Sunday, February 26, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 30399: Bowling Alley

This is the third LEGO Friends set that I have now reviewed in the Amusement Park subtheme (see here and here for the other two reviews).  While I definitely liked both of the other sets (I gave them a 10/10 and a 9.5/10), will this much smaller polybag live up to the same lofty standards as the rest of the subtheme?  Let's find out together.

For starters, this is a polybag with a very limited number of pieces (only 51).  For your money, you get a single minidoll of Stephanie and a bowling arcade game (calling the set a "bowling alley" seems a bit too generous/lofty on LEGO's part).
The extra hot dog piece is appreciated.

Instead of a full alley, you get a single bowling "lane" complete with a bowling ball and six pins (which you can set up in a 3-2-1 triangle formation much like real 10-pin bowling).  You also get a hot dog with the new hot dog bun piece (and I believe this is the cheapest set in which that piece is available, so that's something to consider if you are after the hot dog bun piece).
Three pins down, better eat a hot dog...(ew)

The play feature of this set is basically that you can try to roll the ball down the (very short) alley and knock over the pins.  I suppose the action works well enough - but the real problem is that the pins themselves slide all over (and constantly fall down) with even the slightest movement of the set itself.  I'm not sure what sort of alternative design LEGO could have done...but even if all they did was add in some "gutters" to catch the falling pins, I think this would have been a much better design for kids.
It should be noted that there are no stickers in this set (nor are there any printed elements besides the minidoll).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  2
Play Value:  3
Kid Value:  2
Adult Value:  1
Overall:  2

Quite honestly, the best thing about this set is the hot dog bun...and since that piece isn't nearly as new or exciting anymore, there isn't much else to go after in this set.  Even worse, who actually eats a hot dog while bowling - that sounds disgusting for so many reasons!  I think that this set is sorely lacking either gutters, a proper ten pins, or both...and a sticker (or better yet, a printed piece) showing a bowling "box score" would have been a nice addition as well.  I do appreciate that continued use of the same color scheme, but in the end, you could probably build a better version of this polybag out of pieces that you already have sitting around in your own collection.  This one is hard to recommend.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My Custom City: Custom Arcade Games

I mentioned a few days ago that I was planning on updating my custom LEGO City with a full-fledged amusement park area.  I figured what good is an amusement park if it doesn't have at least a couple of arcade games?  I don't have a lot of space in my "man cave" where I hold my LEGO City, so my arcade won't be all that big - but I think it will work out fine with what I've done.

I ended up making two of my own arcade game consoles.  The first is a green game that's a treasure hunt of sorts.

I should probably come up with a proper name for each of my two arcade games, but as of now I haven't given that much thought.  I do know that this game requires a single joy stick and a large button for "action" commands.

And the second is a heart themed game, probably aimed (stereotypically) at girls though I'm sure LEGO boys will like it too.

As you can (hopefully) see, I tried to make both arcade cabinets similar, yet distinct.  They are the same height though, and close to the same width which means they look natural sitting side-by-side.
This was a poorly taken photo, the console doesn't "tip" like it appears to here.  Sorry.

The heart game requires a pair of joysticks - and it's housed in a slightly slimmer cabinet.

When building these, I was severely limited by the pieces that I currently own.  In fact, I only had two 2x2 tiles with a design on them (hence the two games that I made).  I would have liked to have the "siding" be a little more seemless, but otherwise I think the two arcade games came out alright for my first attempt!