LEGO Creator 3 in 1 is back with another (small) modular building for your LEGO City streets - this time in the form of a LEGO Downtown Noodle Shop! We know not everybody loves the smaller 3 in 1 sets, but this LEGO noodle shop actually adds a lot to your City streets and we thought today would be a good time to take a closer look at it and explore whether or not it's worth adding to your LEGO City. So, all that's left for us to do is welcome you to our LEGO 31131 review, and to dive right in!
LEGO's latest Creator 3 in 1 offering is this, the LEGO Downtown Noodle Shop, but as you might expect, the 3 in 1 element comes in because there are two alternate builds that you can easily make with this set too. Besides the LEGO noodle shop, there's also a games arcade and a small bike repair shop, and all 3 versions of this set look incredible and are packed full of details that make their purpose immediately obvious (largely due to the obvious, but stylish signs at the front of each building).
Although there are two alternative builds, today we'll focus mostly on the noodle shop since it's the lead building for this set, but just know that both alternatives look great and are not at all out of place on the street.
If that quick introduction has already made you hungry to get your hands on this set, then depending on where you are in the world, you may have to be patient. In the UK and Australia, you can grab this right now! It's been out since June 1st, 2022, so you can add this to your LEGO City today. Here in the US and Canada, though, we'll have to wait a little while longer as this set doesn't release until August 1st, 2022.
But when it's here, you can expect a 569-piece set that's packed full of interesting architectural details that will be welcome on any LEGO City Street!
In terms of price, you can expect to pick up this LEGO noodle shop set for $44.99 when it releases which is less than 8 cents a brick, making this one of the better sets for your money in terms of price per brick. But don't let the small set size or lower price point make you judge this set too early. There's still plenty on offer here and considering it's a 3 in 1 build, you really do get a lot for your money, and the details included in this set really make it feel more than worth the price you pay.
So far, we're quite impressed by this unassuming noodle shop set. But how does the building experience stack up?
With 3 builds in 1 on offer here, your building experience is going to be a good one. Why? Because the more building there is to be done, the better, right? But let's just focus on the noodle shop build itself for now.
With just 6 stickers for the entire build, most of the details in the set you get to create for yourself, which is always a great thing to see when completing a LEGO build. There's two segments to the shop itself, which are then joined together by a hinge which allows you to open up the modular building for play purposes and to decorate the inside of the noodle shop and the apartment above.
Better yet, there are two technic pin holes on either side of the build which you can use to connect this set with others in the LEGO Creator 3 in 1 collection. This versatility is expected from these types of sets, but it's still always a good point to highlight.
The build itself is fun, but it is small so you will be able to complete it quite quickly. This might be a little disappointing for those of you who enjoy the building aspect, but the finished piece is impressive enough and adds enough to your LEGO City for the small build time to be worth it.
Besides that, the only real complaint we have is that the build is fiddly in parts and once it's connected, it's not so easy to pull apart to build the alternative builds. But then again, we often find that to be the case for LEGO Creator 3 in 1 sets, so it's not so much a negative point as it is a frustration you might have with this specific 3 in 1 LEGO collection as a whole.
Minifigure Deep Dive
With this set, you'll also get two minifigures. One of which is the noodle chef, and the other is a customer (and resident in the apartment above the noodle shop). The chef looks great in his chef white jacket and tan pants, and his accessory is a large cleaver that might seem a little overkill for cooking noodles, but it sure looks cool. He also has two faces available, one smiling, and one with a larger grin, which is nice to see.
The customer looks amazing too, and she carries chopsticks as her accessory, but unfortunately, she only has one face available. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been a nice detail to see, for sure.
If there's any criticism, we can make about the minifigures available, it's that they don't fit well within the alternative builds. Sure, you can remove the chopsticks and use the noodle shop customer minifigure as a customer in a bike repair shop or games arcade, but the chef doesn't really make sense in either.
Of course, the LEGO noodle shop is the lead build in this 3 in 1 set, so you wouldn't necessarily expect minifigures that fit in to the other scenes, but it would have been nice to get a different torso option for the chef minifigure so he would be usable elsewhere.
Overall, though, that's just nitpicking and we do like the minifigures on offer here because they fit into the noodle shop and apartment well and they're great for storytelling play and display.
Before we give our final verdict, here are all the good things we LOVE about LEGO set 31131:
- Impressive large model - Despite the 569 bricks, they connect together in a satisfying way that creates a really well-rounded build that feels much larger than it is. Don't get us wrong, this is still a small modular building, but it just feels much larger because of everything that's included.
- Packed full of details - From the signs outside, to the noodle shop details, and the apartment above the shop, there are plenty of details on offer here and it gives plenty of amazing play opportunities. There's even an amazingly detailed ice cream cart for the street outside, which just adds a lot of realism to the set too.
- Display is great too - Not only are there play opportunities galore, but the display possibilities here are amazing. The look of the building is impressive and is packed full of architectural details, but it also looks great on any LEGO City Street because it fits into the other LEGO Creator 3 in 1 styles perfectly too.
- Alternative builds - The alternative builds on offer are just as detailed and fun as the noodle shop, and this versatility allows for LEGO street development as you choose to change things up and keep things fresh.
Of course, there are some bad points that go along with this LEGO set too:
- Not as impressive folded - Although it feels large when open for play, it loses some of its charm when it's folded shut on the street.
- Interior not as good as exterior - In fact, we'd even go so far as to say that it looks a little lackluster compared to the exterior of the property. Of course, this is often the case with modular buildings, but we're always hopeful that one day a modular building set will be released with appropriate interior decorations and useful objects, or else you are restricted in the play and display opportunities available to you.
Overall, this set is a good one. We like the exterior, the 3 in 1 build, and the minifigures on offer. It's one of those sets that seems to fit perfectly for play and display, making it appeal to everybody. The price is certainly good for all that you get and we recognize that. But we can't lie. As great as it is, it feels a little flat compared to other modular buildings.
That's not to say it's bad, and it's still a worthy addition to any LEGO City, but perhaps we were just hoping for a little more details in the interior, and for it to be more versatile in terms of the stories you can tell when using the alternate builds.
Should you buy this set? Yes, we think you should, but maybe wait for the price to come down a little or add it to your Christmas or birthday list. Spending your own money on it might leave you feeling like us - sure, it's good, but it could have been better.
Everything Looks Better In Lights!
Despite the flat note we've ended on above, it wouldn't be a Lightailing review without pointing out that everything looks better in lights, and that's certainly true of LEGO 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop. If you head to our accessories page, you'll be able to create your very own LEGO Downtown Noodle Shop light kit to make the place really come alive.