2017 was without a doubt a banner year for Nintendo and Nintendo fans. The launch of the Switch took a company that many said should be dropping
out of the game console market to suddenly making a serious play for the most popular console in the company's history. And on the games front,
fans were treated to a string of great games including both Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both of which were in the
running for the best game of the year for most gamers. So one might hope that for Jakk's Pacific who suddenly found themselves as one of the primary
license holders for Nintendo toys when the company suddenly became more popular than oxygen, that all of this would lead to some great additions
to their World of Nintendo lines. Sadly, by the time that the big N's turn of fates became apparent, it was too late for Jakk's to capitalize on it
in 2017, both due to the time frame needed for toy production and retailers that were already overstocked with older stock. But they did try. And the
end of 2017 did see the release of another series of figures for Jakk's four inch series of figures which includes Luigi, Mario in his Mario Maker
costume and a new Link based on Breath of the Wild. As a happy Switch owner who has clocked hundred of hours in Breath of the Wild, I was really
excited to find these figures. Sadly, that excitement was dashed immediately upon finding the final figure in stores. But I still wanted to take some
time to check out these three figures.
Packaging - 8/10The packaging for the World of Nintendo line continues to have different designs based on the series the figure is based on as well as the individual game it is based upon. So Mario and Luigi's packing is the same as the last couple of series, including the fact that the included accessories are now packaged in plain sight. For BOTW Link, the card uses some of the pre-release artwork of Link which looks a bit like a watercolor painting. The card designs do a nice job of showing off the toys while still matching the past releases. The one complaint/quibble that I have is a lack of any direct mention of Super Mario Maker to explain where this version of Mario comes from.
Sculpting - BOTW Link 2/10, Luigi & Mario 9/10Mario Maker Mario and Luigi both continue Jakks's history of really well sculpted figures in this line. Of course, a lot of that comes down to the fact that both figures recycle a lot of parts from previously released figures. Luigi appears to be identical to the series 1-2 Luigi figure except that the hands are now open instead of fists. Mario Maker Mario has the same Mario body, but with a new head. I always like to see extra effort put into figures that I buy. But for these two figures, the final results turned out so well that it's hard to argue with the results. So I'll save that for Link. And OH BOY, there is no shortage of things that went wrong with this figure. First lets cover the positives. Jakks didn't skimp on the details on this figure. There is clearly a lot of work that went into this figure. There is a lot of detail for things like the boots, the Shieka Slate and the forearm guard. But all of the parts fail to come together well. The shoulders are too large and far too wide. The chest is too wide itself which gives the entire figure a slightly flat look to it. The transition between the upper torso and waist section is really poorly designed. It looks like it was designed to provide a huge range of motion for that joint, but it doesn't. The feet are quite small, which makes balancing the figure much harder than either of the Mario Bros. And finally, my figure has some significant quality issues with the joints. The pins for the wrist and elbow joints are not quite the right size to fit snuggly. As a result the pin started to fall out of one of the elbows and Link's right hand nearly fell off as well. In short, Breath of the Wild Link is easily the worst figure in the World of Nintendo line. And it really didn't have to be. I'm guessing that the figure was rushed to get it out in while the game is still at the height of its popularity. Sadly, that obviously proved to be a bad choice.
Paint - BOTW Link 5/10, others 7/10The paint work on both Mario and Luigi have the same relatively simple paint scheme that one would expect for these characters. While there is no complex shading or washes, the paint work that is here is well done. Luigi does have one small imperfection on his yellow overalls button. But that is the worst complaint I can come up with for either figure. By contrast, the Breath of the Wild Link figure has a lot of paint work. But he also has an issue with his elbow joints and the right forearm. The plastic used for those areas isn't painted and doesn't match either the color of the sleeves, the forearm wrappings or the skin tone. So the area stands out starkly for not matching anything else around. At arm's length or greater, the paint work for Link works well enough and the figure does deserve some credit for all of the small detail work that went into the Sheikah Slate and the rest of the figure.
Articulation - BOTW Link 2/10, Others 7/10Both Mario and Luigi have the same thirteen points of articulation as the previous Mario Brothers figures in the line of course since they are the same sculpts. It is a bit limited. But that has more to do with the designs of the characters than a lack of effort on Jakk's Pacific's part. And once again, things really go downhill when you get to Breath of the Wild Link. He has a lot of articulation, twenty eight points of articulation by my count. But almost all of it has serious issues. The neck and waist joints are ball joints which should give the figure a wide range of motion. but the sculpt limits the neck to little more than simple rotation and the waist can rotate or bend backward, but not forward. The tunic fits so tightly around the legs that the hips have almost zero movement to them which renders the knee articulation fairly useless. The arms are the one area where the range of motion isn't limited by the sculpting and poor design. And instead several of those joints just have a serious risk of literally falling apart on my figure. In the end, I'm left with a figure that on which I am only comfortable moving one arm.
Accessories - Luigi & Link 4/10, Mario 5/10Jakks has done a decent job of including appropriate accessories with the World of Nintendo figures. But they have always limited them to just one or two accessories. For Luigi, they included another question block. I like the look of the block. But they don't include any way to properly use or display it other than to just sit it on the ground which is disappointing. Mario comes with a hammer and a removable tool belt. The hammer is rather small to be useful for anything in the real world, but seems to match the designs from the character art well. The tool belt does include a loop so that the hammer can be stored on his belt as well. That is a nice touch. I just wish that they would have skipped the removable option for the belt as I can see little reason to want to remove it, but as it is, you run the unneccessary risk of it falling off and getting lost. Finally we come to Link. And Link is always a problem in this category because there is just so much you want the figure to come with, but the line only budgets for one, maybe two accessories for a figure. This time around, Link come with THREE. He has a bow, an ancient arrow and a quiver with more nonremovable arrows that can peg onto the back of his waist. I appreciate and love the effort that Jakks put into these accessories. They are all brand new, quite detailed and fully painted. If I had only watched the trailer for this game in which this was the equipment Link used, I'd be thrilled. But instead I see a figure with a beautifully sculpted Sheikah Slate which is permanently stuck on his hip. And I see a Link with no shield and no sword or any other melee weapon. With a figure from any other Legend of Zelda game, that would be unforgivable. Given the weapon mechanics in Breath of the Wild, it is actually somewhat understandable, but still very disappointing. (Maybe if he defeats Mario he can steal his weapon at least.)
Value - Mario 9/10, Luigi 7/10, Link 3/10This line of World of Nintendo figures sells for about $10 each in most stores. For that price, I will happily buy Mario Maker Mario and any other Nintendo character they produce with this level of quality. Luigi takes a slight hit for me simply because I already have the original release and this one just isn't that different. In truth, I only bought him because I enjoy this line so much that I make a point to buy all of the figures in it to support the line. (and for this review) If you don't have the original release, than this figure is a definite purchase. And speaking of figures that I bought just to support the toy line, there's Link. I love this game. When these figures came out I had put several hundred hours into Breath of the Wild on the switch and still wasn't bored with it. And still when I saw this figure on the store shelves for the first time I actually though about just not buying it. It's a shame. Jakks Pacific really did put a lot of effort into this figure. But htere are just sooo many things wrong with it. That's a real shame. The game has done well enough that there are already multiple other options for Link figures based on it, but they are all collector figures with a much higher price tag. For any kid that might have loved that game, this is probably the only option that they are going to have to get the character in plastic form. And that just makes me sad.
Happy Hunting:The World of Nintendo line can be quite frustrating to find. The line actually has fairly decent distribution. Walmart, Target and Toys R Us which represent the biggest toy sellers in my area all carry the line. (Though Toys R Us has them in the video game section instead of with the other action figures.) But it always seems to be a slow seller. And most stores only dedicate one or two pegs to it. So if there are any figures or characters that don't sell as well as others, they can clog up inventories and peg space quite easily and prevent new figures from showing up. This is the latest series to be released and I found them last fall at Target. But they only showed up in one or two of the five Target stores in my area and have still not surfaced in those stores again or in any of the other chains' stores. If you do want them and are willing to buy all three, your best option may be Big Bad Toy Store.com as they have the set of three available for a very fair price.