Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 at 1:49am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
The Final Battle for Ninjago includes yet another motorbike, and this time it's driven by the evil Samurai Warrior. He's chasing after Jay with his electro blade, ready to bring this last fight to the ninjas. Is this a set worth picking up, or is it something that should stay stranded on the Island of Darkness? Read on and find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The evil Samurai Warrior is out on his Warrior Bike hunting ninjas, and he's spotted his quarry in the form of Jay with a jetpack. That, at least, is the scene portrayed on the front of the box. The top corner depicts the Gold Ninja in a fighting stance, to remind us that this is "The Final Battle" for Ninjago... at least until 2014 anyway. The back shows off some cool detailed, like the flick fire missile mechanism, the collectible electro sword, and (my favorite) a screenshot of the Warrior Bike from the television show.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build isn't super amazing compared to some of the previous Ninjago models. It uses brackets and clips and curved elements to create a samurai face, but it's not quite as ingenious as the snake designs of 2012, in my opinion. However, the flick fire missile mechanism is quite simple but effective, and I'm say more on that in a bit.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Although there aren't many brand new parts here, the Warrior Bike has a couple of nice recolors in red, including the copter blade, tail piece, and treads. The new bracket pieces are also pretty cool, although they're appearing in lots of sets this year so their novelty will probably wear off soon. The Samurai helmet pieces are also fairly new and detailed. The most unique piece, however, is the new blue electro blade, and even that comes in another Ninjago set. Overall, the Warrior Bikes comes with 210 pieces, plus a handful of small extras, including two spare black and gold katana. The price per piece ratio is decent for a $20 USD set.
Of course, the minifigures are what really make this set shine. Jay is exclusive to this set, and he's sporting a new blue/black kimono look. The design looks more orient than some of the previous ninja versions. Jay also has the benefit of having a jetpack. Ninjago has had lots of varieties of jetpacks in previous sets, and to be honest, this one isn't my favorite. However, it is streamlined and holds together well, and the added gold katana are always a nice addition. Of course, the best part is Jay's new weapon, which is a blue / pearl translucent blade of electricity. This weapon design is awesome; it captures the elemental feel and still looked like a worthy weapon. In fact, I would say the new elemental swords included in all the sets this year are in the same level of awesomeness as the Dragon Firesword from the first wave.
The antagonist of this set is the Stone Samurai Warrior. Nearly unbeatable, he has joined forced with Garmadon to spread darkness across Ninjago. (Or is he really just allied with the Overlord?) He is mainly red and black, with some detailed print on his legs and torso. (Is that a lime G insignia on his chest for Garmadon, or just a random green swirl to depict the emptiness of his stone heart?) The new shoulder armor and new helmet pieces look cool, and only the actual helmet is reused from Samurai X from last year. But Samurai X is so out of date, and this new warrior definitely takes the cake as a scary orient-themed villain. Even without his helmet, he looks pretty frightening with his red painted face. He's not unique to this set, but that's okay because it's never a bad thing to collect an army of these guys, right?
As I mentioned before, this is not the first bike in the Ninjago theme. In fact, the Ninjas and their enemies seem to have a thing for motorbikes, from the Skeleton Bike with a skull hammer to the Bite Cycle with the snake head and whipping tail. As such, the Warrior Bike already has a lot to live up to.
The first thing it has going for it is that it does look like a Samurai face. The subtle curves and angles work to fit the motif. It's not quite as interesting as the snakes, and it certainly isn't unique after seeing all the animal-themed vehicles in Legends of Chima. But the look works. (Although I do question the need for some of the lime highlights. Sure it makes sense for the eyes, but all the lime elsewhere seems too distracting.)
However, it still has a few basic failings as a bike. First of all, it has a tread on the front, which is not a typical wheel arrangement in motorcycles. The wheels still move, but it's much stiffer than the previous cycles. Furthermore, when viewed from behind, the back appeared very empty. I understand that the beams had to be moved out far enough to make room for the wheels, but I just think the back could've been filled in a little better. Maybe it's to make it easier for Jay to attack from behind, because it seems like it would be very easy to knock the Warrior off his bike from that direction.
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?
In terms of role playing, this set has all the bases covered. It includes two awesome figures to fight each other, and each even has a vehicle. Jay seems pretty outgunned with his little jetpack, but that's how it has been for all Ninjago motorcycle sets. Jay should be glad he even got a jetpack and didn't have to fight this thing on foot.
The coolest feature the Warrior Bike has to offer is the flick fire missile mechanism. I've made it pretty clear in the past that I'm not a big fan of flick fire missiles; they seem gimmicky, never fire very far, and are all too often troublesome to even flick in the first place. But hey, maybe I've been spoiled by Bionicle's various forms of projectiles. Well, the Warrior Bike actually has a flick fire missile set up that I am impressed with. There's a lever that's rubber band loaded. When it's pulled back, the clip of flick fire missiles drops down and loads up a missile, and upon release the rubber band helps snap forward with enough force to launch the missile. Sure, the distance still isn't great, but at least the Warrior can clear the front of his bike with the missile. Best of all, the missile clip slides down for the next shot, so you can rapidly fire three of the missiles in succession. It's a fairly basic mechanism, but it works well, and it is a new standard that all flick fire missiles should have to measure up to!
I do have one last issue with the bike; it's hard to hold onto! As mentioned before, the tread doesn't spin as freely as the back wheels, so you need to grip it a bit to effectively roll it around. But where do you grip it? For me, the wedges on the top side of the treads seem like an obvious choice, but they break off very easily. The red "feathers" can also get in the way of getting a good grip on the back, and overall this makes gripping the bike a little troublesome.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Awesome minifigs
- And that electro sword is epic
- Bike has a great Samurai motif
- Very nice flick fire mechanism
What's not to like?
- The back of the back is too empty
- Why the lime?
- Red treads don't spin as freely as normal wheels
- Difficult to hold, gripping in the wrong places can break off parts
In conclusion, I'm feeling mixed emotions with this set. The bike looks menacing enough, but it has a few too many faults to it, and it just doesn't have the same appear as previous Ninjago motorcycles. Still, the Samurai design is still well done, and the minifigures are excellent. If you're a fan of Ninjago, then you'll appreciate this. But if you're more limited in your set selection, I might recommend looking at some of the other Ninjago sets first. Especially Cole's Earth Driller, which is the same price and also comes with a unique Ninja and opposing Stone Warrior and cool elemental blade.
That's all for now. Please leave any questions or comments in the talkback topic. And keep an eye on BZPower for even more Hero Factory and Ninjago set reviews in the near future!
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