Packaging - ***
Don't worry, I'm not going to say anything about collectors here.
These are true toys, and the packaging is designed for kids. The
boxes for the smaller Turagas are standard Lego fair, but the rest of the
priests are pictured on the back.
The larger Toa come in plastic 'cans',
with a double plastic sleeve around the outside. These sleeves have
terrific graphics, and include 'mask codes' that can be used at the web
sites to unlock various information and secrets.
This is a great concept - tying the toys
to each other and to other forms of media is an idea that has been
attempted before, but never with this kind of complexity and ingenuity.
Design - ****
I'm not a big robot fan, and since I grew up long before Micronauts or
Transformers, the fascination with them has always left me somewhat
But these figures are just
plain great toys. The designs of the big Toa include the ability to
build them different ways and with parts from other figures, giving the
children the ability to be as creative and imaginative as they want to
be. They also have action features that work extremely well, far
better than almost any action figures on the market. Gali has a
series of connected gears that allow the kid to spin a gear on his back,
and swing both his arms. The action is smooth and tight, even though
the toy is intended to be built and taken apart over and over.
smaller Nokama has a rubber band powered arm swing that is powerful enough
to toss his Trident half way across a room. The design of both these
figures is great, and the overall design of the line leaves so much to the
child's imagination that there is really nothing else quite like it.
Articulation - ***1/2
Articulation? Aren't these Legos? Why, yes, they are, but they
are articulated Legos! The large Toa have terrific ball joints at
the shoulders, hips and ankles, allowing for all kinds of poseability.
The large feet and tight fit means that the figure doesn't just assume the
position, he (or she) can maintain the position! Action figure
designers should take special note of these great toys.
The large Toa don't really have accessories per se, and the smaller Turaga
and Tohunga figures do come with one accessory of some sort. So what
counts under this category?
cool masks! Each figure comes with a mask that is part of their
overall figure. But there are alternate masks for each character,
and mask packs can be purchased for a couple bucks that add another six
There are supposedly over 100
masks, and these will fuel the line by giving the kids something to
collect, beanie baby like, in the line. It's another excellent
concept that should prove very popular.
of the Toa also come with a small CD-ROM that works with the web site and
provides codes and information with the game.
Quality - ****
Lego is well known for high quality toys, and these are certainly no
exception. The pieces fit together extremely well, and yet you can
disassemble the figures and rebuild them in multiple ways without
destroying them. The pieces are sturdy and well designed.
Consider what you are getting and compare that to the average seven dollar
action figure. I think you'll agree once you get your hands on one
of these that they are a terrific value.
As I said, I'm not a big fan of the older lines like Transformers or
Micronauts. That means that if I like these this much that you
should take the time to check them out.
concept is well thought out, the figures are well designed, and they've
found a fantastic way to marry the imaginative building play of Legos with
the active play of action figures. I have to hand it to Lego -
they've hit a winner. Now I can only hope that they reap the rewards
If you have a child
about 7 or 8 years old, don't expect to get a lot of time to play with
these yourself. I bet they won't be putting them down for quite some
Where to Buy -
In the bricks and mortar world, I've seen these at Toys R Us and
Meijers so far. I suspect they'll show up at every retailer that
sells Legos though, and it looks like Lego has huge plans for the line.
you can pick them up directly from the www.bionicle.com
For a terrific
overview of the entire line, with some excellent pictures of all the
figures, check out Bobbi