Review: LEGO Animal Crossing - Bunnie's Outdoor Activities - Is It Any Good?


New Horizons on the block

Nintendo's latest collaboration with Lego has resulted in a handful of Animal Crossing sets, a crossover that fans have been begging for ever since the firms' first collaboration, the LEGO Super Mario sets, were announced back in March 2020 — coincidentally Animal Crossing: New Horizons' launch month.

In the years since, we've seen a bunch of Nintendo-themed Lego sets encompassing the more play-focused Super Mario series to the grander, more expensive sets like the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Mario 64 '?' Block, and the mighty Bowser, which are aimed at older gamers.

The massive cross-demographic appeal of Animal Crossing means that fans old and young will be eyeing this new range aimed at ages 6+, which in some ways recalls Lego's long-discontinued, anthopmorphic-animal-filled Fabuland theme. We spied this particular set in our local supermarket and snagged it to bring you our impressions and verdict.

Let's get away from it all once more on our deserted island, shall we?

What's in the box?

On opening our Bunnie's Outdoor Activities box, the first thing we noticed was that it uses Lego's newer white paper bags in place of the traditional clear plastic variety.

While this adds an eco-friendly element of surprise to proceedings, the added friction of the paper means it's easier for small pieces to get 'stuck' in the folds, even when the bags feel empty. Be sure to check each and every one before throwing them in the recycling!

There are just two bags in the box, each with a smaller bag inside. You also get the customary instruction booklet which features a splash page with Bunnie greeting you. Bunnie also runs along the bottom of each page as a 'progress bar' of sorts.

Bunnie's Outdoor build

You start off by building Bunnie. The minifig is as cute and colourful as you'd hope, with good detailing and a head which feels enormous compared to standard Lego minifigures. Once Bunnie's hot to trot with a marshmallow on a stick, it's time to make camp.

Longtime Lego fans — and parents — will be pleased to hear there are no stickers in this set; the log, fossil, and Bell elements are all printed. The construction itself is uncomplicated, but features some neat, surprising touches which had us reminiscing about the our first trip to our in-game island all those years ago. Okay, it might have been only four years ago, but a lot has happened in the world since March 2020 and we found a pleasant nostalgia creeping up on us as we progressed through the simple build.

The set is made up of distinct blocks that can be connected in any grid-like configuration you want, mirroring the terraforming and landscaping abilities you unlock in the game. We like the idea, although in practice disconnecting the separate landscape modules, which are attached using small plates beneath and between the base plates, is fiddly. We would have preferred a system using the Technic pin/hole connections used to connect modular buildings (for example).

After the tent, which houses a pink camping bed and a radio, there's a tree module with tools and a spider, a waterfall with a cute 'splash' effect, a platform with a pitfall seed, ladder, and rock — which can be lifted up to reveal a Bell or fossil — and a cherry tree which also hides a little surprise.

It's cute, there's no denying it, especially if you've played the games, shaken trees, bagged bugs, and bashed rocks for Bells. As relative Lego veterans, though, we had a couple of mild criticisms which came up as we built.

The fir trees, for one, look a bit naff. We love the bases of the trunks, but the foliage on top looks distractingly smooth and undetailed compared to the rest of the set.

Also, the simple pole volt part built into the back of the waterfall is a nice idea, but without bricks to restrict the angle of its pivot, poor Bunnie simply faceplants into the scenery behind the platform. Having recently built Indiana Jones' Temple of the Golden Idol, which includes a play feature with Sapito swinging across a chasm on Indy's whip, it feels like more could have been done here.

Obviously, the intricate parts for the Indy mechanism wouldn't be appropriate on this small set (and would bump up the price, no doubt), but is a couple of blocks to stop the pole travelling past 45 degrees in each direction too much to ask for? It would be simple enough to mod in some bricks of your own, but it's surprising that the designers didn't work those in themselves.

It's tough to be too disappointed in such an affordable set; having seen ingenious designs employed in other sets, though, there's definitely a feeling of, 'Oh, okay' in this small build.

All in all, it took maybe 20 minutes to finish in total, although there was some stop-and-start. Enlisting younger builders to aid your construction could well extend that, playing as you go, though.

Bunnie's Outdoor cost

Bunnie's Outdoor Activities is the second-cheapest Animal Crossing Lego set on offer (discounting Maple's Pumpkin Garden, a 39-piece bag which appears to have gotten a restricted release at some retailers), going for $19.99 / £17.99 / €19.99.

You get 164 pieces (plus the usual extras/leftovers), so the cost-to-piece ratio is in line with Lego's other licensed kits. There's far better value Lego sets available, sure, but they don't have Animal Crossing on the box, right?

The other LEGO Animal Crossing sets

Of course, the ability to connect this set to others such as Kapp'n's Island Boat Tour, expanding the terrain possibilities of your Lego island, is an attractive one. We certainly like the look of the Kapp'n set, with its sand-coloured modules and beach theming, although that's a third more expensive than this one.

From an adult perspective, it's hard not to feel a little disappointed with the Lego Animal Crossing offerings, especially when you see the grand detail in other licensed sets like the aforementioned Indiana Jones example, or something like the new Snow White cottage. If you were looking to get them all and display them, you'd really need a big base plate or some custom solution to tie them all together, visually.


TAGS: Reviews LEGO Animal Crossing Nintendo