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Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong’s Mine Cart Ride review

Lego Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride expands the Lego Super Mario range with a large and exciting set featuring both Diddy and Funky Kong.

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing Diddy standing in a jungle arch.

Our Verdict

The biggest of the Lego Donkey Kong sets, Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride is filled with small details that show a lot of respect for the source material. Meanwhile, the interactive elements are really clever and sure to put a smile on the faces of fans of all ages. If you can afford it, it's sure to entertain and delight.

Reasons to buy
  • Includes Lego Funky and Diddy
  • Lots of cool interactive elements
  • Impressive attention to detail
Reasons to avoid
  • Quite expensive
  • Doesn't work as a display piece

The biggest of the Lego Donkey Kong sets, Diddy Kong’s Mine Cart ride takes a while to build, but includes Lego iterations of two of the series’ most beloved characters and pays tribute to one of the most iconic types of level. It delights me endlessly that you can just walk into any toy store and find this on the shelf.

As a lifelong fan of Donkey Kong, it’s no surprise that I’d describe this as one of the best Lego sets for adults, though there’s a lot in here to appeal to children too (in fact, of all the Lego Donkey Kong sets, I’d argue this one has the most to appeal to kids).

Those looking for cheap Lego sets may be disappointed by the large price tag, but I’m sure this set will be a very welcome addition to the collections of Lego, Nintendo, and Donkey Kong fans alike.

From design to ease of assembly, I’ve looked at this set from many different angles, and you can jump ahead to the different sections of the review below:

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing the whole assembled set.


Lego Diddy Kong’s Mine Cart Ride specs:

Model number 71425
Build time Roughly 6 hours
Number of pieces 1157
Number of minifigures No traditional minifigures, though Lego versions of Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and a mole miner are included
Recommended age 8+
Dimensions set can be configured in several different ways

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing a mole miner near an exploded rock with a banana inside.


While Lego Donkey Kong’s Tree House was directly inspired by a specific location from the Donkey Kong Country games, Diddy Kong’s Mine Cart Ride is more of an amalgamation. I guess it’s because the mine cart levels are a popular gameplay mechanic that Lego wanted to capture in brick form, but no singular minecart level stands out as the definitive iteration.

The biggest inspiration is the Cave world from Donkey Kong Country Returns (which is filled with minecart levels) and it includes an adorable Lego version of one of the mole miners from that world. The videogame level’s distinctive minecart tracks, dilapidated and falling apart, are captured here too. At the same time, there’s a Lego version of the Snaggles (shark) enemies, but they only appear in High Tide Ride, a minecart level in Sea Breeze Cove from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Snaggles as a minecart hazard isn’t the only Tropical Freeze inspiration here, either. Most notably, the set also includes a Lego Funky Kong (who was absent from Returns) and even his Fly ‘n’ Buy shop, which is recreated with an incredible level of detail, with little balloons and even the toy capsule machine. So, a mix of influences from the games, then.

There’s a lot of interactive stuff in this set too. For example, there’s a charge of dynamite you can press down on to make a rock fall apart, revealing a banana inside. You can also press down on one part of the track with the mine cart, and cause Snaggles to jump up and attack. It’s really impressive to see all of these things included in the set, and younger fans in particular will get a lot of satisfaction out of them.

Everything here also looks great, from the minecart tracks themselves, through to the crystals on the mini-waterfall that flows alongside them. I love all the characters, too, and am especially fond of the Lego Funky Kong, because he’s quite articulated; you can move him around and pose him in many more positions than you can with Diddy, or even Donkey or Cranky from the other set.

The only downside of it all is that it felt like I was building a videogame level, rather than a location. This might sound pretty silly (it is based on a videogame, after all) but the treehouse set felt like it was a small corner of Donkey Kong Island, whereas this one feels a little less like a ‘real’ location.

It’s just a very small (and completely subjective) note, but for this reason, it didn’t feel quite as immersive as Donkey Kong’s Tree House to me. To put it another way: that one could be a display piece, and this one definitely couldn’t.

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing Funky at his shop.

Ease of assembly

This is a big Lego set, so it takes quite a while to build. For me, it was one of the biggest Lego sets I’ve ever built – in fact, almost certainly the biggest. It was never too difficult to put together, but it was definitely harder than Donkey Kong’s Tree House because of the interactive elements. There are a lot of times when you have to fit tiny little pieces into tiny little holes, and it’s perilously easy to drop one inside and have to awkwardly pull it back out again. Such is Lego.

To its credit, though, those particularly fiddly moments were the only source of the difficulty. The set is a very solid construct and I didn’t find any bits falling off while I added other parts later on. This was a relief, because I find having to put old parts back on again to be one of the more annoying parts of building Lego, but here, there wasn’t a hitch. This is probably partly due to it being very modular, and really several set pieces tied together by small connecting parts.

Like all Lego Mario sets, it doesn’t actually come with any instructions, instead, you have to download the Lego Super Mario app. On the one hand, this is super handy, because you can then zoom in on every piece and rotate the instructional images so that you’re 100% sure you’re putting everything in the right place (I think printed Lego instructions can be a bit unclear sometimes).

On the other hand, I worry about people having a hard time accessing these in the future when the app has potentially been discontinued or is not compatible with the next generation of devices. 

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing Diddy standing near some tracks beside a barrel containing a shovel and a banana.


At a lofty $109.99 (£94.99), this is an expensive set. Luckily for me, a friend of mine was kind enough to buy it for me as a gift – but honestly I would have bought it anyway. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s a worthwhile purchase for you – but when making up your mind, consider:

  • This set is tied to a big Nintendo IP, and they’ll always be expensive
  • It’s leaving production at the end of 2024 and, like most retiring Lego sets, will likely shoot up in price after that
  • It’s massive, and you’ll spend lots of hours building it
  • It has tons of cool interactive features to keep young fans occupied for hours

Some folks won’t feel they can justify the purchase anyway, but for lifelong Donkey Kong fans like me it’s well worth it. It’s not like we’ve had any big new DK videogames to spend our money on in a long time, is it?

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart Ride review image showing Diddy Kong approaching Snaggles in a minecart.

Final verdict

I loved Diddy Kong’s Mine Cart Ride – maybe not quite as much as Donkey Kong’s Tree House, but enough that it’s genuinely a Lego set I’ll always cherish. The Lego Diddy Kong and Funky Kong alone are a huge selling point, and it feels amazing to have Lego versions of the whole Kong family (child me is very jealous of adult me). All the other components only add more cool atmosphere – from the small shrubs and rocks placed everywhere to make the whole scene feel natural, through to the rails perfectly capturing the ramshackle vibe of Retro Studios’ mine cart levels.

As it’s fully compatible with the Lego Super Mario range, you can make your Lego Mario (or Luigi and Peach) interact with various different parts of this set. This’ll potentially expand its lifespan for some people, and, on a really nerdy level, it brings me great joy to give Mario a chance to ride around on the minecarts of Donkey Kong Island for the first time. I wish it were more of a singular, cohesive display piece, but I get that it was made to be played with, not looked at, and I can still admire that.

Lego Donkey Kong: Diddy Kong's Mine Cart ride review image showing Diddy Kong riding in the minecart, with Funkey, Snaggles, a mole miner, and lots of scenery in the background.

This was one of the coolest Lego sets of 2023, but if you want a taste of what’s to come, read our guide on upcoming Lego sets in 2024.

We’ve got a bunch of other fun Lego guides for model lovers to peruse, too – if you thought this one was pricey, you just wait ’til you see the eye-watering numbers in our list of the most expensive Lego sets of all time.

The rarest Lego minifigures won’t set you back quite so much, though – and some of the best Lego board games are positively affordable by comparison. Go explore!