Lego has revealed the price and release date for the first Lego Super Mario sets, including which sets will be available from the start… and they include a couple of surprises! The company also told T3 about the companion app that will work with Mario for the first time.
The there will be three Lego Super Mario sets available at launch, including the all-important Starter Course set, which includes Mario himself (the only set to include him), along with a number of different elements and enemies for him to interact with, including seven Action Bricks – see our write up of how Lego Super Mario works for more info on how you play with the sets.
The Lego Super Mario Starter Course set will cost £49.99/$59.99 – if you pre-order it from Lego.com you actually get an expansion set thrown in with it! The Monty Mole & Super Mushroom Expansion Set is included for free, and gives you two new enemies, plus loads more level elements, and the famous mushroom – which isn't included in any other launch set. As free gifts go, this is pretty generous we have to say.
• Pre-order the Lego Super Mario Starter Course set with free Monty Mole set gift for £49.99 from Lego UK
• Pre-order the Lego Super Mario Starter Course set with free Monty Mole set gift for $59.99 from Lego US
The other two sets available will be a smaller Piranha Plant Power Slide set, which is the first set revealed to include a physical challenge element; and a huge Bowser's Castle Boss Battle set that, as its name suggests, includes an actually boss battle element. The Piranha Plant Power Slide will cost £24.99/$29.99, while Bowser's Castle will cost £89.99/$99.99.
All three sets will be available on August 1st 2020 – they'll be available from Lego.com, as well as other retailers.
So what do you actually get from each set? Let's dig in.
The Starter Course is essential, because it includes the Mario figure as well as the 'start' and 'finish' blocks that you need for building a complete level. You also get a Goomba to squish, two moving platforms that will reward coins when Mario rides on them, the iconic question mark block to hit, and Bowser Jr to defeat (with a tower that Mario can physically topple him from by stepping in the right place).
It also includes lots of platforms in the different colours that make up the bases of courses – red bricks are lava and cause Mario problems, other colours earn him coins as he moves over them.
The Piranha Plant Power Slider set includes a timer block, which adds time to Mario's clock for the level, because it's a puzzle that can take some time. For the slider itself, you place Mario in a little cart, and then you physically tip the see-saw he's on back and forth, trying to move Mario as far as you can without touching the Piranha Plants. The more he moves, the more coins you'll get. If he touches them, you'll see his face react, disrupting your flow.
Other Lego Super Mario sets have been based on building cool levels and using the sequence of things to extract coins in the time limit, but this is the first that asks for dexterity. The set also includes a Goomba and Koopa Trooper to expand on the Starter Set's enemy options.
And then there's Bowser's Castle. Not only is it the first set that looks like something worth just building and owning for its own sake, it also contains a real multi-stage boss battle, just like the games. You can't defeat Bowser unless the giant statue arms have been raised, so you'll have to move Mario in a careful order, and then… well, we won't spoil everything.
The set also has Boo and Dry Bones enemies in there, along with more environment pieces to build levels.
We also learned about the companion app that will work with the Mario sets. For a start, the Mario figure has Bluetooth connectivity, and will send how many coins he collected in a level right to the app, so you can keep a leaderboard for how you've done on your setup.
But the app does a lot more too – it also includes 3D building instructions for the basic versions of each set, a photo album for you to store pictures of the courses you've built, and an inspiration section, where you can share your courses (with your best scores) and find courses others have created that you could emulate. Both Lego and Nintendo designers will be making levels and sharing them here for people to try. (And it will all be managed and curated to keep it kid-friendly).
Lego's Design Lead Jonathan Bennink also revealed to us some more fun info about the process behind the sets. For example, about 20% of the development time has been put into hidden features and easter eggs for people to discover as they play with the sets – Lego plans to never publicly document these itself.
The challenges are also all made to be completed with a single hand – Lego's research discovered that this is vital, apparently. Kids are always fiddling with something, or eating. The functions in the Lego are also designed to be buildable for the target age of six and over.
There are also some new Lego elements that are designed make it easy to remix the kits in a templated form (mixing up the order of platforms, rather than rebuilding them from scratch). The idea of trying to build a level that looks as good as something on the box from nothing can be a bit intimidating for kids, so the idea is that kids can either totally build from a blank canvas if they're confident, or it's easy to re-order what you build from the official instructions.
We know there's still more information to come about Lego Super Mario – these are the first three sets, but we've already seen images of lots of more stuff that isn't in these sets, and Lego promises more info throughout the year.
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