixed that. We get four Endermen, who I find to be a generally cool design and as expected feature unique printed pieces to replicate their eyes. The only downside I really see to them is that they can't turn their heads and have their arms raised, but that's the kind of sacrifices expected at such a small scale.
The Ender Dragon is really cool. The only thing really keeping it from being perfect in my eyes is the lack of a mouth. A wide, gaping jaw is just something any dragon needs.
The main island is, as I've said, quite boring. I'm glad that some color variance was introduced into the end stone to add something to look at, but… Well, The End was always a bit of a disappointment when it comes to cool factor, so it wouldn't be fair to blame the designers here of course. They did recreate the island pretty faithfully in the 3D world.
The top of The End at least has some interesting things to look at. A big End Portal takes up a quarter of the area, complete with a dragon egg. Which is a bit contradictory since this shouldn't appear if the dragon's still around... oh well. It still looks nice. Dotted all around are the obsidian towers, and they even have Ender Crystals on top! These are my favorite part. Literally. I have never seen these smooth round plates before, but I do love them. And the translucent purple color they're cast in is gorgeous.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
What may come as a bit of a surprise for the micro world line, The End actually has a degree of playability! The Ender Dragon has articulated wings and an articulated neck, so you can mix up how it looks. Plus it's a dragon. Everyone wants to whoosh a dragon around in the air.
The Endermen can also kind of do things. You can slide a brick in-between their arms to emulate them stealing a block, but of course they do slide out easily. Because of how they're designed, you cannot plug a plate in sideways either, so all you can do is wedge them.
As for the rest of The End... Eh. If you have a Steve from the original
CuusooIdeas set, I suppose you could have him exploring or mining. But nobody seriously does that in Minecraft proper because, yes, it is boring.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Plentiful mobs
- Ender Dragon is a fun build
- More beautiful trans purple
What's not to like?
(Yay giant mini mob army!)
- Boring to look at
- Build is far too repetitive
- Just boring
So it seems my predication way back when The Village and The Nether first came out of The End being next came true. Unfortunately, I also completely called how utterly boring a set devoted to just it would be. That's the real shame here. No, there wasn't much they could have done with just The End itself. It's an uninspired place even within the Minecraft game, and this set does recapture it to a fault. As a standalone set, I advise passing, and even for those who got the others, it might be a questionable buy.
Perhaps it is best that the future of Minecraft LEGO lies in the minifig scale, which already looks like it will be having some pretty unique and varied sets. I still love these micro world sets for the little diorama pieces that they are (and would still buy additional biomes for sure). The End certainly delivers there. It's just a disappointing sendoff, if that is what it really is.
Source: Set Review: 21107 The End