There are few TV toy tie-ins more obvious than miniaturized, remote-controlled, battling robots modeled after the full-sized, remote-controlled, battling robots that fight it out on BattleBots. Luckily, toymaker Hexbug realized this and came through with the BattleBots Arena Pro, a toy set that includes two remote-controlled, customizable robots and an arena to stage battles between them.
Let’s start with the arena. It’s made of cardboard and folds out to a square approximately two feet on each side. Plastic corner and side walls snap into pre-cut holes. Kids can play with the robots outside of the arena, but the walls will keep any pieces that go flying off in battle from going too far. And if they can force their opponent’s bot into one of the corners closest to them, there are push button hammers that can inflict extra damage.
Once they’ve set up the arena they can go about assembling the bots, which are fairly small and fit easily in the palm of your hand. On the show, the robots are products of hours of design and construction by small teams of dedicated competitors. The toy version isn’t quite that intricate, but it does give kids opportunities to customize their own bots, thinking strategically about which combinations give them the best chance of winning.
Kids can choose either high torque and high speed wheels for their bot. High torque wheels have better steering and more power. High speed wheels make it easier for bots to zip around the arena evading their opponent. Each chassis can handle one primary, powered weapon: a hammer, spinning disc, drum or flipper. There’s also a spot in the rear for a passive weapon, either an axe, triangle wedge, wedge, shovel, plow, and pitchfork. Magnetic armor pieces snap on the side to protect the wheels on each robot.
Once the arena and robots are ready, kids can battle, controlling the bots with small remote controllers. Each includes five buttons, four directional and one that activates the primary weapon. They have a two-meter range and can be set to different channels so they don’t interfere with one another. During battle, effective strikes can rip off opponents’ components, but everything snaps nicely back when you’re ready for a rematch.
Each remote uses 2 LR44 watch batteries, and each bot uses 3 AAAs. Enough batteries for both remotes and bots are included in the package, so kids can battle right out of the box.
The HEXBUG BattleBots Arena Pro is available for $100. It’s a solid toy for kids who love remote-controlled cars and building with their hands, particularly if they have some pent-up energy that can be channeled into the chaos of the robot fighting arena.