Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 at 9:59pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's only been a couple days since our last review, but as you saw yesterday, 2008 is getting closer and we need to wrap up our 2007 reviews. Today it's Nuparu Mahri, from a reviewer we just heard from recently, Smeagol4. This means of course, another video review. So get in there and watch and read!
Before I proceed with the review, allow me to provide a link to the additional video review. Right-click on the link and save the video to you computer, please do not stream the video!
While the movie is downloading, you can read this textual review.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Just the sight of Nuparu Mahri’s packaging is intriguing. It certainly seems alien to anyone who has been familiar with the Bionicle franchise for some time. This “canister-level” set actually doesn’t come packaged in a canister! Instead, the container is a complicated affair with a two-part plastic shell sealed with a sheet of cardboard on the back. The package is intricately detailed and actually sports pin holes, so it could conceivably be incorporated into a MOC. I have seen mixed opinions on the forums concerning these new packages, but I think they’re actually rater neat, personally. The level of sculpting detail alone is impressive. My only qualm is that they cannot be used to store the figure, as they cannot be resealed.
Of course, however good it may be, the packaging is the least important portion of the toy to any of us: we are far more interested in the bricks that lie within. Nuparu mahri contains fifty-nine pieces, though most are bricks seen often in previous sets during the past several years. The few new pieces of note include, as expected, a new mask and some new weapons. Other than those, a rubber hose, and some cool new “swooshing” armor pieces (I find them evocative of Batman or the Batmobile, amusingly), Nuparu has little to offer that hasn’t been seen before.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Construction of Nuparu Mahri is extremely quick, especially if one has built a Toa Inika. The pieces are all familiar, and even the new bricks are just newly-molded variations on the same theme we are already familiar with. This makes for a rather brief and uninteresting building experience. When putting Nuparu together, I had flashbacking visions to the Bohrok-Kal, the definitive personification of a rehash in the Bionicle universe. Nuparu is not vastly superior.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The construction’s similarity to the Toa Inika is a harbinger of things to come. Nuparu Mahri is barely different from his predecessor: though some places have different pieces, the design is identical. The only difference is that there are Piraka arms instead of Inika legs, of “swoosh” armor instead of Ikika shoulder armor. Everything looks similar, everything is attached similarly. I mentioned the Kal earlier; Nuparu Mahri is not so different from his spiritual ancestor, Nuhvok-kal. Both are a veritable rehash, a clone set in an entire line of clone sets that copy an original wave whose members were already clones of each other.
Well, in actuality, I am being overly harsh towards the other Mahri—some of them do display unique constructions and they are not all duplicates, like the Bohrok were, or as the Inika nearly were. However, Nuparu seems to be (ironically, due to his pigment), the “black sheep” of the group; there is nothing distinctive about him, there is nothing that makes him different, there is no reason to purchase him instead of another Mahri, especially if you already own Nuparu Inika.
I raise an eyebrow at the design flaws, such as the numerous gaps in the construction. Why where the Piraka arms selected for use as limbs here without additional pieces being used to cover the gaps? I know someone from S&T will criticize me for voicing this, noting that the sets from 2001 had gaps too. I realize this. It has been six years. Surely Lego’s set designers can do better now? With such giant holes in his structure, Nuparu looks, aesthetically, more like “Ewparu.”
It is a shame that a year that started on such a high note for “canister”-level sets is ending so dismally.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
In terms of poseability, Nuparu Mahri delivers identically to any other modern canister sets. He has thirteen points of articulation: the neck, the shoulders,t he elbows, the wrists, the hips, the knees, and the ankles all have balljoints that allow for a wide range of movement. That and the cordak blaster, which is very cool-looking and diverting, but very difficult to get firing, are about it for playability.
The cordak blaster is, I suppose intended to be the major buying draw for Nuparu and the other Mahri. It is very intriguing, a spinning gattling gun that is suppose to fire its bullets when a large red button at the posterior end of the weapon is depressed. Unfortunately the design, while lovely in principle, fails to deliver. One may find himself continually pushing the button to no avail, leaving his bullets lodged firmly in the cordak’s barrel. It is almost as frustrating as the squid launchers of the Barrakki, and doesn’t have nearly the “cool factor” that those vampric polyps do. The cordak launcher is a disappointment. it's also very heavy, and often can cause Nuparu to tumble forward.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
After my review of the fantastically fabulous Nocturn, almost any set would seem something a let-down, but Nuparu hits the bottom hard. Honestly, I cannot recommend Nuparu Mahri. Kids wanting a Toa or parents buying a Bionicle set would be better to purchase one of the better Mahri, such as Hahli or Kongu. Even the simply Jaller is colorful and comes with a little crab sidekick. Other than the “Batmobile” armor pieces, there isn’t really anything new or interesting for MOCists. Nuparu is really only worth a purchase to completist collectors or fans of the character. Otherwise, I would point buyers in the direction of other Mahri, or a Barrakki.
What's to like?
What's not to like?
- It’s pretty unappealing aesthetically.
- The Cordak gattling gun is somewhat difficult to launch.
- There is nothing special about this set, nothing that could make it a better purchase than a different Mahri.
But he does look cool in this picture!
And another review completed. It's one closer to finishing 2007, but we're not done yet. After thanking Smeagol4 for another review, keep checking, because who knows when the next review will appear!
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