Sunday, December 1st, 2013 at 12:00am by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today's the day you've all been waiting for, whether you knew it or not. Today we begin reviewing the 2014 Hero Factory sets. LEGO was nice enough to send us a batch, so we figured we should share our thoughts. We're kicking things off with 44015 Evo Walker, one of the smaller sets in the line. Read on for a video review and tons of pictures showcasing what this set's made of!
Before we dive in, there's a couple things to go over. First, the LEGO CEE Team kindly shared with us that these sets will not be available in North America until March 1st, while they should be on store shelves everywhere else starting January 1st. They're aware this is not going to go over well with the community and have already passed it on. The decision has been made, and that's how it'll be. That said, I think we all know that these dates rarely prove solid, so you can probably expect to see the sets in the US by February sometime.
Second, a couple comments on the 'Invasion from Below' line as a whole. I think it's a really cool idea and overall really like the implementation. I'm sure a lot of you recall the Bionicle playsets we got back in the day, with their little figures of varying quality. There was never any crossover between those and the normal constraction sets though. This time, the heroes are scaled to about minifig size and are piloting walkers and mechs to take on foes that otherwise dwarf them. It's a great way to change the pace, and now, in addition to some cool constraction sets, we get these cool herofigs too. I'd say I'm a fan.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
LEGO decided to stick with the bags this year, for better or worse. Evo's bag shows his walker being attacked by three invaders while he uses his
Zamor launcher energy cannon to fend them off. The top bar has some nice art and the 'Invasion from Below' logo, letting you know what wave he's a part of. Along the bottom you see that this set includes Evo and three invaders.
The back of the bag highlights the play features, including an ejection seat and
Zamor launcher energy cannon. There's also a 1-to-1 scale image of the Evo figure and another image showing that the invaders jump when you push down on them. Legal text in several languages is there just for our pal DeeVee.
Finally, and this may be a first for the Hero Factory bags, the bottom has some artwork too. It's similar to the art on the top of the front, but with less color. I'm not sure a lot of kids will even notice it, but it really drives home the 'Invasion from Below' theme. Definitely a nice touch.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The Evo Walker is a small set containing only about fifty pieces. With so few (and a lot of those dedicated to the herofig and invaders) the build is obviously not going to be very complex. That said, it does keep things interesting by not including a torso piece. It's good to have something different, but it'll still be together in a couple minutes.
The instructions tell you to put some stickers on the canopy, but I skipped this part, thinking it didn't really add much to the set and would allow me to better reuse the parts later.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There's an alright variety of smaller limbs in the Evo Walker, but nothing too exciting. Standouts include the new cockpit and canopy piece, a small limb in yellow, a printed armor piece in Evo's colors, and an interesting Technic beam with two pins and two ball joints. Nothing spectacular, and nothing super unique. If you're looking for some yellow pieces though, this set will be a great help.
I feel like the only thing the Evo Walker has going for it is the unique shape and lack of a torso piece. While I welcome non-humanoid builds, there's just not a lot of substance to the walker. It's a tiny little thing. The feet are just bare socket joints that make it seem unfinished. The green on the launcher clashes with the rest of the color scheme, as does the orange cockpit. I think the set would be better if they took out one or two of the invaders and used the parts to beef up the walker a bit.
The new herofigs, on the other hand, are awesome. It's kind of funny that they're built on a skeleton body, but the new armor piece does a good job of hiding that. The armor has a stud on the front for the hero core and a rod on the back that connects it to the cockpit. It fits just fine on regular minifigs too, although it looks a bit bulky. The hero core is a perfect touch - a 1x1 round tile with the hero Factory logo just rounds out the fig. The solid red minifig head is sure to be desired by AFOLs, which I find amusing, but it's cool to see the heads without any printing. The helmet is just perfect and totally captures the look of Evo. The arms and legs are brand new, and both are interesting in that they have a spot where clips can attach, like with Evo's cool little communicator tile. All-in-all the Evo herofig is probably my favorite part of this set.
The set also include three invaders, each made up of three pieces. The black tops and tan half-pins are identical, but the bases come in red, orange, and lime green. They're cool-looking buggers and are obviously reminiscent of the Visorak, which is nice. Personally I would have liked some poseability, but the designers opted for the jumping action feature, which I'm sure kids will appreciate more.
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?
As you'd expect, the legs are moveable, with two points of articulation each. The back leg's range of motion is somewhat limited by the way some of the limb pieces are connected though. The turret is surprisingly poseable, with two points of articulation of its own, allowing you to aim at oncoming enemies without moving the walker. Also, the canopy opens and closes.
With the walker, the Evo herofig, and three invaders, there's a lot of role-play fun to be had. It's definitely good that such a small set includes both heroes and villains, something that constraction sets are usually lacking. It means you only need to buy one set to start playing in the Hero Factory universe, which is a big boon.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Awesome Evo herofig
- Invaders are pretty cool
- Constraction build with no torso piece
- Some decent recolors
- Lots of playability
What's not to like?
- No feet
- Colors don't mesh well
- Simple design - not a lot of meat
- Limited poseability
The Evo herofig comes in two other sets, including the larger mech Evo XL Machine. The invaders come in four other sets. In my mind, those are the coolest part of this set, so you may be better off buying some of the bigger sets to get them instead. While I'm sure the kids will love it, unless you're looking for the pieces, Evo is probably a pass.
Thanks for reading the first of our 2014 Hero Factory reviews. As always you can head over to the Talkback if you have any questions or comments. I hope you enjoyed watching and reading, and be sure to keep checking back for plenty more reviews and news, right here on BZPower!
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