So far there have been 13 sets released as part of the LEGO Ideas platform. More recently, many of those have been connected to already established properties like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Big Bang Theory. But, as awesome as these famous properties are, LEGO Ideas is also full of some amazing original creations. These can often be overlooked in favour of the things mentioned above, but every so often one manages to break though and this particular set is one such project. The Labyrinth Marble Maze was originally submitted to LEGO Ideas by JK Brickworks aka Jason Allemann, who takes the classic wooden puzzle game and gives it a little LEGO twist. But how does the final product shape up against other Ideas sets? Here’s our thoughts.
Built entirely from LEGO elements, the LEGO Maze consists of a base frame and a simple tip and tilt mechanism made up of LEGO beams and axles. You turn the wheels to move the maze up and down or from side to side guiding the ball away from the traps.
The interchangeable maze system means you can easily swap maze plates without having to rebuild the entire game. Once you’ve mastered the two maze designs included with the set, you will find lots of inspiration to start creating your own mazes using the bricks included or any of your own LEGO elements.
The set also includes a removable container to store the balls and a travel lock that keeps everything in place when you are carrying or storing the game
Now boxes aren’t the most exciting things to talk about but I feel it must be mentioned here. Upon receiving the Maze set, I was shocked by not only the size of the box but it’s weight too. It’s a whopper and the biggest of the Ideas sets to date, both in terms of the box and the actual set. The box is styled like previous Ideas sets so has a slightly higher quality feel to it, although the graphic design of the box isn’t that great. The colour scheme is a little too muted and the logo doesn’t feel very “LEGO-y”. Within the box is a old style 32×32 baseplate, 4 large 8×16 plates, 7 un-numbered bags of elements and the instruction manual. As with previous Ideas sets, the instruction manual also details a little about its creator Jason Allemann and how the set came to be.
You can see I mentioned the bags were un-numbered as this is great for those who like to build old school, but for those with limited space, like me, it can prove a little tricky to build. You either need to spread out all the bits and take up half the room or ferret through each of the bags to get the bits you need, so I personally would have much preferred the bags to be numbered. The option is then there if you want to build in stages or tip everything out into one big pile. That being said, it in no way affects the actual build of the Maze.
Not surprisingly, the 32×32 base plate acts as the foundation of the set, which is made up of 3 main sections – the base which includes all the working parts, then the two independently moving platform sections and finally the maze plate. The maze plate has two variants, the classic one and a slightly more jazzy Castle-themed one. Despite the heft of the box and the amount of elements, it’s surprisingly simple to build. In fact, the hardest parts of building the set are making sure you get the correct sized pieces. There are a high number of parts which are very similar and are just a few studs different in length, so it can be tricky to find the right one. There are a few 1:1 guides but I still found myself counting studs to make sure I had the right bit.
The mechanics of the set aren’t overly different from what Jason presented in his original project, in fact it’s a surprisingly simple set-up, with a small number of Technic elements connected to wheels of the outside of the base. These can be twisted to move two points either side of the opposite side to the wheels. Even though the platforms are only moved via these two points, it gives a great deal of movement, which you’ll need if you’re gonna get that ball around the maze in one run…which leads nicely onto the balls – there are 4 orange coloured balls included and they are the same as the football ones introduced with the some of the LEGO sport-based sets in the late 90s. More recently they have appeared in the same orange colour in the LEGO Friends sets. Unfortunately the balls have a small hole in them, which I’ve found causes the ball to stick sometimes. Mainly when you’re trying to move the ball slowly, you then have to really flick the platform to get the ball rolling again, making it go flying into the nearest dip. The balls can be stored in a little lidded box which fits nicely within the underside of the base, although it’s not as fancy as the one presented in the original Ideas project. As well as acting as a storage box, it doubles up as a ‘travel lock’ allowing the moving platforms to rest upon it and another set of bricks when not in use. Both of these can easily be removed when the maze is in use.
The maze itself can be built in two different ways, the classic standard version mainly made up of flat tan pieces and grey 1×2, 1×3 and 1×4 bricks which acts as the walls. The second version is a little more colourful and has a Castle theme, with moats, villages and battlements. Both are pretty tricky to get around – especially the classic version. But it’s made even more tricky when the ball sometimes get stuck. It’s also a shame you have to remove the elements on one board to be able to build the other. In one way it enforces the buildable ideals of LEGO, but it would have been nice to change the mazes on the fly.
All in all it’s a nice little set and certainly one of the most unique LEGO Ideas sets to date. In fact I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the most unique LEGO sets full stop. I did expect it to take longer to build but I still enjoyed it and the two different mazes are a nice touch. It will be interesting to see some of the other mazes the LEGO community come up with. Should you buy the set? Despite a few niggles I’d say yes as its uniqueness will allow it to stand the test of time and make it a great addition to your collection. I’d also like to think it will inspire other builders to create equally original projects for LEGO Ideas.
Disclaimer: All our reviews are our own personal views, thanks to the LEGO ARP team for providing us with sets to review.