It's been a very good year to be a Nintendo fan. The release of the Switch and the accompanying games that have rapidly reversed their status of
being nearly irrelevant in throughout the Wii U's life span. And throughout the year Jakk's Pacific has continued to release new additions to their
World of Nintendo toy line. The 4" line has released two series so far this year. And once again, most of the figures have been repaints or reissues
of previous figures from the line. But there have also been a few completely new additions such as male and female versions of the Inklings from
Splatoon and Lakitu from the Super Mario games. So it was only a matter of time before my will power broke down and all ten figures in the two series
ended up coming home. I'm going to be concentrating on the three completely new figures in this review. But I'll try to cover the others briefly
Packaging - Samus 7/10, others 8/10The packaging design for these two latest series remains the same as previous releases. They do continue the recent change to display all of the accessories instead of hiding them as a surprise in the packaging. I do appreciate that change. The inclusion of the question block this time around is the only reason I bought the regular Mario from series 2-4. Graphically, the design doesn't serve Metroid series figures nearly as well as it works for the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda characters. Other than the image of Samus, there is nothing Metroid related on the card. By contrast, the two Splatoon characters use an ink splatter pattern on the background of the cards which is immediately recognizable as being from Splatoon.
Sculpting - Lakitu 6/10, Toon Link & Inkling Girl 7/10, Yoshi 8/10, Others 9/10Most of these figures are basically the same sculpts as previously released figures. (There are three Mario figures between the two series and they all use the same sculpt but with new hands and face.) So I won't bother rehashing them here. But there are three new figures, the Inklings and Lakitu. And as with the previous figures from the World of Nintendo line, the sculpting here is pretty solid for mass market figures. Lakitu suffers mostly just with a problem of scale. I generally think of Lakitu as being slightly smaller than Mario when he is in/on his cloud. But the figure is slightly larger than Mario instead. It's not that drastic a difference, but it is easily noticeable. I was prepared to accept the scale issues if it meant that Lakitu came with a removable cloud that Mario could also ride. But sadly that isn't the case here. Instead we get a decent Lakitu in need of a slightly larger Mario to torment. The two Inklings turned out well as well. They aren't highly detailed. But they have all the detail that they should have. I do have one complaint about then though. Because of the basic character designs give both figures such slender arms and legs, the joints do a lot more to break up the sculpting on the limbs. This is particularly true for the Inkling Girl. As I prefer to collect toys over statues, it doesn't really bother me too much. But I'm sure it could be a bigger issue with other collectors.
Paint - Inklings and Phazon Samus 9/10, Bowser Jr 8/10, Star Power Mario & Lakitu 6/10, Others 7/10The paint work on most of these figures is fairly simple, but well executed so the figures look good. My favorite of the two series is Phazon Suit Samus. The silver and black color scheme works really well. And it has plenty of small accent details as well. (Plus it's shiny.) The Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl don't necessarily stand out from the other figures overall. But there is more detail work that has been done for both of them, particularly on their sneakers and I appreciate that effort. The same holds true for Bowser Jr. The basic figure is well painted. But it's the scribbled mouth on his bandanna that sets him apart from the other figures. Lakitu really doesn't have much in the way of detail work. His eyes are painted as are the eyes on his cloud, his glasses and the stripes on his shell. But that still leaves large monochrome areas across the rest of the figure. He doesn't look bad, perhaps a bit too simple and clean. Finally there is Star Power Mario who has a rather unique look to him. From the looks of it, he seems to be a normal, fully painted Mario figure underneath. And they have applied some sort of coating to the entire figure which gives he a slightly irradescent finish. It's interesting. But ultimately I prefer the Invincible Mario they produced the series prior to this. The spray on coating also has a couple of issues. First, it was obviously applied while the arms were extended out to the figure's sides which left spots at the top of each shoulder that is not coated at all. And even where it is coated there are spots in the finish. These could be intentional, additives in the coating to give it an irregular reflective quality. But I suspect that they are area where the coating may not have adhered or bonded with the figure as well. If that is the case, there is a very good chance that the coating will eventually start to flake off. Quality control questions aside, the coating just doesn't work for me on an aesthetic level. Every time I look at the figure I think it is wrapped in plastic wrap and I want to pull it off rather than admiring the look. If we hadn't just gotten the Invincible Mario I might have felt differently. But this seems like a step down from that figure and thus a complete waste.
Articulation - Inkling Boy 9/10, Inkling Girl & Bowser Jr 8/10, Yoshi 4/10, Lakitu 3/10, Others 7/10Jakk's Pacific has done a decent job overall of incorporating articulation into the World of Nintendo figures. With the exception of Yoshi, all of the previously released figures have plenty of articulation, decent range of motion and the quality control for the joints is great as well. Unfortunately Lakitu follows in the path of Yoshi with a significant lack of articulation, limited to just the neck, shoulders and wrists. And they didn't even give him a ball jointed neck so he can't look down. That's a glaring oversight for a character that is suppose to spend most of his time flying above everyone else. By contrast, the Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl have a whopping twenty-four points of articulation each. They aren't quite at the level of something like a Marvel Legends figure. But for their size and the slim design of their limbs, that is pretty impressive. The design for the Inkling Girl's knees could use some improvement as they allow the knees to bend almost as far forward as they do in the correct direction. They are squids, so maybe that was intentional. But I have yet to see the characters in the game bend their legs in the wrong direction.
Accessories - Bowser Jr & Toon Link 7/10, Lakitu 4/10, Yoshi 3/10, Others 6/10Each of the figures comes with at least one accessory:
Value - Inklings 9/10, Bowser Jr. & Toon Link 8/10, Samus 7/10, Star Power Mario ?, Others 6/10The World of Nintendo line has and continues to put out some really great figures from a huge variety of Nintendo licenses. It's a shame that the line hasn't gotten the fan support that it really deserves. I suspect that a lot of collectors in the future are going to regret missing out on these figures, especially the Inkling Boy and Girl and Lakitu since they haven't gotten much in the way of merchandising in the past. And then there is Star Power Mario. Personally, I really don't like him. The coating is just too odd looking and the entire figure seems unnecessary given the other Star Power Mario that was included in series 2-3. But I also recognize that it's just my opinion and tastes differ. Someone else may really like the look of this figure.
Happy Hunting:The World of Nintendo line is, or at least was fairly widely distributed through most of this year. Target, Walmart and Toys R Us all had the four inch figure line in store. But they didn't seem to sell very well. And most of the same figures have been hanging on the pegs in the stores around here for a long time. I eventually ordered series 2-5 online from Big Bad Toy Store since they have yet to appear locally.