Yellow Digger – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, March 2023

I may not be into Minecraft or for that matter the LEGO version of it, but the LEGO Minecraft magazine certainly keeps on giving and still holds my interest. That is of course a bit of an inevitable paradox, as no doubt I may marvel at things that are everyday breakfast for someone engrossed in that world. Anyway, for now I’m discovering enough new things that I like, so let’s have a look at the latest issue for March 2023.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Cover

One of the main issues with the series is of course the limited color palette because everything is based on blocks in a few standardized colors. This adds a level of complication for making the comics look interesting, but as far as that goes the one in this issue ain’t that bad. The illustrators seem to understand the process better now after two years doing this stuff and they also get a bit more daring with applying extra shading and light effects.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Comic

One thing that still annoys me is the scattershot nature of how the pages are laid out and every other page interrupts the comic with puzzles or some unrelated info. Are kids’ attention spans these days really so bad they can’t be asked to read the comic as an entire block? In any case, it makes the mag quite noisy and look cheap.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Comic

Last month’s poster was quite okay, but this month we’re back down in the dumps. Re-using the November cover image? Mirroring it? You must be kidding! Calling this bad Photoshop editing would be doing favors. It’s really a lot worse than that and downright awful. The backside doesn’t do much better with the umpteenth use of the same Creeper image…

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Poster

The bright spot is once more the extra(s), which is quite plentiful. Not only do you get two minifigures, the yellow explorer and another Creeper, but also a sizable piece of landscape. Not by any means anything too special, but usable. The Trans Neon Green “slime blob” is particularly nice and I almost wish it didn’t even have the eyes printed on, so it could be used more universally (without resorting to trickery like turning the cube in order to hide the decorations).

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Extra

All in all this is an okay issue when you figure in all the little pieces, but I’m somehow baffled by Blue Ocean making strides and improving in one area (the comic) and then being cheap and falling back on those terrible hacks (the posters). A more coherent and consistent approach really would improve matters quite a bit.

Skeletons Galore – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, November 2022

Minecraft somehow isn’t my thing and as much as I want to, I just can’t get myself to even play it once. There’s some value in LEGO Minecraft, though, as I often enough find myself buying some sets just for the bricks. Out of necessity (because all the bricks are exposed and visible) they keep introducing interesting recolors and new elements. That said, of course the corresponding magazine is another way to sometimes snatch up the goods.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Cover

The November edition of the LEGO Minecraft magazine doesn’t offer too much that would get me excited, though. The comic is one of those uninteresting ones with lots of empty sky and endless green planes.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Comic

The poster is quite acceptable in that it is colorful and lightens the mood. On the other hand the one on the back with a Creeper head and informing you “When you see this, it’s already too late” sucks up this positive energy.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Poster

The extra is interesting in that we get a skeleton horse built from plates and bricks  plus of course one can never have enough skeleton minifigures, Minecraft or otherwise. The Alex figure is nothings special, on the other hand.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Extra

This edition is not really anything special, but serviceable. The little bone horse is fun to build and looks the part. The rest of the magazine can’t really hold a candle to that, unfortunately. It’s definitely not a must-have issue.

The one with the Creeper – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, August 2022

There was a slight delay in the LEGO Minecraft magazine making it to my newsstand and it’s still so damned hot that i can barely focus on the simplest things, so this review is a few days behind the times. Still, it’s not like the mag wouldn’t be available for a while to come, so maybe it can still be useful for you to make a purchase decision.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Cover

The comics are getting notably better with every issue, though of course there’ll always be distinct differences in style across the different artists doing the illustrations. either way, it seems they’re getting more and more a handle on understanding what works and what doesn’t and while one can’t rule out that there will be murky “seas of grey” in upcoming editions, this one offers a nice balance of bright colors, good contrast and interesting perspectives.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Comic

The posters do not quite live up to that level, mostly because they’re simply shoddy 3D renders with a lot of Photoshop effects thrown on, but I guess we’ve had worse. The ghostly Creepers are okay and the reverse one with the cutaway view of some underground halls in moonlight isn’t entirely terrible, either. Would I hang them up in my room? Probably not, but that’s just me…

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Poster

The extra is pretty decent value with effectively two minifigures and another little side build, especially for folks like me that rarely ever buy an actual Minecraft set. If you really just want some more figures and don’t care for the specific characters that’s an easy way to get them and have some play fun. Incidentally, my Creeper had a bit of damage with the semi-lifted “legs” showing stress marks because there was too much pressure on the thin walls while the pieces were squeezed in a stack of magazines. I don’t mind, but you may feel otherwise, so keep an eye out if your magazine has suffered a lot during transport and the foil back looks too crumpled or compressed on the shelf.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Extra

All things considered this is a fairly acceptable issue, especially with the comic not being such an eyesore. Definitely worth a look if you’re even only half interested in Minecraft!

Paper Creeper – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, May 2022

The LEGO Minecraft magazine definitely is not the most attractive one in terms of design, which can easily be proven with the May 2022 issue’s cover. i could barely believe that such a distasteful abomination left the print shop. *yikes*

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Cover

As I’ve written the last few times already, the comic is more of an acquired taste than an actual thing of beauty. Somehow it just doesn’t click with me and most panels just look ugly or even creepy. Maybe if you’re steeped in the lore of the game you can overlook these things and get something out of it, so I’ll leave it at that.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Comic

The poster is another hack job from the subterranean floor at the Blue Ocean headquarters where someone is chained to a desk in the cellar and it looks bad in more way than I can count. Not quite as terrible as the last one, but still pretty awful. Not was Photoshop was invented for!

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Poster

A small interesting bonus is a paper cut & fold creeper on the back cover. It comes in two flavors thanks to a double-sided print – in regular form and charged with blue lightning. It’s not a full creeper model, though, just a cube you glue together. I’m always for this kind of activities stuff. It’s much more preferable than those nonsensical and way too trivial puzzles inside the mag.

The extra is quite substantial with a minifigure and two animals, the latter being an ocelot and a sheep. These are always desirable for their heads and Bricklink suggests that in fact the yellow guy as seen here has otherwise only been in one set. The Alex minifigure is nothing to write home about but I’ll gladly take another silver fish and a brown whip for my collection. You never know when you might need another vine on a wall or tree…

Granted, I’m a victim of my own ignorance when it comes to Minecraft, but somehow this magazine just doesn’t light my fire. Except for the extra I’m not getting much out of it and even from an abstract graphics design standpoint it turns me off. Maybe you feel differently, but overall I don’t think you would be missing much not buying this issue.

New Block on the Block – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, January 2022

Minecraft is an odd thing of a game. Some love it to death while others like me couldn’t be bothered. In  the LEGO universe it has its own weird place, given how many compare the game to the actual building with bricks. I think that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but there can be no denying that there is a certain charm in seeing parts of that virtual world turned into sets. since that seems to be reasonably successful, too, it really isn’t much of a surprise that we’re getting a matching comic magazine, too. So let’s see what the first issue offers.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2022, Cover

There was some “through the grapevine” info leaked on this being in the pipeline last October and I really couldn’t wait to check it out. In particular I was wondering how the comics would turn out, as generally this does not lend itself particularly well to that format in my opinion. It’s one of those cases where the limited design options any block-based world may offer kinda will get in the way. Interestingly, my mind having been conditioned by video games in the 1990s I could see a lot of it working as an isometric perspective thing and so far the comics seem to confirm that. At least to me it looks nice when it’s drawn like those little scenes e.g. in role playing games, where the camera is hovering above and viewing the goings-ons at a certain angle from a bit of distance, but once they get too close things start feeling strange. I guess we’ll have to wait how it evolves stylistically.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2022, Comic

The story very much is in line with what you’ve come to expect from these magazines – pig runs away, everyone panics, hijinx ensue, pig is saved from peril, everyone is happy. Not really many surprises here, but at least there’s hope we might see something more imaginative one day.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2022, Comic

The poster is acceptable, though I still always find myself going *umppphhhh* over plastering everything with fat type. It feels superfluous and ruins the mood. the back side shows a “No Creepers!” sign, but to me that is a lot less attractive than the front one.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2022, Poster

The extra is quite comprehensive with two minifigures and the pig. You get Steve and a zombie version of him, which really is a good start, generic as the figures may be in the Minecraft universe.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2022, Extra

It’s of course too early to tell where this is headed, but I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this. Even if you have no specific relation to Minecraft, this series has some interesting pieces, quite a few of which have useful prints and that alone could be a reason to pick up the mag every once in a while.