With the release of new Star Wars: The Last Jedi action figures, Hasbro found a way to add more play value to its basic 3 3/4-inch toy line. Enter the Force Link, which many who remember the release of The Phantom Menace toys in 1999 may find a bit familiar. While similar, it's significantly enhanced because there are no external chips to lose.
Basically, Force Link is a gauntlet that you can wear that activates sound clips in The Last Jedi action figures, vehicles and playsets. It's, essentially two pieces, a gauntlet that goes on your forearm and a connected piece that looks a bit like the front of a tie fighter that covers the back of your hand.
Hasbro has eliminated any doubt about whether or not the Force Link gauntlet will work with a figure or vehicle by labeling every single interactive toy with "Force Link" and a logo that has a hand with what looks like the cockpit of a tie fighter on it. And, to make sure you can identify which loose figures will work, Hasbro added a Force Link logo to the bottom left foot of enabled figures.
The starter set comes with a helmeted 3 3/4-inch Kylo Ren, as well as his lightsaber and a removable cloak. As a general rule, Hasbro's helmeted 3 3/4-inch figures tend to look good, and Kylo Ren is no exception. That said, with other than the sound chip, he's not very different than the Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens line.
For a simple concept, it's very challenging to use. After installing 3 AAA batteries, not included, the easiest way to activate the gauntlet is to bring it near a figure or vehicle to activate a sound clip. You can then try different combinations of tapping the gauntlet, punching your arm or smacking your hand against the table in frustration for additional phrases and battle sounds. A lot of trial and error is needed to get Force Link to work, and it is a serious struggle.
While The Force Link Starter Set seems like a fun addition to traditional 3 3/4-inch plays, a frustrating method of activating different sounds pulls you out of the fun of playing with the toys. Rather than concentrating on imaginative play or recreating the movie, you end up focused on tapping and swinging your arm. It sucks the joy out of playing with new Star Wars figures.
This toy is age graded for 4 years and up, and it feels like it's intended for kids under 10, who will likely love hearing phrases in each character's voice, as well as sound effects. Of course, these kids will likely become very frustrated if they can only activate one or two sounds haphazardly, rather than getting Force Link to work with consistency.Completest collectors will want to pick it up, but unless they want to hear Luke say "Use the Force" in Mark Hamill's they can keep this product packaged.
Beyond the difficulty of getting the Force Link to activate sounds, it's important to note that it does not work with every Star Wars: The Last Jedi toy. First, it only works with Hasbro products, and only those featuring a Force Link logo.
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