Minecraft LEGO started out as a microscale world brought to life via the LEGO Ideas platform, before it was even called LEGO Ideas. Now it’s a full theme that almost appears to be a new evergreen. And to be honest with you I never really got it. I am not a big gamer and Minecraft was just something that I never got in to. Somehow though, my son has become a huge fan of it. So when LEGO offered me a chance to review a Minecraft set I figured it would be a good chance to explore a theme I don’t usually explore and outsource a bit of the review work in deliberate defiance of child labour laws.
The ninja and the rouge
I don’t know if there are ninjas in Minecraft. I tried to google it and just found a bunch of YouTube videos that were people playing Minecraft with ninja skins. My son informs me that there are villagers but he doesn’t know anything about ninjas and he has no idea what a rouge is. I guess this set is based on custom skins? The product description says “a classic cast of Minecraft® characters” though. I am so confused.
I think Minecraft characters work really well in minifigure form. All it takes is a square head.
This set comes with two minifigures – the Ninja and the Rouge. The purple ninja is great and while it doesn’t have a lot of printing the simple design works well. The rouge has a bit more variety in it’s appearance with brown arms, black body and splashes of red.
I quite like the minifigures but not a fan of the fact that the pixelated style print makes these harder to use outside of a Minecraft setting. A minor complaint.
You also get two “mobs” – a skeleton and a brick-built bat. The bat is pretty cute with its little printed face. The skeleton is a regular LEGO skeleton just with a square head.
The lower level of the training grounds is referred to as a blacksmith’s cave. It’s a fairly open cave so little hands should have plenty of room to play with features like the anvil, oven, armor stand and a few brick-built minecraft blocks. The armor stand features diamond armor which I am told is like the best armor you can get.
I quite like the mix of elements you get in what is billed as a cave. There’s greenery and water as well as rocky areas.
Above the cave is where you will find the dojo. I love the way the designers have recreated the panel wall style by using windows with solid white panes. Overall it’s a simple but really nice looking design.
This level also features two tree builds. These are very blocky to match the minecraft aesthetic but I like them.
Inside the dojo you will find a bed and chest as well as some lanterns.
Inside is where you find the main play feature of the set. Pull out a block and you can release a trap door and send one of the minifigures down in to the cave below. It’s a super simple mechanism but trap doors are fun.
One part of the set that I do not like is the roof of the dojo. It’s just a bit much and a bit busy.
As somebody who has been fairly ignorant of the Minecraft theme I think I get it now. LEGO Minecraft sits in an important segment of kids aware of video games but still interested in traditional toys. My son is too young to really play Minecraft by himself, and LEGO Minecraft is perfect for him and kids like him.
As a set itself The Training Grounds is good, but not without flaws. The cave part is a bit directionless for lack of a better word. The dojo is a dojo and that makes sense but the cave is just a muddled open area. I also don’t really like the roof.
There are plenty of play experiences with the simple play feature, accompanied by a range of weapons. A lot of the included elements are designed to be placed where ever you want. Things like the brick-built blocks sit with single stud connections so they can be easily “mined”. I personally would have liked a second minifigure mob for the price.
This sent was sent to me by LEGO. Opinions are my own.