Monkie Kid's Lion Guardian is LEGO set 80021-1. It has a score of 87. This is average compared to all other sets. The set is recommended by 0 reviews, based on 2 scored reviews and 4 reviews total. It is ranked in the top 20.8% scored sets on Brick Insights. We know this set was released in 2021, and it is categorised in Monkie Kid.
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These colorful and splashy animals makes for fun play and vibrant display thanks to its dynamic side-builds. BUILD: There is a large amount of variety during the build considering the three distinct components. Only the legs of the lion ever felt repetitive. There are a bunch of clear stickers so care should be taken when preventing air bubbles from being seen. With two sets of instructions included for the various builds, it is ideal for building with a friend. PLAY: It is very easy to create fun scenarios with the setting, protagonist, and antagonist. The jaw function on the lion works quite well, even though the manner of moving it can be hard to reach depending on hand size. While it's nice to include the spider, the legs can be pretty fragile and finicky to play with. The arcade with claw game was unnecessary to include, but elevates the set with unique features and a key setting from the tv show. DISPLAY: The lion is quite vibrant and looks good with other Monkie Kid vehicles since it has a shared aesthetic with the Monkey King Warrior Mech. On its own, the set looks good with all of the side builds. However, the arcade particularly feels out of place when next to other Monkie Kid settings since it doesn't share much design language with either the city builds from other sets or the flower fruit mountain. The variety of figures and builds lets you set up countless different configurations for engaging displays.
Ultimately, Monkie Kid's Lion Guardian is an average set in terms of cost, build time, and the number of Minifigures included. Additionally, the characters feature nice designs. However, the set let me down in terms of build. The Spider Queen's ride wastes bricks needed to up the detail on the lion. While the lion looks good from a forward-facing angle, it falls short from the sides, top, and back. Beefing up the design makes a fun MOC project, but I wanted a display piece right out of the box.
Despite the criticisms I lodge against 80021 Monkie Kid's Lion Guardian, and it being the least impressive of the sets from this wave, it should be pointed out that this is a stance informed by the absolute stellar quality of its contemporaries. This is, by no means, bad. We have a nice selection of important characters appearing as minifigs, a fun side-build and a pair of exciting new moulds which hold quite a bit of MOC-building potential. The main model definitely would have benefited a great deal from more refining, and its shortcomings are amplified by the fact that it can't chalk them up to being experimental. We've seen this archetype done better, which is only more reason to focus on the location-based part of the set in future designs.
With animals a key aspect of Chinese culture, it's great to see the different ways they are interpreted in LEGO form and woven into the Monkie Kid story. The stylised version of the lion is also a common element of Chinese celebration. Seeing how this has inspired a mech-like build is also quite impressive. I like the simple play features the set contains, especially the hidden bolt launches. The Spider Queen's battle station platform adds something a little different to the character and when she's placed upon it, it looks like an extension to her, instead of being something she stands on. The Anti Grav arcade build seems like an unnecessary inclusion as it has little to do with the rest of the set. But it's one of my favourite parts of the set. It's greatly detailed and I love the inventiveness of the crane grab machine.