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Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review – cute, but a bit lazy

Lego Donkey Kong finally gets his beloved steed in this Rambi the Rhino set, which is sure to delight fans despite some small issues.

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Rambi near a broken pillar and a banana.

Our Verdict

It's a small set, but one that leaves an impression. While you have to spend a lot more to get any of the other Donkey Kong characters, you can get Lego Rambi pretty cheaply and he looks fantastic. It's a shame the tiny bit of environment that comes with him is rather lackluster though.

Reasons to buy
  • He looks really cool
  • DKC music and Rambi sounds when Mario rides
  • Small price tag
Reasons to avoid
  • Designed for Mario before the Kongs
  • Pillar that comes with it isn't so great
  • Should have had an Animal Buddy crate

Rambi the Rhino is the smallest of the Lego Donkey Kong sets, and one of the smallest in the overall Lego Super Mario collection (though not quite the smallest). You might not think that there’s quite so much to talk about in a little set like this, but you underestimate my Donkey Kong fanaticism. There are a lot of reasons fans will love this.

Rambi is a character who doesn’t get a huge amount of merchandise, so it’s really cool that you can buy a Lego version of him for such a low price. It’s one of the best cheap Lego sets and is sure to put a smile on the face of Nintendo/Mario/Donkey Kong fans. Those who prefer the joy of putting together the biggest Lego sets won’t find much to enjoy here, but this is a nice easy one to put together, and as it’s so small, it’ll easily fit on your desk or shelf.

I’ve looked at this Lego Rambi from several different angles to write this review and you can jump ahead to the different sections below:

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Rambi near a pillar and a banana.


Lego Rambi the Rhino specs:

Model number 71420
Build time Less than half an hour
Number of pieces 106
Number of minifigures 0
Recommended age 7+
Dimensions (H x W x D) 5 x 12 x 2.5cm

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Rambi's behind.


Although Rambi looks further from his in-game appearance here than the Kongs do in their respective sets, one thing I like about him is that to me, he looks a little more like his design in the games made by Rare Ltd. rather than the one seen in the Retro Studios games. I love what Retro brought to the table, but I felt Rare had the stronger Rambi design. This is a slightly subjective point, since he’s not a one-for-one recreation of either, but either way, he looks great.

Like his real-life rhinoceros counterparts, he has a cute little tail that sticks out kind of like a pig’s, and his little feet are kind of adorable too. Having said that, his head and his horn are both very big and more cool than cute. One small thing I’d have loved to have seen (but is absent) is Rambi’s Animal Crate, as it would have been nice if he could go inside it and then anyone playing with it could simulate breaking him free.

While there’s no crate, there is something else that captures an aspect of Rambi’s video game portrayal – there’s an old pillar for Rambi to knock down (like those seen in Donkey Kong Country Returns) and there’s even a banana that you can store inside to release by smashing it. I do like that they gave us a little bit of environment to go with Rambi, but to be honest, it did feel a bit lazy.

The “pillar” that I mentioned, rather than being anything made to actually resemble the pillars of the games, is just a pile of grey hollow bricks. They don’t even fit together. You just pile them up on a green piece and then have Rambi charge into it so they fall down.

When I think of the clever technical creations in the other Lego Donkey Kong sets, this is a bit disappointing. I don’t care too much, though, as I bought the set for Rambi, not for the random extra additions.

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Mario, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Cranky Kong, Funky Kong, a Mole Miner, and Squawks riding Rambi in different photos.

Who can ride Lego Rambi?

Whenever Rambi has appeared in the games, it’s almost always been in the context of being a steed for the Kongs to ride. No doubt, a lot of fans buying this set are going to want to have their Lego Kongs riding him too. Here’s an overview of how well every Lego Donkey Kong character rides Rambi, plus Lego Mario himself:

  • Mario: Really, Lego Rambi was designed to be ridden by Lego Mario (it’s even on the box) and he fits perfectly on his back. Mario’s Bluetooth functionality responds to a piece on Rambi’s back which then makes Donkey Kong Country music play, along with a few Rambi sound effects from the game as you move them around. It’s pretty cool actually, and the first time, to my knowledge, that Mario has been shown riding Rambi.
  • Donkey Kong: Of course, you’re going to want to put Donkey Kong on Rambi – the pair of them are an iconic duo. Sadly, while he can be balanced there quite neatly, Lego DK’s parts don’t allow him to be properly fitted onto the back of Rambi, and he does look a little too big when he’s there. Putting them together looks nice enough though, but it’s a real missed opportunity.
  • Diddy Kong: Unlike Mario, Diddy can’t be properly fitted onto Rambi’s back. Nonetheless, he balances on there perfectly and looks just right (size-wise) when ‘mounted’. He’s a good one to do, and as someone who’s ridden Rambi since the original Donkey Kong Country, the two are another iconic pair.
  • Dixie Kong: Dixie Kong is exactly the same as Diddy Kong in that she can’t be slotted into place, but still fits very comfortably. She’s a cool choice to have on his back, since it brings me back to the very first level of Donkey Kong Country 2.
  • Cranky Kong: Sadly, Cranky’s beard makes him a very awkward character to ride on Rambi – which is a pity, since the character has always been fond of this beloved Animal Buddy. You can make him fit in there, but it’s not great. He’s not the worst one, though.
  • Funky Kong: I don’t recommend putting Funky Kong on Rambi. You can make it work, but he’s too big, really, and has to bend his knees so that he’s kneeling on him. Perhaps they’ll rerelease this set in four years with a New Funky Mode so he can fit on (only joking, that’ll only happen in my DK nerd dreams).
  • Mole Miner: The Mole Miners of Donkey Kong Island may never have been shown to ride Rambi in the games, but isn’t Lego all about letting your imagination run wild? The mole is maybe a little too small, but it fits better than Cranky or Funky.
  • Squawks: He doesn’t really fit properly without his perch, but if you put the perch on Rambi’s back, he balances really well. Squawks might be an odd choice of rider, but they are both Animal Buddies. Once, a few years ago, I saw fan art of this duo as Smash Bros. fighters, and I’ve loved the idea of Squawks on Rambi ever since.

I haven’t tried him with any other Lego Super Mario characters (though Peach and Luigi, at least, will fit perfectly), but I’m sure there are some other great combinations you could make. I just wanted to focus on Mario (since he’s on the box) and the other Donkey Kong characters. Please keep in mind that all of these characters come from separate sets.

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing the front of Rambi's face.

Ease of assembly

Not a lot to say on this front. It’s really easy to build and you’ll easily do it in under half an hour. There are no instructions, so you’ll have to use the Lego Super Mario app.

This is a really accessible way of guiding fans, because you can zoom in and rotate any of the instructional images, but I can understand some people being wary of having to download another app. I also worry that, while a printed manual will be the same in 30 years as it is today, an app may not stand the test of time quite so well.

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Rambi upside down.


This set costs just $10.99 (£8.99) and considering it’s a Lego set based on a Nintendo character, I don’t think that’s a bad price at all. It could be a good choice for a small treat for yourself, or a small gift for a friend. At the end of 2024, the Lego Donkey Kong sets are going to be discontinued, so keep in mind that, like most retiring Lego sets, it might cost more in a year’s time.

Lego Donkey Kong: Rambi the Rhino review image showing Rambi near a broken pillar, seemingly having smashed it, with a hidden banana revealed.

Final Verdict

It’s a Lego Rambi, and I love that. If I were in charge of designing this set, I’d have given him his Animal Buddy crate, rather than just a fairly sloppy pillar thing. I’d also have designed him so he could be ridden by Donkey Kong just as well as by Mario, because Donkey Kong on Rambi is what we all picture.

I understand why they didn’t, but I feel like they could have at least made Diddy fit better (since he’s about the same size as Mario). These things absolutely drag down my review score. Nonetheless, I don’t want to end on a sour note – I love my Lego Rambi and am very happy to have him as part of my collection.

For more on the Lego Donkey Kong range, read my Lego Donkey Kong’s Tree House review. It’s my favorite of them all! Alternatively, for something more playable, try our guide to the best Lego board games.

True collectors should also check out our updated lists of the most expensive Lego sets available, and the rarest Lego minifigures around.