WATER POLICE DETECTIVE MISSIONS (60355) REVIEW

Water Police Detective Missions (60355) is one of three new sets in the new City sub-theme “Missions” that I will review for True North Bricks. All three sets are now available! Over this past week I also reviewed Wild Animal Rescue Missions (60353) and Mars Spacecraft Exploration Missions (60354). Before picking one of these sets up, make sure you are aware that the new Missions sets require a free app in order to play with them to their fullest extent. This includes the building instructions as there are no instructions in the box. I am not a fan of police (or fire) sets in general, and my first impressions based on the box art are not great. So let’s take a closer look!

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use the usual True North Bricks rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.

WATER POLICE DETECTIVE MISSIONS SUMMARY

  • NAME: Water Police Detective Missions
  • SET #: 60355
  • THEME: City; Missions sub-theme
  • COST: $49.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 278
  • MINIFIGURES: 4
  • RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2022
  • COST/BRICK: $0.18
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: 70
Water Police Detective Missions set bags and insert

WATER POLICE DETECTIVE MISSIONS QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 90%
  • BUILD: 75%
  • MINIFIGURES: 86%
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 75%
  • OVERALL SCORE: 82%
Water Police Detective Missions all the pieces laid out with the main builds

WATER POLICE DETECTIVE MISSIONS REVIEW

VALUE: 90%

The price of the Water Police Detective Missions is $49.99 in Canada. This is the same price for all three new Missions sets. With just over 278 pieces, the cost per brick is $0.18. This translates to a score of 66% when compared to all sets reviewed by true North Bricks. However, the cost of City sets tends to be on the pricier side. If you compare the cost per brick to only City sets reviewed by True North Bricks, then the score is 80%. Incidentally, $0.18 is the average cost per brick for City sets. Depending on how you want to make your comparisons, this a passable value when compared to all sets but a good value when compared to City sets.

I spent just over two hours building and interacting with this set. Unlike traditional sets, there is no straight building time. Rather, you interact with the app as you go through the story line. The set features a mix of following instructions and free building. Overall, I spent 2 hours and 6 minutes building this set and interacting with the app. Although difficult to compare to a standard build experience, this converts to a cost-per-minute of $0.40. According to the True North Bricks scale, this translates to a cost per minute value of over 100%. This is the same as the other two Missions sets.

Overall, this set has a lot of play value, especially as you follow along with the story in the app. Each mission has you building and re-building! Overall, the value of this set averages out to 90% which is considered very good value. Note that the value is driven largely by the play experience offered through the app, and not by the number of bricks in the box.

BUILD: 75%

The City Missions sets are all about being creative. However, there are still instructions to help you build the main model as well as a number of mini models. The main model in this set is the police speedboat. The step-by-step instructions make it easy for younger builders to follow along. This set is rated 6+.

I don’t tend to build many City sets. In general, I am not a fan of police or fire sets as I prefer more neutral minifigures that I can use in my MOCs (My Own Creations). In general, I like the shape of the main speedboat. However, I think it would be much better if it was two studs wider. There just wasn’t much room when it came to adding pieces for the missions or when playing out the missions. Similar to the shuttle in the Mars Spacecraft Exploration Missions set, I thought it was a bit odd that there were exposed studs along each side of the boat. However, I knew these would be used for later steps when adding other elements.

main speedboat model

The next mission has you upgrading the speedboat, so those exposed studs aren’t left that way for long. However, I felt like there were few parts that made sense to put on these studs. I am sure kids will worry much less about the logic behind adding elements to the speedboat. It is all about creativity after all! Throughout the missions, you continue to add (and remove) pieces to help you with certain tasks. In addition, some missions have you adding pieces to help the boat operate on land and under water!

Interesting Elements

Perhaps one of the highlights for many LEGO® fans will be all the new neon yellow elements in this set. Personally, I think this colour looks a lot like Mega Bloks and I find it a bit bright for policing. However, I think European police agencies tend to use bright neon yellow on their vehicles more than Canadian ones do. Given the global audience of LEGO®, perhaps this will connect with a lot of fans.

There are also some other great elements in this set including a coral-coloured coral element, two dark green binoculars, two trans light blue splat elements, and a nice printed “police badge”. You will also find various gold elements as the treasure stolen by the thief. I’m also a fan of dark azur and this set comes with a pair of dark azur flippers. These are only available in four sets currently. For LEGO® animal fans, there is also a two-toned German Shepherd that is unique to this set. It also has a nice printed map that is currently unique to this set.

Mini Builds

Similar to the other Missions sets, there are a number of mini builds throughout the missions. These include a treasure stand seen on one of the yachts in the story, an underwater sea scooter, the hidden under water cave, and a cell. I really like the underwater sea scooter (I had to Google their name). It is a really nice little model. The cave also includes a nice play feature with a swinging anchor just like in the story.

Unlike standard LEGO® sets, you don’t complete all the building at one time. Instead, you alternate building using instructions and free building throughout the story. At the end of each mission, you play out the mission with the models you built. For each mission, there are three ideas icons that provide suggestions on what you can built if you get stuck. I found these quite helpful, especially for this set! Interestingly, suggestions even include other objects such as constructions paper and cotton balls. Unfortunately, I often found myself wanting to use LEGO® pieces that were not included in the extras for this set. This did not happen as often when I built the other two Missions sets.

Although I think the speedboat could be improved, I think kids will enjoy the build experience. The mini builds help tell the story by bringing to life various scenes. This set provides a nice balance of instructions, suggestions, and creativity. However, I do think the speedboat should have been larger and that additional interesting pieces could have been including, especially a fish! Overall, l give the build experience 75% as I think they did a good job with this new hybrid style set that will definitely appeal to kids.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

The minifigures from bag one both have printed torsos, front and back. One has a police vest over a light blue shirt. And the other has a yellowish coloured inflatable life vest over a dark blue uniform. One head is a standard female-coded head and the other is a standard male-coded head with stubble. There is a blond ponytail hair piece and a short black hair piece. There is an additional police minifigure in bag two. The torso has a tactical police vest over a dark blue shirt. This minifigure comes with an awesome short curly black hair piece. The head is double sided with thick eyebrows on one side and aviator glasses on the other. Unfortunately, none of the legs have any printing.

Water Police Detective Missions minifigures front

Additionally, there is a fourth minifigure in bag four. This minifigure is the thief. The torso has a black and titanium metallic scuba vest over a red wetsuit. Although the legs don’t have printing, they are also titanium metallic. The double-sided head is female-coded and is unique to this set. Both sides have a happy expression except one side has an eye bandana. The hair is an orange bob hair piece that came out last year (2021) and is only available in four sets.

Water Police Detective Missions minifigures back

In general, I am not a fan of police minifigures. I don’t build city scenes, and when I do, I have no interest in depicting police related scenes. That said, I do like some of the individual elements that make up these figures and will likely use them to create custom minifigures for my MOCs. The inclusion of four minifigures earns this set a score of 86% when compared to other City sets. This is considered good value for a set this size.

ENTERTAINMENT: 75%      

Setting the scene

I really enjoyed the story-telling aspect of the Missions app. I much preferred it to the Hidden Side app and the LEGO® Vidiyo app. The Missions sets work through the existing LEGO® Instructions app which is already a big win as there is no additional platform to keep up to date. Unfortunately, you do need access to a device to download the app to fully experience this set. Even the build instructions are only available on the app. Consequently, this will exclude some LEGO® fans from being able to enjoy this set.

Water Police Detective Missions app screenshot

Once you select the Missions set of your choice (there are currently three), then the fun begins. The Water Police Detective Missions begins in the harbour with various boat dwellers waking up to missing items. This sets the scene for the main storyline. You are then introduced to Chief Percival Wheeler who narrates the story. I think it is neat that they made the Chief a skateboarder. However, his character is rife with stereotypes. This becomes particularly annoying as the story unfolds and the Chief refers to the viewer as dude time and time again. While this might appeal to some builders, I suspect it may not connect as much with female builders. I certainly found it noticeably odd and uncomfortable.

Water Police Detective Missions - screenshot of Chief Wheeler

The Chief’s opening scene begins with him answering the phone. I found it very odd that they didn’t use an actual LEGO® phone element. A missed opportunity to include another great piece in this set. Similar to the other Missions, there is a fair bit of humour throughout the story. It reminds me a lot of the humour we saw in The LEGO® Movies.

The Missions

There are eight missions, although they aren’t all missions in the typical sense.

The first mission is to build two of your minifigures and test your gear in the obstacle course. It would have been nice to have access to some of the other bags at this point so you could actually create an obstacle course. The second mission is to build the police speedboat with the help of Lieutenant Gracie Goodhart. I thought it was interesting that the character on the screen is wearing a European style police uniform.

contents of bag 1

You are introduced to your new partner, Lieutenant Duke DeTain, in the third mission. Together you upgrade the speedboat to make it faster. This is the first free-building experience. You are encouraged to build, modify, or ignore the suggestions provided in the ideas icons. Lt. DeTain uses the same catch phrase we heard in the other two Missions – “Let’s make awesome.” Interestingly, while Lt. DeTain is referred to by his last name, the Chief often refers to Lt. Goodhart as Lt. Gracie. It is disappointing that LEGO® did not notice this inconsistency. Instead, it serves to differentiate the role of the female character as a police officer compared to the male character.

Mission 3 - build a faster speedboat

Crime Scene Investigation – Mission: Build to look for clues

Mission four begins at the scene of the crime. You are provided instruction to a small mini build though it isn’t entirely clear what you are building. After re-watching the scene, I realized the mini build is the stand from inside one of the yachts. It holds the treasures that were stolen.

Water Police Detective Missions screenshot - thief on board a yacht

The following free building segment has you creating things to help find the smallest clues. I found this free build a bit tricky as the available elements lend themselves towards creative solutions rather than logical ones. Back in the gear room the Chief rewards you with a dog named Copper. I do appreciate that LEGO® decided to make Copper a female dog as the Chief refers to Copper as “she”.

minifigures with free build clue finding equipment

High Speed Pursuit – Mission: Build to clear the way

Rather than using a police cruiser, the goal of this mission is to modify your speedboat to be able to travel on land. I felt like this was a bit of a stretch, but kids will probably have fun with this. Instructions are provided to add wheels to the boat. After this you get to add elements to help navigate, make noise, and dodge obstacles during the free building part. As you “play your mission”, the view on the screen is from behind the steering wheel similar to the Wild Animal Rescue Missions. However, there is no rear-view mirror or anything interesting to look at in this segment. See my review of the Wild Animal Rescue Mission to find out what was in the rear-view mirror of that mission.

The next scene has you at the Fish and Chip shop where Copper leads you to a smelly fish. This was another missed opportunity to include a fun element in this set – a fish. I found it rather strange that there was no fish element. Back in the gear room you are provided with an awesome map!

Water Police Detective Missions - screenshot of Lt. DeTain with a fish

The Secret Lair – Mission: Build to sonar-scan

At the start of the sixth mission, you open bag 4. The map suggests you need to head under water. You then follow instructions to create an underwater cave complete with treasures. And it is booby-trapped! You also build an underwater sea scooter. Lt. DeTain then suggests you make a device to see under water. This brings you to the main free building part of this mission. Interestingly, one of the pictures in the ideas icons shows two mini antenna elements that are not included in the set. It would have been neat if the “play your mission” screen was more interactive. Rather than having the sonar icon highlighting various areas, it would have been cool if you could select the areas to highlight and reveal what was underneath the water. This mission ends in the gear room and another reward. This time you get scuba gear.

Submerged – Mission: Build to dive

There was a bit of a glitch loading mission 7 but as far as I can tell it begins with putting together the fourth minifigure – the thief. Lt. Goodhart then instructs you to turn the speedboat into a submarine of you own design. I really enjoyed this mission. However, I do wish the cockpit element was a stud or two longer. Additionally, the cockpit has two gaps, each the size of a 1×2 brick on either side. It would have been nice if this set included two 1×2 trans clear bricks or 1×2 trans clear wall elements to fill the gap. The underwater scene during the “play your mission” stage is pretty neat. However, it would have been extra cool if a LEGO® shark swam by at some point. Back in the gear room you have another surprise from the chief – gold handcuffs.

The mission ends with a scene with two police divers swimming into the underwater cave. Interestingly, this set only comes with one set of dive gear for the police minifigures. However, I do like that the anchor that the thief uses to barricade the police in the cave is actually a functional part of the cave mini build.

Water Police Detective Missions - screenshot of scuba divers and cave entrance

Trapped! – Mission: Build to chase

The final mission begins with the Chief talking to the police divers (you) underwater via cell. Another missed opportunity to include another fun element – a printed cell phone tile. Interestingly, this segment doesn’t have a build component prior to the “play your mission” segment. After opening bag 5, instructions are provided to help you build a cell to hold the thief. Strangely, there is no back wall to the cell.

Water Police Detective Missions - screenshot of thief scuba diving

After being taunted by the thief, “you can’t build as fast as I can swim”, Lt. DeTain tells you to speed up the sub to catch the thief. The next free build segment is to build to chase. Various suggestions are provided via the ideas icons on modifying the sub as well as creating custom mini builds. After you “play your mission” you then arrive at the dock with the thief. A news reporter, Gabby Tocamera, interviews the thief. A reference to hot dogs made me think of yet another element that would have been a great addition to this set. A nice printed police badge element is the final reward from the Chief.

Closing Scenes

After completing mission 8 you are invited to participate in some bonus play. The three ideas icons appear on screen with suggestions to explore under the sea, protect the harbour, and catch crooks in the city. Interestingly, one of the photos used an the idea icon is from a previous step in one of the missions. However, I still really like that the game doesn’t just end but that it encourages the builder to continue playing and being creative.  

Overall, I think the entertainment value of the missions and build experience is quite good. I thought the story was fairly interesting. However, a number of elements referenced in the story would have been great additions as pieces in the set to help bring it to life. I could see this set appealing to kids from 6-9 years old. Unfortunately, the story line (primarily due the references) is geared more towards boys than a neutral audience. Overall, I give Water Police Detective Missions an entertainment score of 75%.

OVERALL SCORE: 82%

Technical Difficulties

For a review of the general technical difficulties that are likely similar across all sets in the Mission sub-theme, check out my earlier review on the Wild Animal Rescue Missions set. In addition, Mission 7 starts with a white screen and it isn’t clear if you missed part of the story. When I reloaded it, it went straight to instructions for putting together the fourth minifigure. Normally there is an introduction to build segments. Also, the ideas icon in Mission 6 shows elements that are not part of the set. This could cause some confusion. I know I went back to the box looking for them. Lastly, as with the other Missions sets, the app drains your cell battery and seems to really heat up the phone itself if you play it for over an hour.

Water Police Detective Missions various pieces

Final Thoughts

Water Police Detective Missions provides a good balance between story telling, instruction based building, and creative building. However, this was my least favourite set of the three new Missions sets. I am not a fan of police sets in general, but I also didn’t like the stereotypes in this story. Although the mini builds were quite good, several smaller elements referenced in the story were absent in the set. However, the app is engaging. While I like a few of the elements that are unique to this set, I didn’t like the main build, the minifigures (overall), or the parts selection compared to the other Missions sets. Therefore, I would probably choose one of the other Missions sets before picking up this one. Overall, this set receives a final score of 82%. Have you tried any of the new City Missions sets? Let us know below or on social media!

Play well folks,

-Krista (she/her)

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