REVIEW: Heartlake Shopping Mall

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GBP 79.99 / USD 109.99
WARNING: this review may contain content unsuitable for children.

The Verdict

Although I had bought Summer Riding Camp when it came out, and had taken pictures of it for a review, this is the largest set I’ve reviewed to date. It’s everything I’d expected from a set of this magnitude and at this price, but thankfully it also exceeded expectations.

If you’re a fan of the Friends theme at all, this set is definitely worth the investment if you also plan on building a town or environment centred around minidolls. Not only do the stores in the set look good in their own right, but they serve as good starting points to add your own to the layout. Maybe have a go at designing a clothes shop, or extend the eating area to house more minidolls?

If you’re a fan of the new parts and colours introduced by the Friends theme, this is a no-brainer. There are too many great parts in this set to justify buying them individually from [likely] expensive grey marketers; I’d say you might as well buy the set for whatever you want, and figure out what to do with the rest. My personal favourties from this set are the Gold rings, the numerous parts in Lavender and Medium Lavender, and of course those wheels from the car. I never thought I’d find myself liking a set of wheels and tyres that much.

The bridal store and Emma’s car are the strongest elements of the set in my opinion: the bridal store being one of the simpler builds but greatly enhanced by the usage of Dark Pink and White; the car being a solid build that could easily have been its own set.

If there is any weakness in this offering, it’s with the selection of minidolls. While it’s great to have another Emma and even a Stephanie variant, these can be fairly easily built from less expensive – but numerous – other sets. That leaves the two unique minidolls, of which Julian is the stronger and the one we’d most likely want. You’d have to buy this set for Sophie’s head and the White turban, the latter of which hasn’t existed since Orient Expedition.

So here’s my verdict:

Rating breakdown

Design: 8 out of 10
Perhaps too many colours were used overall, but each of the mall's stores has its own character and they all fit together very well.
Build: 9 out of 10
Building each of the stores - and even the photo booth - provides an introduction to some advanced and clever building techniques.
Parts: 9 out of 10
Lots and lots and lots of interesting and useful parts, of which some may even be exclusive to this set. While there may not be enough of a particular part to satisfy one's hunger, it's worth purchasing the set for them.
Playability: 8 out of 10
There's plenty to do with the mall, whether you treat it as part of a larger scene or as a dolls house environment. Most of my time has been spent driving the minidolls around in the awesome car!
Price: 7 out of 10
It's worth the RRP if you're completing a minidoll collection AND obtaining those interesting parts, otherwise wait for a price reduction.

With all that said, I’m giving this set 8.2/10, and – for the first time in a long time – an honourary Silent Approval. It’s the best set I’ve reviewed so far this year.

Once again thanks for bearing with me through this long review! Now it’s time for this episode’s…