Sunday, 16 August 2015

Review: Jurassic World Hero Mashers

Companies like to copy each other. It's a big risk launching a new product, one that can lead to huge losses if you get it wrong, so if you see something that's already selling well and you can make something similar, well time to jump aboard that wagon!

At the moment the craze among toy manufacturers seems to be the multi-part mix and match figure. Playmates have their Ninja Turtles versions, Bandai have their Power Rangers ones and Hasbro has Hero Mashers for Transformers, Marvel, not Star Wars for some reason, and, most recently, Jurassic World.

Before we begin may I apologise for all the times I'm going to end up writing 'Jurassic Park' in this review instead of 'World'. I've attempted to correct them all, but there's a good chance a few slipped through the net.

This is based purely on observation of shop displays, but the merchandising for Jurassic World seems to have been a tad lackluster. Considering the amount of money Jurassic World has taken in cinemas, and the eternal child-love of dinosaurs generally, the amount of Stuff with 'JW' slapped on it just hasn't been anywhere near the level of Jurassic Park back in the day. The toys in particular have been a bit...lacking. Maybe it's because toys just don't sell as well anymore, or maybe because there weren't a huge amount of people to make figures of, I don't know. I was in Toys R Us looking at the range a while ago and even the dinosaurs were a bit...lacking, both in quantity and quality.

There do, however, seem to have been a number of Hero Mashers produced. These allow you to pull the arms, legs, tail etc off the dinosaurs and mix them up to produce new creatures. Considering a big part of the plot of Jurassic World is about genetically engineering new dinosaurs, this play feature is really quite appropriate, more appropriate than for all the other lines when you think about it.

The biggest fear with these sort of things is that the pegs and sockets won't be up to the task and end up breaking. I know this is my big fear with the Rotar and Twistoid figures I recently purchased from - I can see the socket that holds them together snapping off very quickly. With the Hero Mashers, however, things are a lot more hopeful and I can't see these breaking easily. In fact more generally with the figures I was impressed with how strong and sturdy they were. Tough little toys, these seems.

Whereas the colours for the regular dinos are more 'realistic', the Hero Masher dinos are very brightly coloured in bright reds, blues, purples, etc. While this makes for some very interesting mixed up dinosaurs, and may mean the line will appeal more to younger children, it does mean that it's very easy to identify which parts are 'supposed' to go with which dinosaur when you have a pile of bits of front of you. It also means that the parts mix together with the Transformers & Marvel versions of the Mashers well too.

As well as the bright colours, the sculpts of the Mashers are quite cartoony. Again this means they'll mix well with the Transformers and Marvel parts, plus it reinforces the idea that these toys are meant to be played with.

Whilst the mixing up of parts is one, and likely the intended, play aspect of Hero Mashers, there is a bonus one: the dinosaurs can eat each other (kind of)! Yes, one dinosaur can 'bite' another and pull its leg off! Or they can fight and one can brutally decapitate another! Throw in a dinobot limb from the Transformers line and an injured dinosaur can have a replacement robotic prosthetic!

The Hero Mashers are a lot of fun and, thankfully, you don't have to buy many for the gimmick to be fun. Even one figure can be enjoyed on its own without adding in others to expand things.

From my, admittedly limited, research it seems like a lot of the Mashers - Jurassic World and the others - are reduced or on offer at the moment in various shops and I'd heartily recommend picking them up.

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