Playing New LEGO Super Mario For 2021 With The Family

If you follow our personal Instagram, you would know that we are huge fans of the LEGO Super Mario Nintendo theme. This is mainly because it gives an ingenious new way to interact with LEGO and our children. LEGO for us as adult collectors, is very methodical and everything in our LEGO Room has a place. Meant that for a child who was suddenly allowed to join us in the LEGO room. It wasn’t an inviting and creative space and was wholly disinteresting.

“It gives an ingenious new way to interact with LEGO and our children”

Cue Wave 1

Cue LEGO Super Mario Wave 1. Tim bought it for himself out of curiosity and found a new way to bond with our eldest daughter, Karliah. At the time of the first release, Karliah was only 2-years-old but enjoyed creating stories. Engaging with the set’s interactive features and our love of the Super Mario theme was born.

Not because of the sets, but how we could now use LEGO to engage with our daughter and really invoke that creativity of LEGO with her.

So, when the opportunity to review the second wave of LEGO Super Mario came up, we jumped on it as quick as we could.

In this review, it would be poor of us to not include the most vital review tool that we have, Karliah, who is just over 3-years-old. She is the main reason for us collecting and enjoying this theme. So it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t include her in some way.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71385 – Tanooki Mario

The Power-Up for Mario this time around is a Super Leaf, transforming him into Super Mario 3’s iconic Tanooki Suit Mario! Tanooki Mario is predominately outright brown. Excluding little nougat flecks of colour through the printing.

We are also a little saddened to report that the iconic tail of the suit is no more than a mere print on the back. Tanooki Mario’s Power-up allows him to be quickly ‘flicked’. In which he makes the iconic tail whip sound, and this gives a bonus coin each time this is done.

It’s a bit sad that the ability doesn’t work like the Fire-Flower Mario, where Mario would remember his ability being used and would make the next enemy a lot easier to eliminate. A Koopa-Troopa takes two hits, Fire Mario could use his ability, then jump on the Koopa to take him out in one. Tanooki Mario would have been better with this ability too.

LEGO 71384 – Penguin Mario

The Penguin Power-Up would have to be one of our favourite Power-Ups released so far. The extra accessories of flippers really help sell the look of Penguin Mario.

But unfortunately, like almost every single other Power-Up suit before it, this isn’t 100% accurate to the in-game Penguin Mario. Makes us wonder if the suits are designed to be used with characters that aren’t just Mario…? Waits patiently for Luigi.

The ability of the Penguin Suit is that Mario can be tilted onto his belly and made to slide. Depending on the length of the slide and the intricacies, the more coins you get. It’s a neat feature, and we feel like this will really appeal to kids.

3 Year-Olds Playset Review

Penguin Mario wins this battle hands down. Karliah enjoyed both suits, but the Penguin Suit is by far more engaging. We did need to keep helping her put the flippers back on, but that’s because she’s 3 and can’t quite get it to work right, this is excusable.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71381 – Chain Chomp Jungle Encounter

Our first expansion of the 2021 wave gives an octagonal Chain-Chomp and a Bramball, a less commonly know enemy in the Super Mario Universe.

The Bramball introduces a new flexible vine piece, which is the same thickness as a standard LEGO bar piece. We’re very curious to see how this piece will be used in other ways.

The Chain-Chomp has been purposely designed to be this shape to mainly co-ordinate with the set’s main play feature. Launching it away with a good solid slam down on the teeter-totter. Despite initial expectations of the build seeming a little too ‘static’. The Chain-Chomp has quite a bit of flex in its chain to not feel too robotic and the feature of launching it. Away after knocking it’s pinned out is very reminiscent of our times playing Super Mario 64.

Photo: Tim & Dannii


The action feature barcodes in this set are the Bramball, giving us a traditional 1-tap 1-coin, the coin block underneath the Chain-Chomp and the Chain-Chomp itself. With a hidden barcode on its underside after it has been ‘released’. This doesn’t yield any coins, but plays a dog bark (like a Chain-Chomp) and Mario becoming scared.

In a similar manner to how he reacts with Boo. This is more than likely because Mario would be hurt from contacting a Chain-Chomp in his respective games.

Mario also now has a very not-so-kind relationship with the new purple poison water terrain, just like the Lava.

Mario gives plenty of forewarning that he shouldn’t be swimming in toxic waste by having his LED screen slowly fill in three stages with poison water and his concerning screams.

Failure to save Mario causes him to because stunned and dizzy. Unable to interact with game tiles until he either waits it out, is dipped in normal water, or is shaken dry by the user.

It’s also worth noting that the plant life in this new wave seems to be almost all in new colours. The flower for the swamp are in the new pink-coral colour and the palm-tree leaves are in the slightly-bright green colour. Normally used for the standard game tiles for the Super Mario wave.

3 Year-Olds Playset Review

The Chain Chomp action feature of smacking down on the tilting platform is good in theory. But realistically has a narrow hit-spot of one stud wide. This makes it kinda hard to not only hit the play feature but also to hit it with enough force confidently to not smash it to pieces.

Karliah, at no point, ejected the Chain-Chomp from its tether. But she enjoyed the action tile on the underside of the Chain Chomp and Mario’s reaction. She also bounced off the Bramball quite a lot.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71382 – Piranha Plant Puzzling Challenge

We’re sure we aren’t the only ones, another Pirahna plant set? This would make models 4 and 5 for Pirahna plants. The first being the Fortress set and Second and Third being the Pirahna Plant slider.

They are a staple enemy in the world of Super Mario. But we have received more Pirahna Plants than standard and winged Koopa-Troopas combined.

This set’s main action tiles are the new Red-Coin tiles, very reminiscent of Super Mario 64 and requiring users to collect all three of them before the music runs out. They require Mario to smash down on the see-saw platform to flip the Pirahna Plants over and reveal the Red Coin. Sometimes flipping them over onto another Rec Coin!

If we’re being honest, there isn’t a lot of time to get the Red Coins depending on which coin you start with and usually ends up being a bit of mad panic swirling the mechanism around and around to get the Plants to line up with the platform.

Now we don’t have a lot of experience with this newer gear system used by LEGO, but it is very satisfying and smooth. It doesn’t feel clunky or flimsy and isn’t going to jam and lock up from any sort of subtle bump when moving it. *PTSD INTENSIFIES*

The Builds

The build itself is repetitious, as each plant is exactly the same, but the layout of the instructions didn’t make this set feel like a chore. The Mario instructions adhere to focusing on a younger target audience. Thus the instructions aren’t filled with clunky step-by-steps where you can miss a part or two.

This, weirdly enough, made the process quicker to make the models, rather than time-consuming, despite more instructions.

The spiny included in this set has been previously released in the blind bag series of series 1 and is a welcome addition here joining the official set roster. It is, however, a bit odd that Mario can easily jump on top of them twice to take them out, rather than be hurt like he is in the games.

3 Year-Olds Playset Review

Karliah’s interest in this set was overshadowed by the rest of the range. She did get a little frustrated, not understanding why bouncing on the platform flipped the Piranha Plants over. This was because they were not lined up by about a cm or so, or just narrowly clipping the plants.

The Red Coin collection was engaging, but probably her only favourite feature with the set. The rotating platforms were too close together for her to enjoy spinning Mario around without getting her hands in the way.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71383 – Wiggler’s Poison Swamp

Wiggler’s Poison Swamp is the largest Poison Swamp expansion of the 2021 wave. It features a Wiggler attached to a whip-like play feature. Where Mario must use the small platform to throw wriggle Wiggler so their rear end hits a bridge mechanism and allows it to drop.

The way the gear system interacts with the Mario Platform is quite ingenious. Using three Mixel joints meshing with the large dark-grey gear attached to Wiggler’s head. Both the bridge and the rear of Wiggler have otherwise joined LEGO pieces with loose connections. To allow any sort of bump or shift to cause something to happen. It’s a cool play feature, and not something seen in the Mario theme before.

The way the gear system interacts with the Mario Platform is quite ingenious.

The Bridge

The bridge mechanism can also outright be removed from the set and allow for Wiggler to become the bridge itself to other platforms. It’s also worth noting that the Wiggler and Mario Platform feature a new [1×1 – 2×1] bracket. This set also includes a Super Star Power-Up, as well as a small raft build to one side. Mario can simply jump on the raft and gain coins dependant on the motions of the user. A new-faced Goomba and Parakoopa are also included in this set, the Parakoopa new for 2021, but not an exclusive character. Goomba is a 1 hit- 1 coin reward, whereas the ParaKoopa requires 3 – One for the wings, one for the shell, and one for them themselves.

3 Year-Olds Playset Review

Karliah thoroughly enjoyed watching us activate the bridge using the Wiggler Mechanism, but wasn’t all that good at doing it herself. She enjoyed the different music that played when Mario jumped on the platform but wasn’t too good at keeping him on there and giving enough force for Wiggler to do its thing.

The raft lived an ultimately short-life span, becoming the main feature of play with this set. Until she inevitably swapped Mario to Penguin Mario.

This set was also the main set where Karliah watched poor Mario suffer in the poison pits of the swamp. The large 8×16 plates made it easier for her to place him down without having to co-ordinate his landing.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71380 – Master Your Adventures

The Master Your Adventure kit is the blandest of the 2021 sets this year, but done so on purpose. Very much akin to the Stater Kits of 2020, the set comes with an extra bag of platforms. Extension panels to really expand out the starter course and make for more dynamic world building. This set is designed to go in-between other sets and help connect the courses together.

Outside of the generic platforms and the sliding platform (which we’ve seen before in 2020). The main draw of the set is the new Yellow Warp Pipe and Customisable Bricks. The new Yellow Warp Pipe smashes out the fast-actioned race music of Super Mario 64. And gives a countdown timer of 30 seconds for players to speed run their courses as fast as they can!

Photo: Tim & Dannii


The Brick Customizer build is more for show, as the way that Mario actually becomes programmed with the bricks. Is for the custom bricks to be held under his barcode and Mario rotated as he scrolls through 4 different options for the bricks. Both the Light Blue and Standard Blue blocks offer 10 coins, a Super Mushroom. A Poison Mushroom or a Super Star Power-Up.

Whereas the Orange Timer Block offers 10, 15, 30 seconds, as well a trickster 5-second countdown block.

Each block that is coded is not active outside of a course run. So you cannot interact with the block containing a Poison Mushroom unless the Yellow Warp Pipe has been activated first.

The feature is really cool, but it does make us wonder if multiple of these sets were used. Would that mean that each coloured programmable block would be the same? The code and reaction are ultimately held in Mario, not the blocks themselves.

Photo: Tim & Dannii


The baddies given to us in this set, to no surprise, is another Goomba, ParaKoopa, Bomb-omb and a new enemy. Larry Koopa! Larry is one of the Koopa kids and is accurately built as one plate taller than Bowser Jr. Although equipped with a magic wand. Larry has no such feats to bring to the board, other than requiring six stomps to take him out. Unlike Bowser Jr with 5. It’s worth noting that Larry’s shell is a spiky blue shell, bringing many ideas forward to those who want to make Mario Kart MOCs!

As above, Goomba requires 1 hit, ParaKoopa requires 3, and the Bomb-omb, if you’re unfamiliar with it, requires one hit.

If you hit it with rapid succession within the bomb defusal time, you gain more coins, but if you’re greedy. The Bomb-omb explodes and Mario is stunned temporarily.

3 Year-Olds Playset Review

Karliah took a short while to adjust to the new 30-second timer on the Warp Pipe. And became very familiar with the orange block that we had coded for an extra 30 seconds.

She had no interest in Larry, nor the other enemies, they kind of just faded to the background amongst the rest of the wave. What she did however enjoy, was the sliding bridge (which we don’t have the previous set this was in, so it’s new to her). The block programming. Karliah took to it easily and would program the blocks herself.

Which is immensely impressive for a set designed for 4 years her senior. This means that the feature conveys clearly!

She would take a block, place it in the mechanism, program it, start a course with the Yellow Pipe. Test it, and then end the course immediately afterwards to program another block.

This only applied to the non-timer blocks but showcased the simplicity behind how it works really well. Huge props to LEGO on this one.

Photo: Tim & Dannii

LEGO 71386 – Super Mario Character Packs Series 2

Each box of this wave comes with two whole sets, and we will speed review them below with a quick summary and reaction by Karliah.

Huckit Crab

This little blind bag features the Huckit Crab on a small rock above a water tile. All three (three!) of us think this little guy is cute.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Makes a splash sound when jumping on them.

Spiny Cheep-Cheep

Featuring a new Cheep-Cheep, this one comes atop a water tile with some new coloured coral-like pieces. Realistically Mario should not be able to stomp on this one, but it comes with a hinge to knock it down and reveal the barcode.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin.

Sound: Makes a splash sound when jumping on them


First appearing in Super Mario 2, but more commonly known nowadays from Super Mario Maker 2 Ninji speedruns, these little guys might be a little lost on the not-so-hardcore Mario fans. Simple build character on simple build grass tile, but nice to get the leg pieces in black now.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Coin tap


We’ll be honest, kinda creepy based off a creepy-looking enemy. Foo’s are commonly known from the New Super Mario Bros side-scrolling platformer games, and not so much outside of that. The build uses lots of those new curved bricks on many different directions, and it’s nice to get more desert tiles with good backdrop pieces. Foo also can be knocked down for Mario to jump on him.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Coin tap

Parachute Goomba

As much as we like the parachute build and the new white grass stalk piece (which comes as a spare too), another Goomba is kinda disappointing. It could have been easily used with a different enemy, and it’s not like we don’t already get enough of them. Parachute Goomba comes on a raised platform above the deadly poison swamp with those new coral flowers.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Coin tap

Fly Guy

Fly Guy is the cheap alternative option to those who want to have the Shy-Guy enemy, but not fork out for the Wave 1 Expansion with the Boomer Bills. There isn’t ultimately anything to say about this character as far as originality goes, as they are just the same from Wave 1 with a propeller.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Coin tap

Poison Mushroom

The Poison Mushroom takes the cake from this series, not only giving us a physical parallel to Wave 1’s Super Mushroom but also giving us the fun new play feature reaction when Mario jumps on it. He gets stunned for up to 8 seconds. You can shake Mario to wear off the poison effect or dunk him in water, both results yield a number of coins dependant on how quickly you do it. This is Karliah’s favourite new piece of the 2021 wave, and we’re inclined to agree.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 whoopsie

Sound: Coin tap


The Para-Beetle is the new winged ‘enemy’ of the second wave, although not an enemy Mario would be hurt by. In the side-scrolling platform games, Para-Beetles would otherwise just be used as steps or temporary platforms for the plumber, as he progresses through levels. There isn’t really anything overly iconic about this character other than the eyes used on him and even the terrain is adequate, but nothing to write home about. This isn’t the weakest build of this series, but it isn’t near the top either.

Coins: 2 taps – 3 coins

Sound: Coin tap


Besides the name giving us a good set of the giggles, the Thwimp is the most simplistic design of the whole wave, which matches the source material perfectly. Thwimp comes adorned on a lava tile with a small stone wall to sit on and covered in the new-ish spiked 1×1 pieces of yesteryear. The face print perfectly reflects the character, but we feel like we need more than one to make him not feel too out of place.

Coins: 3 taps – 3 coins

Sound: Coin tap

Bone Goomba

The Bone Goomba is probably the only character on this list that we were unfamiliar with, that is because he was released in New Super Mario Bros II, one of the newer games. At first glance, we thought this was a little white Bone Goomba with a teeny face in teal overalls, with small little buttons signifying its suspenders.

Boy were we wrong. Those little white squares? Those are teeth, supposed to be overhanging from the white on top, this is a teal coloured Goomba wearing a skull hat. The little mouth we though it had? A nose.

Looking on it now, we see what LEGO were trying to pull off, but it missed the mark way too much that we didn’t see how it was supposed to come out. We do enjoy the 1×3 plate with two studs in teal, but this time round LEGO might have just been better off without it.

This is our daughter’s favourite character of this wave, outside the Mushroom if you would count that, so it balances out we guess.

Coins: 1 tap – 1 coin

Sound: Coin tap

In Summary…

This expansion wave for LEGO Super Mario feels a lot more concise and engaging than the expansion packs of Series 1 and we guess that comes with the fact that it the market isn’t over-saturated with so many choices that consumers don’t know what to get.

The first wave came with an overpowering number of new features and interacts with Mario that we didn’t collect a bunch of them because we thought it was too much for our daughter. Series 2 works on that problem by making a smaller leap than its predecessor and gently incorporating these new features with an err of familiarity to the previous series, allowing older and newer features to combine.

The new Sets and Character Packs will launch on January 1st, 2021 and LEGO Stores.


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