Saturday, December 5th, 2015 at 6:23pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's that time of year again! Yep, time for us to start reviewing the 2016 Bionicle sets. We're kicking things off with 71304 Terak - Creature of Earth, Onua's little tunneling buddy. Will Terak burrow its way into your heart, or will it be left behind in a dark passage somewhere? Read our review and watch the video to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
At first glance, the boxes for the 2016 sets look very similar to the 2015 ones, but there's more than meets the eye here. A few cardboard tabs have been added to the flaps and the rigidity of the boxes has been substantially increased. No more worries about the boxes being crushed just by looking at them! Aside from the structural integrity, we've got a snazzy logo along the top featuring the Mask of Control and some sickly green coloring. Terak takes up most of the front, leaping at a shadow trap. The backgrounds still have some beautiful artwork, in this case showing off an underground cave with Onua and his gold mask on either side.
The back of the box prominently features the combining functionality all of the Toa and Creatures have. Basically, you need to buy both sets to have more fun! Below that the action features are highlighted and we get a 1:1 scale image of Terak's head. The last interesting thing is the "Buildable Figure" logo on the bottom right, which we first saw in the Star Wars constraction sets. It looks like LEGO is trying to tie all of its constraction sets together under the Buildable Figure label.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
For a $10 set, the build was surprisingly complex. There's quite a few Technic elements needed to create the action feature, so there's more to it than just snapping armor on some limbs and calling it a day. Still, there's only 74 pieces to work with, so things will still come together pretty quickly.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
A new year means bunches of new parts. Starting off we have Terak's head, which is molded in gold and trans-purple. It has a ball socket on the inside, two bars near the back, and a bar hole on the nose, giving it a plethora of connection points. The sculpt is quite detailed too, with intricate symbols being etched onto its face and a feathery pattern trailing behind. It's a rather beautiful piece with a lot of potential uses.
Next up is a new armor piece that attaches to CCBS shells with its two bars. It's made up of gold and trans-clear plastic, and the design looks like crystals attached to some sort of mechanical contraption. Again the detailing is quite intricate and has an almost fantasy vibe.
This piece is weird to me, mainly because it doesn't seem to fit with the CCBS design philosophy. It doesn't have a ball or socket, and no bars or bar holes. It's pure Technic pins and axles, which actually reminds me more of classic Bionicle than the CCBS system. And it definitely has that classic look, with pistons and ridges and a rather mechanical appearance. It's definitely the odd sock of the bunch, but that's certainly not a bad thing and I bet people will find lots of uses for it.
Next up is the new piece for the shadow trap. It has plenty of connection points with two bars, two pin holes, and a Technic axle. It's designed so that when two go together the teeth intermesh, and I see this piece being used in lots of MOCs as jaws or pincers. It seems like quite a versatile piece.
The last new piece is a 12-tooth gear with a Technic axle coming out of it. This is used as part of the action feature and works like a charm. Other than that, we get a 4M shell, a 4M CCBS bone, and a claw piece we first saw in the Legends of Chima sets in 2014 in Transparent Bright Bluish Violet, all of which appear to be re-colors for 2016. There's also the unicorn horn in what I'm hoping is Silver Metallic, which isn't new, but still cool, especially since you get five of them. All in all it's a decent selection of CCBS and Technic parts, with a lot of them being new pieces and recolors.
The shadow trap looks simple, but actually is made up of fifteen pieces. A click hinge is used to hold the 'jaws' in different positions with Technic half pins to give it extra support and provide a place to attach the eye. The legs are very simple, but also stable, and can easily adapt to any position you have the jaws open to. It's certainly more complex than the skull spiders from 2015, and while I like the jaws feature, I think I liked the look of the spiders better overall.
Finally we're on to the main event - Terak the Creature of Earth. I'm going to start with my criticisms, such as they are. Since there's a Technic assembly used to attach the arms, the ball joints on the upper torso are unused and look a bit empty - I think a couple of 3M shells would have filled it out nicely. The head is completely hollow and unless posed in a certain way, looks quite awkward. I'm not sure what could be done here, but if it had been designed differently maybe the emptiness wouldn't be so obvious. It's also a bit top heavy, which can make him fall down easily if not posed just right.
Other than the head, I think most of the issues are pretty minor. On the plus side, I think the color scheme looks sharp with the gold and trans-purple complimenting each other well. The crystalline armor pieces make it look like the creature is actually part rock. The wide shoulders and huge hands with claws give it a badger or mole vibe and definitely make it seem like it would be at home tunneling through the ground. With the play feature on the back, the set looks very solid and doesn't really have any gaps or empty spots, which is fairly awesome. I also like the claw pieces used as ears or horns on the head - moving them around can give the creature some expressiveness not usually seen in a CCBS set.
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?
The main play feature on Terak is activated by lifting up his tail - this causes the arms to raise up, and then swing forward when you push the tail back down. This can make him seem like he's digging, which seems rather appropriate. There's a little bit of friction in the mechanism, so you can get the arms to stay in some positions. But as soon as you pick up the set they're going to swing back down. Not including the swinging arms, Terak has ten points of articulation, which is pretty good for a small set. The shadow trap can open its jaws, which stay wherever you put them thanks to the click hinge. The only other thing it can do is move its lets, giving it five total points of articulation.
The cool part about getting Terak and the shadow trap in one set is that they can fight! By using both of their play features you can role-play all sorts of scenarios and have them battle again and again. Of course if you buy Onua, Terak can hop on his back to make a combiner. But still, this amount of playability in a $10 set is rather impressive.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Some great new molds, especially the head and jaws
- Quite a few recolored pieces
- Shadow trap is a nice addition
- Well-designed play features
- Lots of role-play potential
What's not to like?
- Head is pretty hollow
- Some stability issues
For just $10, Terak - Creature of Earth packs in a lot of value. If you're looking for trans-purple and gold pieces this set offers some great new parts for your collection. The inclusion of the shadow trap gives it some great play value as well. While I haven't built the other creatures yet, I feel like they're all going to be solid sets worth picking up, depending on your preferences in colors.
Thank you all for reading and watching our review. I hope you've enjoyed our first look at one of the 2016 Bionicle sets - we've got plenty more on the way! Let us know what you think of Terak in the Talkback and ask any questions you might have as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and keep your eyes peeled on the front page for more 2016 Bionicle coverage!
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