Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 2:36am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Ninjago returns to 2015 with a new setting in the Tournament of Elements. In 70753 Lava Falls, Cole is after the Jade Blade, but the evil henchman Sleven is blocking his way, and prepared to send him down into the fiery lava below. Should you jump into action to get this set, or should you just let it burn up in the lava? BZPower Reporter Xccj will help you decide with this review!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the package depicts Cole, in his new Tournament of Elements outfit, fighting against the henchman Sleven on a collapsing bridge over lava. It looks to be an interesting landscape piece, which is unusual for Ninjago since most sets tend to focus on vehicles. (The last time Ninjago saw a landscape piece at this price was in 2012, which was actually the last time we also has a Ninjago set cheaper than $10.) This set is $7.99 USD and comes with 94 pieces, so it's a fairly good value.
The back features a couple more scenes that can be played out with the set. In the upper right corner it features and names the two figures, Cole and Sleven. Cole, of course, is the earth Ninja, while Sleven is a henchman of Chen, the mastermind behind the Tournament of Elements. Beneath that is a scene where Cole defeats Sleven and sends him falling into the lava below. The lower left corner features the collectible weapon in this set; a Jade Blade. While the Jade Blades play a role in the cartoon series, they don't quite have the collectability aspect as some of the earlier Ninjago sets, but they're still fairly cool. Finally, there's an image showing off the main play feature in the set, a collapsing bridge.
Once the set is opened, you get two bags of parts, a few large pieces outside of the bags, and an instruction booklet. The booklet also includes advertisements for a Ninjago mobile game and the Shadow of Ronin game. Looks like we have some more to look forward to.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is rather unimpressive, with just stacking bricks up on one another until you get two small platforms with a bridge connecting them.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set has 94 pieces, in addition to a handful of extras. It consists of plates in red and orange, and then bricks in blacks and grays. Some of the more uncommon elements are the 2x4 orange wedge plate, the right wing plate in dark tan, and the quarter circle plate in dark red. It is disappointing that you one get one of the latter two pieces (and not a left wing plate in dark tan) since it's nice to have pairs of them when MOCing. The dark brown tread piece is also rare, having only appeared in the Ninjago Ultra Sonic Raider in 2012. The Jade Blade is also a new piece, as is Sleven's snake helmet, although they appear in other Ninjago sets this year too.
Cole is in a new outfit for the Tournament of Elements, which is exclusive to this set. He has the same mouth-cover and hair setup from last year, and a new sleeveless uniform with Chinese characters printed on the front and the symbol of earth printed on the back. He also wields a simple sparring staff to use in his fight against Chen's henchmen.
Sleven is one of those henchmen, and he is really into snake designs. In addition to his new snake-head helmet, he has purple snake tattoos on his face, torso, and back, as well as a snake belt. I bet he's really sad that his missed 2012, the year with all the Serpentine snake enemies, but I suppose they're also making a comeback this year. He also carries a long sword, which is a little too big with the extensions added to it, but I guess that helps make it more intimidating. I am slightly disappointed that we didn't get a more unique character, like one of the other Elemental Masters from the show, but Sleven will make for a good army builder for Chen's army.
The Lava Falls structure is basic, but elegant in its simplicity. The gray and black bricks do a nice job of building up small islands over the red and orange plates, which represent the lava, complete with some flames. There is a fairly good color consistency between the levels, and I think it represents a fiery environment very well, considering the price. At the far end is a little temple, which is pretty unimpressive, and a stand for the Jade Blade. They use a skeleton leg to hold onto it, but I found that the leg piece pops off pretty easily, so that's disappointing.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
The main draw of the Lava Falls is the play feature with the collapsible bridge. A technic axle spans the two stone islands and holds the tread pieces in place, and it's fairly sturdy. But the axle can be pulled out, and as it does the bridge neatly drops down, sending anybody currently on it down into the lava below. It's a simple functions but it works rather well.
There is a lot of role play potential here. Cole needs to cross the bridge and get the Jade Blade, but Sleven is there to guard it. Their fight takes them to the bridge, but when it collapses, who will take the fall? While the basic premise of this scene (a collapsing bridge over lava) is featured in the current season of the Ninjago television show, it does not feature Cole or Sleven. It's slightly disappointing that they couldn't keep that consistent, but I suppose that's a minor gripe.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
Exclusive Cole fig
A good amount of pieces, including the Jade Blade
Landscape structure looks pretty good, considering the set's price
Collapsing bridge play feature is well done
Affordable at $7.99 USD
What's not to like?
Includes only one of some wedge plates when it would've been nicer to have two
Skeleton leg stand holding the Jade Blade disconnects easily
Cole and Sleven were not in this scene in the show
Overall, I think this is a great impulse set that really captures the essence of the Tournament of Elements theme. It comes with two good figs, and this is the only way to pick up Cole in this outfit. It sets up the scene nicely and has a decent amount of play value, especially with the collapsing bridge. And at $7.99 USD, there's no reason not to purchase it right away! It's definitely an exciting start to this winter's Ninjago wave, and I can't wait to see what the other sets are like! And remember, the new Ninjago sets will be widely available in stores this March, so there's not much longer to wait!
Thanks again for reading and/or watching this review. Make sure to like and subscribe to the BZPower Youtube channel to keep on top of all our latest set reviews, and expect more of them in the future, including more Ninjago set reviews!