Monday, March 19 2018 08:34

Toy Review: Zuru Toys' Smashers Series One (Plus a Series Two Preview)

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As we continue to fly through 2018, toys with a "surprise" or "reveal" are still proving to be a massive success. With more hitting the shelves each and every month, we're starting to see some new spins on things, and from Zuru Toys comes an action-packed take on the genre: Smashers. With an assortment sent here for review in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father™ HQ, we had a chance to go hands-on with Series One, fully embracing the tagline - "Smash the Ball & Collect 'Em All!" as each new Smash Ball was cracked open to reveal a micro-collectible figure inside. Take a look at the video below to see how the action unfolded...

At the core of Smashers are the micro-collectibles, a trend that continues to grow and expand as toymakers offer kids and collectors affordable ways to build huge collections of cool characters that can be stored in a small space. With Smashers Series One there's over 100 characters to collect, and the sports theme runs the gamut from traditional sports like baseball and football to motorsports and action sports. Each pack comes with a checklist that breaks the characters into distinct categories like Ball Stars, Bad Sports, Smash Gear, Team X-Treme, Game Changers, Not-So-Fast-Food, Hard Hitters and of course the coveted Super Rare.


The characters are colorful and fun, but what I like are the different play possibilities that are enhanced by the Smash Bus playset. This tour bus can hold up to 50 characters, and it unfolds to reveal a playing field - in our case, the Smash Court for our Basketball-themed bus (a "football" bus is also available, but it's "soccer" in the U.S.). Here kids can use the spring-loaded launch ramp to shoot baskets, or follow the included suggestion sheet for additional ways to play - guided by "Smash Points" assigned to each character.


While we do love these, the one point of criticism is with the Smash Balls - but it's not necessarily a bad thing for most. When it comes to micro-collectibles, we tend to throw away the containers that they come in, but here the Smash Balls are touted as being able to be rebuilt. With six plastic pieces required for re-assembly, both the kids and myself found the process to be frustrating and pointless. Despite a video detailing the process, I was unable to successfully rebuild a single ball, so the pieces for ours went in the recycling bin - again, not a problem as we always toss the containers for our micro-collectibles.


You can find Smashers Series One on store shelves right now, and for those looking to the future... stay tuned for Series Two! For the next wave, Smashers will be getting gross as they grab the torch and run with one of 2018's biggest trends - gross-out toys! Want to learn even more about Smashers? Check out the official YouTube Channel for animated videos, unboxings and more!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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