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On March 14, Cartoon Network will present the U.S. debut of TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, the latest animated incarnation of the long-running TRANSFORMERS franchise, now in it’s 31st year. TRANSFORMERS were a huge part of my own childhood (something I mention often, and having been there from the beginning, it warms my heart to see my girls getting into the TRANSFORMERS action as well. This time around, Bumblebee is stepping into the role of leader to head-up a new team of young Autobots as they take on new threats from the Decepticons here on Earth. Ahead of the premiere and with the new toys just hitting retailers, Hasbro sent a trio of figures to my girls for evaluation here at Rock Father HQ – Underbite (Decepticon) and Sideswipe (Autobot) from the 1-Step Changers Assortment, and Dinobot leader Grimlock from the 3-Step Changers. Let’s take a look…

With this assortment (geared toward ages 5+), Hasbro continues something they started during the cinematic TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION run – making a wide array of toys that are available for kids of all ages – from preschool to the adult collector. While these are extraordinarily simple, purists can fret not as more complicated and detailed versions are out there. These are just perfect for easily-frustrated youngsters, but there’s an added element here that works really well in bridging the gap between physical and virtual play: scannable shields. Using the augmented reality function of the TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE App, kids can scan their real-world figures and unlock the playable character in the game. It’s a new spin on what SKYLANDERS and DISNEY INFINITY have been doing, but to have this incorporated into a free app is really cool – and it works. Check out the video…

Of this collection, Grimlock is the big winner here without question. It’s been said that 2015 is “The Year of the Dinosaur,” but is there really any time when kids don’t like dinosaurs? Grimlock’s been rockin’ since the 80s, and the only question my oldest had is “why is he green this time?” I don’t have an answer for that.

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

And while the 1-Step Changers have traditionally been a hot item here at our house (we have a bunch of ’em), for the first time ever, I have to note a negative on one of them – Underbite. Straight out of the package, he does not want to stay in his robot mode without assistance, and we are not alone in our experience. Reviews on Amazon and Toys R Us are loaded with parents reporting the same issue, so just a word of caution on that one.

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE toys are available now at retailers everywhere!

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