Best 2014 Toys Mutant ManiaAt one point or another, we’ve all been avid collectors of something, and for some of us, it was (or still is) collectible toys, a genre whose best known entries over the years have included Pokémon, Crashlings, and Shopkins. Moose Toys, the company behind the best-selling Shopkins line, also has Mutant Mania, which seems like the boy counterpart to its other popular brand. The premise involves mutant wrestlers (which are way less cuter than Shopkins), but as anyone who has ever been an obsessive collector of this type of toy can tell you, it’s not just the aesthetic that matters, but also such factors as play pattern, whether the line features lots of compelling characters, and the accessories. On those fronts, Mutant Mania has plenty going for it.

The first wave, or round, of figures includes more than 120 characters with such names as Atomic Drop and Ragin’ Rhino. They’re available in different packs ranging from basics with one to four of the small, yet highly-detailed Mutant Mania figures inside them, to larger packs featuring gimmicks—for example, the initial wave has a Mutantade set, which only contains eight wrestlers, but a cool can accessory for storage. Meanwhile, every Mutant Mania figure is composed of a head, torso, and legs connected by a stretchy green spine. As such, the basic play pattern involves swapping out those pieces to create new wrestlers. Each wrestler has personality enough; however, since the individual pieces can vary in their sculpting, mixing and matching them can yield characters that seem very different from one another.

Best 2014 Toys Mutant Mania Rampage ArenaThe Mutant Mania line also has such play sets as the Rampage Arena, which lets kids attach their mutants to handles, and then make them fight each other, rock-’em-sock-’em-robot style! They can also launch the figures through the air toward the ring set. This style of play lends itself well to high-energy, spirited play, though come to think of it, one could say the same thing about the entire line, given that the figures are stretchable and fairly compact (Sure, the spines might break, but each figure set always comes with a few extra for just such an emergency). The recommended age range is 5 and up, and while Mutant Mania contains all the right ingredients for fostering a love of collecting in young ones, it hopefully doesn’t lead to too much aspirational play. After all, 5-year-olds boys have plenty of time to be grotesque monsters who display anti-social tendencies once they’re teenagers.

Thanks for reading! You can check out an unboxing and demoing video of the Mutant Mania Rampage Arena below: