Here at WonderHowTo, we've been following the Minecraft LEGO set for quite some time, through its development on LEGO CUUSOO (a LEGO site where users can submit ideas for LEGO sets) to its eventual implementation.
Well, I finally got my hands on the finished set, and I have both good and bad things to say about it.
The presentation of the Minecraft LEGO set is great. Just look at this package that's designed to look like a grass block. Note the little characters of Steve and a Creeper on the top. Note also the age "10+" listed on the front. More on that later.
Simply put, the box is gorgeous. Its contents look great, too. I mean, just look at this cornucopia of LEGO-y goodness!
Once I got the parts open, I was really excited to start putting it together.
This was the worst phase. I've built a lot of LEGO sets in my day, and this was by far the most annoying LEGO-building experience I've ever had in my entire life.
Why? Because of all the one-width bricks. Let me draw your attention to part of the above photo, though for those of you thinking "that's only a few!" I should mention at this point that this little container of bricks represents only a small fraction of the total number of 1-by-1 bricks.
Those parts are all tiny, but that's not so bad. The bad part is having to snap all of them on, again and again, while making sure that they're all straight.
That's right, when you put on a LEGO block that's only one block wide, you have to adjust it to make sure that it's straight. Now imagine doing that approximately a million times.
If you're OCD or have OCD tendencies, stay far away from this LEGO set, because unless you're some kind of organizational superhero, you will never get all of those little pieces aligned exactly perfectly.
That said, I did enjoy watching the little sets come together in surprising ways, and guessing at what all of the pieces were as I put them together.
When I finally finished snapping on all of the million little blocks, I stood back and beheld my creation for the first time, and yeah, it looked pretty great (apart from the fact that the tiny little bricks weren't all straight).
Note Steve and Creeper in the above picture, and note how they aren't minifigs (the technical name for LEGO people), but are just blocks with stickers. That was kind of disappointing, I'll admit, but a regular minifig would literally look like a giant in this tiny landscape.
What's cool about this set is that it comes apart, and is full of little, hidden treasures.
See, there are little caves on the inside, just like in real Minecraft! You can't really mine them for pieces, but it's still a pretty cool homage to the game.
Additionally, this is actually four little vignettes that all come apart to be appreciated individually, and explored.
Even better, the tops actually come right off, and you can look down inside of them. It's hard to see the detail in these pictures, but one of them has lava on the inside, one has a river, a cave, and a gold brick.
So, there really was a lot of attention paid to detail in this kit, and that's why it will make a nice display piece.
While there are some LEGO sets with nearly universal appeal, this isn't one of them. This set was really designed for a very specific kind of person, the sort of person who can handle putting together tons of small pieces (i.e. someone who is probably 10+ years old), and the sort of person who doesn't want to play with them, but wants to display them for everyone to see.
Because while this set makes an attractive display piece, it is not for playing. Due to the way this set is put together, any building skills acquired in Minecraft will be literally useless, so don't buy this thinking that you can recreate your favorite Minecraft build with it. This set was designed specifically for you to make the pictured set, and not to innovate your own designs.
It's a lovely little set, and I can't in good conscience recommend against buying it entirely, but if you are the sort of person who's considering getting it, just bear in mind what sort of thing you'll be getting:
A display piece, not a play piece.