Hasbro sent a giant box to my house over the holiday weekend. What was inside? A new giant combiner? War for Cybertron bots? Nope. Inside were over 150 teeny little Transformers with alt modes like donuts, staplers, toilet paper, and bonsai trees… and I couldn’t love the franchise more.
BotBots are a whole new line of Transformers that take the exceedingly ordinary (think grilled cheese sandwiches and hockey pucks), give them a little bit of personality, and then turn up the volume another few notches.
You want a red velvet cupcake that turns into a robotic vampire bat? Get BotBots. An incontinent cannoli named “The Plopfather”? BotBots. Textbooks that turn into nebbish professors? BotBots is the line you’re looking for.
The first wave of BotBots is separated into eight teams, each with their own distinctive personality. While adult collectors might decry the quite literal toilet humor of some of the characters, you can’t deny that these are easily the most demonstrably fun Transformers in years. There’s no “million year war.” There’s no Optimus Prime glowering in the corner, ready to slice off faces. Instead, there are all brand new, goofy-as-heck characters waging battles that have about as much investment as a cafeteria food fight.
Your New, Maddening Blind Box Addiction
Each wave of bots has its share of surprises, and Hasbro makes it relatively easy to collect a large number of them as they ship in packs with four or seven bots visible (with one bot in a blind pack). If you can’t find the BotBots you’re looking for, you can take your chances on a single-carded blind box character. For all of you who remember Shopkins, you’ll be very, very familiar with the mechanic.
Each multi-pack is themed around four of the eight teams (more about that below), but only contain two characters from that team. Most multi-packs will contain one character from the Lost Bots, with the rest of the selection being random characters from the other groups. At launch, Hasbro is releasing packs for Techie Team, Jock Squad, Sugar Shocks, and Toilet Troop.
Gotta Transform ’em All
As far as how rare every bot is, I’ll say I was a little worried. Hasbro sent over 152 bots and I was only barely able to collect an entire set of the first wave. Oddly enough, Slobber Rock, who’s listed as a one-star common, was the nailbiter bot. He was one of only a couple single bots I found. In my giant haul, I found enough multiples for nearly three full sets. I have high hopes that young collectors will be able to “catch them all.” (Hey, that’s a cool phrase— Hasbro should look into using that one.)
Putting things like rarity aside, BotBots are undeniably fun. Every Transformers fan under 12 is going to love to get these in their holiday haul this year (as well as older collectors that don’t take themselves quite as seriously). The transformation for each character is simple enough for its targeted 5-and-up crowd, but is still engaging. And each bot is oozing with personality. Goofy expressions, clever transformations, and a distinct sense that the designers were given free rein to do what they wanted all contribute to an addictingly collectible line.
Pack-in documentation is pretty good, giving you the transformation sequence for your BotBots as well as a fun poster of the crew in action. However, they don’t include the poster of the full wave that came with my promotional box. It’s a shame because BotBots are simply made to be collected. Luckily, you can download the poster from official BotBots site right here!
The team of the aforementioned Slobber Rock, otherwise known as “The bot that was hidden in a surprise unopened blind box.” Shed Heads are all things you might find in a garden shed or garage and are made up of Cuddletooth, Fun Gus, Grit Sandward, Major Lee Screwage, Nail Byter, Rootwing, Slobber Rock, Venus Frogtrap.
These are an odd mix of characters that seem to fit in with the other teams, but are instead grouped together. Maybe it was done so that the teams would be more or less even? Regardless of the reasoning, this team has one of my Wave 1 favorites, Frostferatu who, by his description, seems to be a kind of reverse vampire? The other team members are Bonz-Eye, Burgertron, Clogstopper, Dimlit, Game Over, and Stinkeye Stapleton.
Which I was disappointed to discover were not all performing in their school’s production of The Outsiders but were instead, themselves, greasy. Ahem. This food-themed team is made up of Angry Cheese, Duderoni, Fottle Barts, Hawt Diggity, S’up Dawg, Shredder Jack, Spud Muffin, and Twerple Burple.
Oddly, the Jock Squad has the lowest character count of any of the other groups. Maybe someone at Hasbro still isn’t over getting picked last for kickball? Actually, it simply seems to be a case of not every bot making the cut before the first wave released. There are soccer ball and baseball characters on the BotBots homepage that seems to be missing in action. For now, the Jock Squad consists of Arctic Guzzlerush, Batsby, Fit Ness Monster, Kidd Klobber, Laceface, and Pucksie.
This group of school-supply themed bots is made up of Cranks, Ms. Take, Pointdexter, Professor Wellread, Slappyhappy, Snippy Snappy, Sticky McGee, and Totes Magotes.
Cupcake. Pegasus. Unicorn. Do you really need another reason to collect these guys? You do? Good, because some of the most enjoyable characters in the entire line hail from that place where baked treats rule. In addition to Unilla Icequeencone, the pegasus unicorn, there’s The Plop Father the cannoli and Waddlepop the fudgesicle penguin. Additional team members include Cocoa Crazy, Lolly Licks, Nrjeez, Remorsel, Sippy Slurps, and Sprinkleberry D’uhnut.
“Oh look! Reflector!” My steeped-in-G1 son exclaimed when he found the camera S.A. Cheez. I had to remind him that these guys are pointedly not G1 related. But still, if there was to be a link to old school Transformers, you’d expect to find it in the tech gear group. Surprisingly, they continue to deftly avoid comparisons to old characters. The team consists of Chilla Gorilla, Dr. Moggly, Fomo, Goob Toob, Raddhax, Screen Fiend, and Skillz Punk.
I wanted to turn up my nose at these guys. After all, it’s literal toilet humor. But how can you deny the appeal of a bonsai tree that turns into Stinkosaurus Rex? Or Sudsbeard, the shampoo bottle pirate? Or Frohawk, a paint can with a purple mohawk? Additional characters include King Toots, Nobeeoh, Poo Sham, and Sergeant Scrubadub.
If you want more info about each character, you can head to the official BotBots page where there are bios for every character!
When Can I Buy Them?
BotBots are available right now! The pegs at your local toy store should be stocked with the diminutive, addictive, transforming munchkins right now (or they will be soon). You can also pick up a Techie Team, Toilet Troop, or Sugar Shocks 5-pack from Amazon. If you collect the entire set of 61, don’t worry, there will be 190 in all to collect by the end of 2019!
Hasbro provided sample materials for this review. Opinions and hoarder’s personality are my own.