Toy Review: Androidz Double Review

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New toy lines are always interesting, especially when they’re first discovered just by being on the shelf at a store. I first heard about Androidz when Newton Gimmick over at Infinite Hollywood spotted them and figured I might as well grab a few sets to see what they’re all about.

Androidz as the packing calls them when it isn’t just calling them Droidz are a cross between Z-Bots and Matchbox cars. They’re odd little robots that all have wheels for feet so they roll around like toy cars. And given what I saw of their play sets, it looks like that’s the entire premise of the figures. Robots crossed with cars made by Toy Quest, a company famous for making absolutely nothing I recognize.

An alien race launched a probe to search for new life within the universe. After years of exploration, the probe landed on a lifeless planet to refuel and conduct research. Then one day, the probe began to pick up strange radio and TV signals from a planet calling itself “Earth.” In an attempt to understand the messages, it began to replicate life in robotic form. These robots became “Androidz” – strange mechanical versions of life on Earth.

The Androidz divided into two groups. Defendbots – designed to protect the planet, and Strikebots – built to conquer it. Who will win?

If you go to their website, they’re a quick movie that basically just shows a probe landing on Mars and then making tiny robots to fight for its amusement. It’s weirdly surreal. Like all robot wars, there are two clear cut sides. Of course, there’s nothing on the figures or the packaging to tell you which side the figures you got are on. So while I grabbed two different packs, both of them labeled “STRATEGIC DEFENSE,” I learned they’re all Strikebots and not Defendbots. Because clearly Defendbots shouldn’t be part of the Strategic Defense group, that would just make too much sense.

Standing right around 1 and 3/4ths of an inch tall, Androidz (or is it Droidz?) are smaller than the Super Hero Squad figures, but close to the same size as Z-Bots and Battle Beasts. Their bodies are hollow, while the base of their feet is die cast metal with wheels giving them some heft that’s unexpected.

Weapons Specialist

Muzzle Flash looks like a generic robot you’d fight in a futuristic SNES video game. I mean, if he showed up in Mega Man X, no one would think twice. He’s short, squat and bulky as can be. His face looks like it’s covered with a gas mask while his chest seems to have multiple guns mounted on it.

Being the “Weapons Specialist,” Muzzle Flash is covered in weapons. His right wrist has a red blade while his left hand is replaced with three blasters. Even his pack seems to be a jet pack of sorts. I like how it’s not explicitly stated what everything is because a get pack can easily be a rocket launcher too. The paint isn’t terribly exciting; he’s just a dull muted green with brown and red highlights and silver arms.

Gunnery Sergeant

Tank is the other figure that came with Muzzle Flash and has a very unique look. Instead of having legs, his lower body looks like a tank with treads and all. His back has two giant guns on it and his right arm has a blade like Muzzle Flash’s which works great for covering his face while he cruises into battle.

One issue with Tank though is his construction. His two separate pieces of plastic that make up a majority of the figure split him right down the middle – including the middle of his face. This would normally be okay, but the figure I got seems to have gotten over-tightened when screwed together and is slightly warped. His left shoulder can barely move too because of the guns mounted on his back. Both Muzzle Flash and Tank has a star and stripe insignia on their left shoulders, I assume it’s the symbol of the Strikebots but the packaging doesn’t say anything about it.

Aerial Attack Supervisor

The second two-pack I got contain the Strikebots aerial attackers with Sky Bot and Altitude. Sky Bot looks like a Transformer that’s still in mid transformation. He’s basically a helicopter with arms instead of wings and legs. So he has no face and honestly ends up looking more like a mech suit than a robot.

At first glance, it looks like Sky Bot and Muzzle Flash share a left hand, but amazingly they’re different sculpts of almost the exact same thing. His other hand is just a fist along with a bracer that looks suspiciously like a bracelet.

But Sky Bot suffers from two major issues. First is the propeller on top. Most toy propellers will spin fairly well when given a single flick of the finger. Sky Boy’s proper seems to do all it can to not spin. Flicking it makes it move maybe a quarter of the way around which really makes it seem weird. I even tried messing with the screws to see if he was over-tightened like Tank, but it didn’t change anything.

The other issue isn’t much of a big deal for me, but could end up being very frustrating for kids and parents. Sky Bot’s arms do not way to stay on. When I took him out of the package, his right arm popped out. When I first tried moving his left arm, it popped out. The shoulder pads don’t really fit with the sculpt and are constantly under pressure and ready to come out. At least they don’t break when they come out and can be easily put back in but something tells me this isn’t unique to just the figure I got.

Aerial Defense Personnel

Altitude is the other flying-themed robot and seems to be based off a high-altitude pilot. His face is covered in a helmet, goggles and a breathing mask similar to Muzzle Flash’s without looking quite as menacing. In fact, both Altitude and Sky Bot’s loyalties are completely vague because neither of them have any sort of insignia on them! The pack of the packaging shows Altitude with the same star and stripe emblem on his head, but the figure doesn’t have it.

Of all the figures, Altitude seems like the most generic robot figure. Both his arms are fists which leaves him sorely out of place when compared to Tank’s shoulder canons and blade arm and Sky Boy’s triple hand blaster and chest launcher. Instead, he’s just a robot in a mask. Or he’s a guy in a robotic suit. It just seems odd. At least he’s got his own unique black and silver color scheme to set him apart.

All the Androidz move the same. They have a swivel shoulder and a hinged upper arm which mostly means they have ball-jointed shoulders (much like DC Universe’s swivel-hinged hips). They don’t move at the waist or neck and the bottom of their feet are wheels which allow them to spin around well. It’s an interesting concept but the quality control hurts them a lot. Paint also seems limited to four colors at a time and a decal or two.

While Androidz aren’t the most original idea, since warring robot sides have been a staple in the toy world for my entire life. Though I wonder how they were able to get away with names like “Defendbots” which sounds oddly like Decepticon and Autobot. But I do have to admit, I like the fact that the card backs give stats like stamina, A.I., loyalty and strength along with a radar chart mapping them.

At the end, Androidz are a solid idea that suffers from poor execution. Combining robots and cars isn’t anything new, but giving them wheels on their feet like a die cast car makes them feel unique and different from Transformers. But between the underdeveloped storyline, the lack of team insignias on two of the figures and the quality control issues make me hesitant to recommend these. At the end, they just feel like an incomplete thought. At $6 a pack, it just feels a tiny bit too high of a price point and I’m somewhat suspicious of a toy line that has to resort to using a Z in its name in the year 2010.

Written by jestergoblin

August 17th, 2010 at 12:00 am

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