This year, the LEGO BIONICLE line, the toy line that helped save LEGO from financial catastrophe, has been rebooted and relaunched. And it’s pretty rad.

LEGO originally introduced its BIONICLE line about 15 years ago, and it was initially a sub-part of the Technic series, due to each set’s technic elements. It’s marketed to kids between ages 5 and 16 and has been one of the best-selling series in the company’s history. In fact, it’s been credited with helping the LEGO Group overcome their late-90s financial crisis. However, a few years ago, the LEGO Hero Factory replaced the BIONICLE line, but this year it’s been rebooted and relaunched.

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There’s a whole universe created around the BIONICLE heroes and villains, which are part-machine, and part-organic sentient beings. In short “LEGO BIONICLE (2015) is an epic legend set on the mystical island of Okoto where elemental heroes fight for masks of power against a rising evil.” I’m actually really curious about the decision to use names like “Skull Basher” and “Skull Slicer,” considering that the LEGO Group vociferously enforces its policy against releasing violent-themed sets. But, personally I don’t really see a major difference between a sword, a gun, and a skull slicer.

However, the way the LEGO Group reconciles this confusing contradiction, is by claiming that these sets are about Good vs. Evil, so children aren’t encouraged to fight each other, with real-world weaponry in real-world settings, but rather “good hero warriors” are designed to combat “evil enemy fighters” in a mythical universe. Sure, let’s go with that. Here’s a rundown of 2015’s new BIONICLE warriors.

LEGO Bionicle Skull Warrior (70791)

The 7” tall “Skull Warrior” was designed for “intense action play” and is quite durable. You can repel enemies with his Freeze Bow rapid shooter, which can shoot six shots in rapid succession, and for close combat he comes with a “battle bash function.” And most importantly, you can use his hook blade to rip off the skull masks of your opponents “and channel their elemental power to awaken more of the Skull Warrior’s undead comrades!” What’s also pretty cool is that you can “create a multi-headed warrior” when you combine Skull Slicer and Skull Basher, using the instructions here (in fact, each the sets come with additional instructions to create additional warrior combinations.)

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LEGO Bionicle Skull Basher 70793

At over 7” tall, the fearsome Bull Skull warrior “Skull Basher” guards the gate to the Temple of Creation. He’s armed with two massive hook axes, and if you press the trigger on his back you can activate the “battle bash function to chop off invaders’ masks.”

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LEGO Bionicle Skull Slicer 70792

The ancient arena champion “Skull Slicer” was “animated by the dark magic of the Skull Spider Mask,” who endowed him with various combat poses and “razor-sharp hook blades,” which can be activated simultaneously by turning the wheel on his back.

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LEGO Bionicle Skull Scorpio 70794

The brooding and evil “Skull Scorpio” hangs out in the “dark burial ground of the ancient city” on a seemingly endless quest to discover the “lost masks of power.” He fights off the BIONICLE heroes using his stinger and hook blades, which are activated by a trigger on his tail. He’s an intimidated 4” tall, 10” long, and 7” wide.

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But what do the kids say?

Full disclosure: I’m a 34-year old mom of a 2-year old, and even though I absolutely love Lego, neither myself nor my little boy are the primary demographic for these sets. So, I gave them to my buddies, Grayson (9 years old) and Ronin (6 years old) and asked them what they thought.

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Were these fun to build?

BOTH: YES!!

What are your favorite parts of these sets?

RONIN: “The weapons and masks.”

GRAYSON: “The movable parts.”

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How do these compare with other Lego sets?

RONIN: “It was a little bit different because of the round (ball joint) parts that you snap together.”

GRAYSON: “All kinds of Lego are fun to build.” (Future politician.)

How often do you play with this set?

RONIN: “About 5X.”

GRAYSON: “Not as often as with my regular Lego sets but it’s still fun to play with.”

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Verdict: Kid-Approved.

Price: $14.99 each.

(Photos by Erica Smibert)

BONUS!!! If that’s not cool enough, here’s the world’s first all-LEGO BIONICLE cover band. (Sorry, did I totally bury the lede on this?)

Constructed by mastermind Arduino Uno, the Toa Mata Band is made entirely of LEGO’s Bionicle series, with Uno conducting the performance from his own MIDI sequencer. Robots covering robots – it’s almost too beautiful. - YourEDM.com

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