Ah, LEGO Minecraft… Some consider it the perfect pairing of the physical and virtual worlds of building, while others are left scratching their heads at what they consider glorified basic brick boxes with Minecraft branding. Either way, the latest offering in the LEGO Minecraft line is the largest one to date. It’s a playset version of one possible arrangement of a village randomly generated when loading a new Minecraft world, a recognizable landmark for even an occasional player like myself. How does 21128 The Village, with 1600 pieces, eleven minifigures, and a price tag of $199.99 USD, hold up to a LEGO fan like myself, or to a hardcore Minecraft fan?
As the largest set in the Minecraft line to date, the box is large to match. It is the same size as 75060 Slave I, also priced at $199. The front of the box shows a great overview of the set and has images of each of the eleven minifigures in the set.
The back of the box shows an alternate configuration of the village components on a clean background to more clearly show the build. Various opening functions and landmarks within the village are featured in panels above and below. Also shown is the tape closure of the box, which seems to be standard with large LEGO kits recently.
There are twelve bags of pieces in The Village: eleven numbered 1 through 11, and one without a number containing 1-plate-thick baseplates of various sizes, mostly green with one baseplate in tan. The instruction booklets come in a separate bag, backed with cardboard to prevent bending.
The Village has two instruction booklets. The first booklet has instructions for the complete main model as it appears on the box, with ads for other LEGO Minecraft sets, an ad for Minecraft itself, and a parts inventory. The second booklet has instructions for disassembling a couple of components to reconstruct into a defense wall and is not needed to construct the main model. I appreciate this separation. If I were to construct the alternate model, I wouldn’t need to flip through one booklet trying to find step 1 of the alternate model. I simply start from the beginning of booklet two.
Bag 1: Trading Post
Readers curious about building techniques only, I will not waste your time: there are no notable techniques in the whole set. Nothing. The set is as straightforward and simple as it gets.
The first module constructed is the only component of a Minecraft village in this set that is not randomly generated in a new world: a trading post. This module suggests being located near a jungle biome with a tree growing near the trading post’s tent. It’s clear that this module is a trading post but it’s the weakest of all the modules when compared to the game version. Also constructed in bag 1 are 2×4 blocks later used as connectors for the modules.
Bag 2 and 3: Blacksmith
The second module constructed is the blacksmith shop, with a stack of two furnaces you can remove and place elsewhere. Using some Technic pieces (but not too many so that children can build the set without much trouble) the roof and front pillars swivel backwards to play inside. It’s a clever solution that works great and super smoothly. It’s fairly accurate to the in-game blacksmith shop as well, both in layout and the blocks found within.
Bag 4 and 5: Library
The third module constructed is the library, the first of only two house modules in the set. Notably, there’s a good quantity of several kinds of basic bricks (1×12, 1×2, 1×1, 2×4, and more) in nougat color. The exterior is immediately recognizable to me as a village house. This and the butcher, which we’ll show later in the review, are the strongest modules in the set.
A fun play feature of the library is the fold-open interior that works like a doll house. The interior is cramped, and all that is inside is a spider web in the attic, a couple of benches, a crafting table, and bookshelves on the ground floor. But there’s enough room to play with about three minifigures inside. The front door swivels open easily, and sticks out slightly from the door opening just like doors in the game.
Bag 6 and 7: Guard Tower
The fourth module constructed is a guard tower standing in a piece of the tundra biome and above a small emerald mine. If the repetitiveness of the construction process didn’t bother you yet, it will here. Those tiny pillars supporting the guard rail at the top of the tower get tedious, and this won’t be the last time pillars will be built. It bothers me that there are three different colors used throughout the set to represent water: blue, light blue, and trans dark blue. It would be more appealing if only one of these colors were chosen. The tower is easily removable to play with minifigures in the emerald mine underneath.
Bag 8: Farm
The fifth module is a farm with crops and a pig pen. As far as game accuracy is concerned, this is the most true to the game. The staggered arrangement of crops (carrots, potatoes, and wheat) on either side of a row of water is great, though building all those crops get repetitive real quick. Guess what you build after those crops? More pillars for the pig pen! The gate to the pig pen opens outward.
Bag 9: Well
The sixth module is a well located in the desert biome. Not much to note here. It’s bare save for the well itself, torches, and a pretty cleverly represented cactus. This is neither the strongest module nor the weakest. Everything about this one is average. The roof of the well is removable to access the water bucket and well water. A nice play feature to let a minifigure scoop out a bucket full of water.
Bag 10 and 11: Butcher
The seventh and final module is a butcher hous,e which is similar to the library module in many ways. What makes this house unique is the patio in the rear. Like I mentioned earlier with the library, the two house modules are the strongest modules. Again, the butcher house folds open, but this one is a bit less cluttered than the library. Despite its differences from the library, the build feels too familiar and tedious.
The Village includes eleven minifigures. From left to right: pig, piglet, Enderman, Golem, Creeper, Alex, Steve, zombie, villager zombie, villager (2).
It’s hard to justify the $199 price tag just to get these pieces, but its worth noting that some do come in new colors: 6×6 tiles in dark bluish gray (3 total), Minecraft sword, Minecraft pickaxe, six-stem flower stem in dark orange, carrot stalk in flame yellow orange, various printed tiles and bricks, new villager head mold, new villager torso mold, and a white 1×2 jumper plate with a minifigure neck stud instead of the usual stud. Also notable (but not pictured here) are all the basic bricks in nougat I mentioned earlier.
Overall, the set is good. While repetitive and often boring to build, the end result is fairly accurate to villages randomly scattered throughout the worlds of Minecraft. It carries a high price of $199.99 for 1600 mostly basic parts with few new parts I can’t yet obtain in other sets or on Bricklink. As a casual fan of Minecraft interested in parts, I can’t recommend this set if you’re questioning the price, are not a hardcore fan of Minecraft, or both. It’s simply not a good parts pack. However, as a playset for Minecraft’s younger audience, the only barrier is cost; if the price is not an issue for you, the set is something a Minecraft fan would appreciate for its play value, authenticity, and plethora of minifigures to take on adventures. I showed this set to my younger brother (18) and sister (14), who both play plenty of Minecraft, and they loved the authenticity, all the characters included, the play features, and how the modules can be rearranged.
21128 The Village is currently available from the LEGO Shop Online for $199.99 USD.
LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set to review. Providing TBB with products for review does not guarantee coverage or a positive review.