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Transformers BotBots
by yo go re

One side, Bot Shots - there's a new fad in town!

Not long ago and somewhere nearby... a shopping mall was closed for the night, when a strange glowing mist, filled with Transformers energy known as Energon, came down from the sky and covered the mall. When the Energon hit objects inside, they came to life as mischievous little Transformers robots. These robots hide in plain sight at the mall, disguised as the stuff we use everyday.

The BotBots are sold in several different pricepoints: 8-packs, 5-packs, and (as with the subject of today's review) single-carded. Each assortment features one "hidden" figure, making the solo figures technically blindpacked. The packaging is colorful, a pale blue background with lots of "Lil Formers"-style drawings of the characters crowding around, and a large, opaque, bright red bubble holding the figure. To get the toy out, you tear a perforated tab off the back of the card, then push on the bubble to force the figure through the paper covering. Hasbro's really hitting the things kids love with this one: collectability, unboxing surprises, and destroying things.

The BotBots are divided into eight teams, based on what store in the mall they hail from. For instance, the office supply store on Level 1 seems to have brought us the Backpack Bunch, including this guy, Cranks.

Cranks is a pencil sharper - the kind you'd find mounted on a table in a classroom, not the kind you'd carry around with you in your pencil case. (Clearly "Backpack" Bunch is more of a general idea than a hard and fast rule.) It's gray and neon green, and features a crank in the back that can actually be turned. That's pretty neat!

The only drawback here is that you can quite plainly see (what is going to be) the robot's face in this mode. It's, like, right there, not hidden or changed at all. The official art seems to suggest the working idea was to have the size-selector plate move at some point during conversion (or possibly to stay in the same place while the rest of the head moved in relation to it) to hide/reveal the face, but that didn't make the final cut.

BotBots are meant to be easy to transform, so all you have to do here is pull the arms out to the sides, lift the head, and turn the feet to face forward. Easy-peasy!

Cranks has a limitless appetite for pencils. The more he eats, the hungrier he gets and the faster he chews. But when he doesn't have enough to eat, he can get a little hangry.

Like we said, the robot's face was already visible, so there's no surprise seeing the yellow eye visor here. Heck, simply turning the entire face upside down would have been better than getting nothing at all! The crank on the back of his head still turns, and the arms are on tiny, tiny balljoints. They're a bit hard to pull out from the body, especially if you don't have any fingernails (something that seems to be endemic in the BotBots line so far), so I expect a lot of parents will be getting asked for help with that step.

Cranks is not the greatest BotBot. But he's also not the worst. He'd be a lot better if the face was hidden somehow in his altmode, but for $2.97, you only get so much. Still, these little robos are pretty fun, and we're really looking forward to the multipacks coming out. The 61 BotBots in Series 1 are just the tip of the iceberg, though: the collector's guide says there will be 190 of them to collect in 2019 alone. Good thing they're so small!

-- 12/18/18

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