Ever since LEGO lost their patent on bricks, it seems like every company is trying to get in on the action. But in a very weird twist, K’NEX decided to join in by making a system that combines the K’NEX of old with LEGO bricks – and then tosses on a very well known license!
For such a popular character, Mario rarely gets toys. And I never expect him to get a LEGO-compatible figure! While slightly out of scale, K’NEX Mario looks like a cross between a Kubrick and LEGO Figure. He’s got the classic LEGO articulation with the addition of his waist, but the size is closer to a minimate. It’s certainly an odd scale, but it works.
Mario looks great. The head isn’t stylized at all and looks perfect. The body is blocky though, but still manages to look good. In a disappointing twist, the figure can’t sit down because of his oversized stomach. It’s odd to say the least.
Since the license is for Wii Mario Kart, K’NEX included a bike for Mario to ride. Decked out in his stylish colors, the bike is a very weird mix of parts and pieces. It’s a basic build with only a few bricks in all, but assembling it felt unnatural – like combining chocolate and lobster. Both are delicious, but not together.
As for the bricks themselves, they aren’t quite up to par with LEGO’s offerings. On the underside, the holes are different sized than the pegs, so you can’t do any weird combinations of bricks. But they stick together well enough. The stickers though are awful, it’s like someone made them slightly too big so they will probably rip off in a few days on their own accord.
There is one very impressive feature though – the packaging. I love when a toy company gives the package a purpose beyond storing the toy. In this case, K’NEX set up a website where kids can print out a decal on the box allowing you to make a ramp with a road on it. It’s a little touch but works very well.
Normally, this set retailed for the absurd price of $8 each, but I managed to get this on clearance from ThinkGeek for less than half of that! Now, K’NEX is releasing just the figures in non-blind bags which is a genius move because while the figures are great, the motorcycle isn’t too exciting.