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Review: 71361 Mario Character Packs

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xccj

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So, Lego Super Mario.  Honestly, I’m not seeing the appeal, but then again I didn’t grow up on platform video games so I definitely don’t have that nostalgic connection.  And the not-minifig scale of the sets is a little off putting.  But I have to admit that the character packs are intriguing for the low price and interesting pieces, even if I don’t necessarily care too much about the character designs themselves.  Luckily for me, my roommate happened to come across a few of these packs at Target and now I have a few. (And a lucky draw too, four packs with no duplicates.)  So now I can review a couple.  Although I can’t really say anything about the game play or scan-able tiles (because I don’t have the main Mario set) I can talk about the overall look and pieces.

Because of my experience with collectible minifigures, I did try to determine which models were in the blind bags.  It’s somewhat possible, since they do come with different pieces, but there’s a fair amount to pick through compared to figs, and a lot of them share the same parts so it’s easy to mix them up.  The one constant is the new 4x4 rounded plate, which I guess is designed for the game board that the other sets utilize.  I’m not sure how much usability it will have, but they come in a bunch of different colors and don’t have any really crazy designs, so maybe it’ll be helpful in MOCs.  (It looks like it would make for a good interior support, being two plates tall.)

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Fuzzy: Oh look a black spiked ball.  He looks like he’s hovering over some grassy hills.  And, with the addition of the hinge, he’s the only one with an “action feature” in that you can knock him down to smack anything on the ground.  For pieces, the sand green and teal curved elements are new-ish to me, and I guess the black pyramid 1x1s are also new in this color.  Of course, the big drawl is the SNOT brick, 1x1x5(plates) with studs on three sizes; it’s perfect for making a SNOT cube, and with two you can even flip one upside down and get studs on the bottom too.  Man, that piece will be a crazy addition when it starts popping up in more sets.  (Maybe it has, this is the first Summer 2020 sets I’ve picked up.)

Spiny: It’s a turtle!  The trees are nice, but the highlight of this is the shell piece, which actually has the white diamonds as molded bits that stick out a bit.  I’ve got to be honest; I wouldn’t mind having a ton of those shells to part-spam a MOC.  This one also has the new 2x2 feet design, with printing on them.  It looks like a very niche part, but there might be some interesting ways to reuse it in a MOC.  And the rounded green brick isn’t new, but still makes a nice addition.

Paragoomba: Another cubed guy, but he’s in burnt orange and has wings.  He has a more traditional SNOT design using standard elements, but it works.  Also he has wings, which are new molds too, I believe.  The foot piece makes another appearance in brown, and it’s also a nice chance to get the cloud plate that originated with the Unikitty blind bags.  And I guess a tan pyramid; don’t know how rare those tan slopes are but they make it work.

Peepa: Well this one is certainly a ghost.  The “landscape” design is very haphazard here with a ruined wall over a stream of lava; I may be misinterpreting, but I’m sure it’s based off some heated level.  The ghost design is basic, although the use of the white curved element is appreciated.  The biggest appeal is the 3x3 round tile; I don’t think this mold has been used before, and it’s slightly disappointing that it has the ghost fast printed on it, but I’m hopeful to see this element reused in future sets.  (Granted, I don’t know why I would need a 3x3 tile in my builds, but hey new parts are always fun!)

Anyway, for $4.99 (or $3.99 when Target misprices them) this isn’t a bad value.  I mean, it’s not exactly the great parts packs that the Mixels were, but there are enough interesting molds to entice builders.  And the characters look similar enough to their Mario variations, from what I can tell, so I’m sure the nostalgic factor is huge.  (There are a couple of others I might want to pick up, like the Bullet Bill guy, but it’s a lot harder to get into buying blind bag figs nowadays when it’s unsafe to attempt the feel method in stores.  Future waves of CMFs will be troublesome with this new norm.)

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