Oh no There D Hood, not another building toy post…
Yes, another building toy post. This time it’s the biggest set of its kind: Kre-O CityVille Invasion Skyscraper Mayhem.
I’m a big fan of the Transfromers Kre-O products and these CityVille Invasion sets seemed cool. The idea of having Kreon figures and other parts of the set move around was fascinating. Doesn’t hurt that there are also sound effects. Knowing nothing about CityVille, I wasn’t tempted by the characters so I bought the set for the set. Always good when it’s the build over characters. Not going to lie though, Zape being Kre-O’s first try at a big figure like Lego’s Hulk was worth seeing. Plus, who wouldn’t want Banana Boy?
I thought CityVille was an original line Kre-O made in response to Lego City. Turns out CityVille is an online game. I haven’t played it so while I can’t vouch for accuracy, I like these small human Kreons. They scale great with Transformers Kreons and I feel these are what the human Kreons from Transformers sets should have been. To be fair, since the older Transformers sets had actual vehicle builds, the human drivers did kind of need to be that size. It’s just weird for the humans to be the same size as the Transformers.
Here’s the box front. You’ll notice that this set along with most CityVille sets contain a mystery Kreon. Mystery Kreons can be very unique and sometimes have nothing to do with the set.
Back of the box
Of all the building toys, I prefer Kre-O boxes the most. I like the top’s handle so you don’t have to hug the bigger sets under your arm like you would with other brands. The best part is that the box closes properly unlike a lot of other building toy boxes.
Here are the contents of the box. Good call covering the base plate with cardboard.
Unfortunately the set comes with stickers. I don’t like stickers. Forgot to take separate pictures beforehand, so I already used some of them. They’re the clear kind of stickers too so be careful when placing them and missing the nonexistent mark.
Front and back of the instruction booklet with a nice shot of all the CityVille sets at the time.
Surprisingly, there aren’t many leftover pieces in this set.
Now let’s take a look at the Kreons. From left to right: Vance Valor, Dr. Mayhem, Banana Boy, Amy Apekeeper, TN Teeter, and our mystery figure. I feel like this would’ve been a good opportunity to have dual-faced heads which Kre-O hasn’t attempted yet. Not a fan of scared expressions being a character’s default. However, collect enough of these little guys for customizing and I suppose that won’t be a problem.
A from behind shot of the Kreons looking at Zape’s butt.
The mystery figure in the set is
the evil monkey that lives in Chris’s closet Robopeel. You’re going to want to have him do this to somebody.
Zape looks good. You can tell he’s hollow when you hold him and as you can see, his arms are hollowed out. I think the most disappointing thing is that the arms themselves have no joints or articulation. They connect to the body on ball joints so you can widen his arms for minimal posing but I wish he had wrist articulation. He can hold a CityVille Kreon in his right hand and his left hand holds onto the skyscraper handles. You can also stick a CityVille Kreon into his mouth. You’ll notice some poor painting around his face and teeth.
For the vehicles, I’ll start with Dr. Mayhem’s plane. There’s a hypno-wheel on the front. On the box art, you’ll see that he’s not attempting to brainwash Zape, he’s targeting… a banana. The hypno-ring can bend forward and back along with his targeting circle. The wings can be moved up and down.
Next is the jeep-like vehicle. The back is empty so you can fit Zape in there. I think there should’ve been a top because with his size I feel like he could easily jump out.
For the last vehicle, we have a police helicopter. The propeller doesn’t spin that well if you spin it by hand because of the little “hairs” used for the circular motion brick which you’ll see later. You can tie a string to some pieces and attach it to the back of the chopper. The other end can stick onto Zape’s back as shown on the box art and here.
Now we get to the 20×24 base plate and the stuff on top.
Here’s where the sonic motion brick goes, made to look like a helipad. There’s also a searchlight on the opposite end.
By pressing the red lever down, it can lift the string and trip Zape or any moving Kreon. There’s also a little fire hydrant to the left.
Finally we get to the skyscraper and it looks pretty good. Scaled fine for the CityVille Kreons and there’s even a c-clip to hold a banana at the top. You’ll notice I didn’t put the stickers on the larger windows. Part of the reason is my not wanting to mess them up. The other part is that I think the windows look fine as they are.
Shot of the skyscraper’s back, lacking any covering like many building toy buildings.
At the top is a safe where you can store your $1000 bill, golden banana, and random translucent turquoise crystal. There’s really nowhere for the Kreons to stand so I don’t know how anyone can access the safe’s contents.
Next floor has a red lever. Push it down and it knocks out the front window piece. There’s space for Kreons to stand in there and while the lever’s part of the play, this room’s really nothing. I can’t think of anything this room resembles or why a Kreon would be here.
Next floor we have what looks like an office with an intercom? Phone? In the back there’s a water cooler.
Bottom floor has a desk no one can stand behind with a lamp and… the same intercom? phone? piece. The glass doors open up as you can see. Unfortunately, you can’t put someone behind the desk. You can move it forward one row but it’ll take up more room as it gets closer to the doors.
Now, let’s talk about the electronics. The sonic motion brick needs three AAA batteries which are not included. Below is a shot of the buttons. Red turns it on or if held for three seconds turns it off. The next button mutes the sounds. The next increases the sonic motion intensity while the last button decreases it. It will turn itself off if left on for a few minutes with no button-pushing. There’s actually quite a variety of sound effects like crashes, hypno-thing/ray gun sounds, growls and roars from Zape, humans screaming, chopper noises, Dr. Mayhem laughing, sirens, a… duck quacking? Finally, a guy says “Kre-O!” when it turns off. One issue is that depending on the setting of the sonic motion brick, the sound of the vibrations on a hard surface can drown out the sound effects and in general is too loud. And sometimes you do need the setting to be pretty high in order for certain parts to work/move.
On the bottom of the base plate you’ll see these half plastic/half rubber studs. They keep your plate centered on a flat surface because the vibrations would normally move the plate as well. You get two extra studs because if they break, you’re going to have a bad time. Careful about what you place the rubber side on. It’ll stain/turn your area/things greasy.
At certain settings, the helicopter’s propeller will spin if it’s on the helipad or anywhere on the base plate. The searchlight gently and gradually rotates left and right.
You get four of these motion bricks and a circular one for the helicopter. On the motion brick, make sure the circular stud is in the center and not on one of the holes. The stud is where your Kreon goes and if it’s not on the center, the brick won’t be balanced and the Kreon will fall over while the sonic motion brick is on.
Take the black covering off the bottom. Under the motion brick are these little red/yellow hairs. Don’t touch them or expose them to anything but the base plate as that might ruin them. Make sure to cover them back up when you’re done playing to keep them clean.
Place the brick hairs down on the base plate. With the right settings the Kreons will start to move around randomly at different speeds. I do wish there were more boundaries. Pretty much the whole left side of the base plate is empty so Kreons end up walking off to their doom. It’s an easy fix if you have pieces lying around but I feel the set should’ve included a few more boundaries. It can’t be helped but the Kreons will sometimes fall over or get stuck in place. I don’t know how to fix this but it works more often than not.
The big question I had was if the motion bricks work with regular Kreons. I’m happy to say that they do. Take off the center stud and place a regular Kreon onto the middle holes. Of course it may not work with posed Kreons depending on where most of the weight is and the setting of the sonic motion brick. Your mileage may vary with heavier Kreons using big back accessories as well. However, those are acceptable losses to see the Transformers moving around. Optimus moves fine for the most part but Megatron will usually tumble left due to his fusion cannon. This will work with Lego and some Mega Bloks figures depending on figure style. The lighter the figure is, the better it’ll work.
There are some other minor problems with the set. The brown stick Amy Apekeeper comes with is supposed to attach to the c-clip to the backpack on her left but because it’s too thick near the ends the c-clip has stress marks.
While I like the skyscraper as a display piece from the front. The back and insides aren’t very impressive. As I said, the top two rooms barely qualify as rooms. Kreons can’t access the safe and I don’t know what the area under it is supposed to be. The bottom two floors look fine for their size but I wish there was more room.
Some of the face and chest printing could’ve been better but they’re passable. Zape has a lot of marks from when they cut his mold off the plastic. The one on his left hand is the only one that really stands out and as mentioned earlier he has signs of poor painting. Normally, I don’t like hollow parts. I’ll defend this one because he’s meant to hang onto the skyscraper. If he’s too heavy it might shift the weight of the plate to that corner and mess up the motion bricks.
And once again, another personal issue with most building toy sets. It only comes with one display brick. It’s worse here because there’s six Kreons plus Zape. That’s a lot of figures. Due to their small size, I can fit one Kreon on each end of the display brick facing forward and while that’s slightly better than one Transformer per brick, we could really use some more.
I don’t regret picking this up blind. I had a good time with it minus the stickers and potential stress marks. I like the sonic motion technology a lot and wish it had a bigger base plate so the Kreons could have more room to run around. I can understand the limitations in that the vibrations are probably only good for a plate this size and even then the Kreons may trip or won’t feel the vibes. However, if they expand on this gimmick I’d like to see where it goes. I would like if there was a way to set a path for a Kreon so they move in certain directions but without using tons of pieces to do so. No other building toy to my knowledge has something like this so it’s nice to see innovation. It’s even more impressive that smaller CityVille sets also come with electronics yet the price per piece count is also very fair. At $40 it’s not a bad purchase with 431 pieces along with Zape, three vehicles, the skyscraper, and the sonic motion brick. If you can get it on sale, go for it but I’m not sure I’d recommend it for full price with the flaws. I don’t know how big the CityVille online game is but it’s a little sad to see all these sets shelfwarming. I think it’d be a bigger hit with kids if there were demos or if CityVille had a cartoon. To my surprise, this year’s Toyfair previewed new CityVille sets coming out so I suppose they sold well enough for Hasbro to make more.
Finally, for all the people who complained Kre-O didn’t make enough non-vehicle sets for Transformers, here you go. Granted, it requires buying a non-Transformers set but I think it’s worth it. Perhaps I’ll do a more complicated set up some day on my Tumblr.