"Ninjago City Gardens is simply an outstanding set, with endlessly inventive design features and dozens upon dozens of Easter eggs and nods to fans throughout its 20+ bags. This set represents tremendous value and a satisfying building experience, which I stretched over 1 1/2 weeks to savor the build.
I’m a new ‘AFOL’ who missed out on the original Ninjago City (70620) and Docks — which I hope get reissued! - so I was really excited to see this continuation of chunky, vertical modular Ninjago sets. The Gardens really seem like an evolution from those beloved sets, with a bigger footprint, intricate detail on all sides of the model, and a continued effort to cram as much variation and cool parts usage as possible from top to bottom.
I want to give a nod to the design team (and instructions designers!) for their clear effort to create novelty and “a-ha” moments in every single bag. Every roof, lamp, railing, and wall use different parts and unexpected techniques - from hotdogs to meat cleavers to game controller pieces - and the use of color, texture, and angles in each module felt like a masterclass in LEGO design. (There are some great articles online exploring the build in detail which I encourage prospective buyers to check out!)
I was drawn in by the bold and bright blocks of colors paired with organic landscaping and water features, the high piece count - and the chance to have a Ninjago City building experience for far less than $700 in after-market prices. I can’t recommend the Gardens enough to anyone interested and think it will soon be considered one of the best sets LEGO has ever released.
Tip: I built the smaller temple island first, though it comes at the end of the 3rd instruction book, as suggested by one review which noted it could feel anti-climactic to end with the mini-build."
"What a looker! The diverse detailing of the trunk and cabin exteriors, off-grid organic feel of many elements, and truly three-dimensional display qualities of the model are real standouts. This build was a journey through different techniques and I found a lot of joy in discovering the clever ways similar elements were varied to provide texture and details.
My biggest complaint is that the instructions were less than clear, for several reasons -- no highlights calling out where the new pieces are placed besides some arrows, and a lot of difficulty determining piece colors between two shades of brown and tan/orange which didn't exactly match the bricks' color. It wasn't as smooth a building experience and led to several mistakes which I would only notice toward the end of a bag. Make sure to build under a good light source!
I also noticed some quality issues with the bricks -- stress lines on some plates, dots from what I imagine is the injection mold process, and a single piece that was super warped for which I've requested a replacement. YMMV.
I found the build experience varied, between the gradual layering of the landscape base, technical construction and geometric feats of the tree trunk and cabin roofs, and the seriously delightful and clever cabin interiors which was my favorite part of the build. The bathroom's various water features and plumbing in particular blew me away. There is a real care to make this set look amazing from any direction, from the landscape features up through the branch and leaf structure. Lots of elements that are open to customization!
As others have noted the final steps of adding the leaves bordered on repetitive, and swapping out colors requires quite a lot of changing out, so I recommend mixing colors from the start to provide a fuller "canopy". I chose to use almost all of the light and dark green leaves with a smattering of brown and yellow, to evoke the transition into autumn.
Definitely recommend this one more as a display piece than one for active playing, but a strong recommendation regardless!"
"Assembly Square is my first LEGO set as an adult, and I think I've been bitten by what will become an expensive bug! This is an amazing set and felt well worth the price. The build experience was engaging over 3 days (~12+ hours) and contained continual surprises and interesting techniques and parts usage. Great instructions with highlights calling out the locations of the new pieces on each page. The interiors contain so many delightful details and little easter eggs in every room, culminating in the LEGO fan's apartment on the top floor. I can't help but gawk at the set when I walk by it! It can be hard to appreciate just how fun of a building experience this is by pictures alone - if you're considering this set at all, I recommend going for it!
I was surprised by how easily each section (module) can be removed and replaced, which is necessary since so much of the set is tucked away inside the rooms. I think this set functions better as a building experience and model than a play set, as positioning the mini figures inside some of the interiors and adjusting some props can be quite tricky even with nimble fingers. That's probably my only criticism.
I imagine that creative builders can make great use out of all 4,002 pieces included in this set - I'm just getting back into LEGO as an adult but I'm already imagining making creations of my own. This set is possibly retiring soon, so keep that in mind!"