I liked the 18+ jab at the Bionicle community on the box. Say what you want about the Bionicle community, we are definitely 18+ now.
However, as I was assembling the body of Takua, I began to realize that the 18+ was not a joke. In comparison to the Lego 100 years of play set, this set is HARD to build, and that may be a problem with Brickonicle in general.
What doesn’t help is my chronic lack of spatial direction, which proved to be a hinderance. I switched Takua’s hands around and ended up placing elements of a lava pool rotated 90 degrees to the left, both of which were problems I had to fix (and found really frustrating). At that point, I began to pity the unfortunate parent who just wanted to order $200 worth of Lego when this promotion was going on and didn’t really want this set but got it anyway.
Meanwhile, triggering my spatial directional problems triggered my anxiety. Miserable build experience due to mental illness, 0/10.
I picked myself back up off the floor after my anxiety attack and finished the build, thinking about how long it has been since 2001. It’s been 22 years since we’ve started, 17 years since I started reading books and became the Bionicle story person. Since 2012, I’ve built about 30 Lego sets, at least. I’m not the most spatially proficient person ever, but the instructions for most of the sets were easy enough for even me to follow.
(I was surprised to struggle with attaching the side of the lava pool on step 11. Maybe I shouldn’t have.)
So now we have an ability gap between proficient MoCists with 22+ years of Lego design and build experience and the average 12 year old in 2023. Yes, there are some bright engineering whiz kids out there who will easily complete this build better than I can, but for every one of those, I can count about 5-10 frustrated parents helping their struggling children. Something to keep in mind.
The set that you earn from the struggle is very high quality, which is good considering I paid about $200 for it. Tahu is very posable and the lava pool and surfboard make a “stand” that is very stable.
Maybe Tahu is a little too posable, but better too much than not enough, right?
I like the way Takua’s head was designed, it looks like 2001.
From a story standpoint, I’ve got a gripe that the lava pool looks like a tiny pool and not a river. A lake of lava might have been a thing somewhere, but if so it would be a whole lot bigger. All depictions of lava surfing in visual media have shown a river. I think the tilt is supposed to symbolize surfing a lava wave, which we know from Mask of Light is very dangerous.
And you usually lava surf facing forward. That barely works.
Speaking of Mask of Light, you can attach Takua to the back of Tahu and roleplay that scene if you are so inclined, but Tahu was Tahu Nuva in that scene, and this is original Tahu. There is no Tahu and Takua lava surfing scene in MNOG, and these sets are clearly MNOG-era in terms of design. It’s a bunch of story chronology smashed together, at best. I do think we may be in an era of Lego employees who don’t know the Bionicle story and don’t want to learn it, at least some of them, anyway.
I would have appreciated a bit of printing on the piece meant to represent Mata Nui in the “Amaja circle” to represent his face.
Also, spell Greg Farshtey’s name right.
More 2015 era text design?
So in the end, this set is not too bad for what it is - a shameless marketing tool to take money from old Bionicle fans. But if it were to be sold on its own, I would consider it rather mediocre. The build is difficult for children, and the storyline accuracy is almost nonexistent. It effectively serves neither the child audience of the future nor the old fans of the past, and serves to show that Lego still has some work to do to really get their act together where Bionicle is concerned. It is simply a high-quality set of plastic figures that exist in a no man’s land, a land marked by the words “at least we got something”.