Rise of the Beasts
Because Beast Wars is Classic Now Last Updated: 12/31/23
with Awakening Optimus Primal

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Rise of the Beasts (2023)
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    A sequel to the 2018 Bumblebee movie, part of the soft reboot of the live action franchise. As with other recent movie toy lines, there's a split between Studio Series and more gimmick-focused toys, which in this case are called Beast Alliance. The Studio Series toys will stay with the rest of their line. Note, some of the Nitro line from Bumblebee is getting re-released in new packaging for the "Autobots Unite" subline, but I will not be reviewing those, although I did end up finding them all at Ross for cheap. (Technically two new decos, an Ironhide redecoed as Battletrap and Blitzwing as Starscream.)

    Bolded names got Strongly Recommended, while italic indicates a rating of neutral or worse.


    Battle Masters, but they turn into beasts rather than robots. $6-7 price point. Not all of the ideas work, but the class shows promise.

  • Wave 1: Rhinox (minigun), Cheetor (sword or claw thing), and Skullcruncher (cannon).
  • Wave 2: Optimus Primal (cannon) plus reships.
  • Wave 3: Airazor (crossbow, gun-shield) plus reships.


    Similar to Core Class, but with simpler transformations and maybe a bit taller. $10-11 price point, and they feel a bit overpriced, lacking elbows (and often knees) and generally feeling kinda cheap.

  • Wave 1: Rhinox (rhino), Optimus Prime (8-wheel truck), Bumblebee (Off-road Camaro).
  • Wave 2: Autobot Mirage (Porsche), Scourge (evil truck). The wave seemed to actually come out in two chunks, first just Mirage, then just Scourge, packed in with wave 1.
    • Autobot Mirage: Altmode is not licensed, so it's about as close to a Porsche as most of the recent Jazz toys. Reasonably well-painted altmode, only one glaring bit of plastic color mismatch on the rear fenders. Transformation is pretty good once you get the hang of it (order of operation really matters), and the robot mode has a lot of stuff hidden behind its back but at least has seven points of articulation. Sort of. The knees are a bit wonky and really just transformation joints. The weapon gimmick is that the left forearm flips around to become a cannon with a 5mm socket barrel. The face doesn't look much like the movie model, but the card art includes a battle mask that really didn't get used in the movie either (if it did, it was during a chaotic battle scene and I missed it). Not too bad for a $10-11 toy, and it's not like we're getting a lot of Mirage toys despite him being the main human-interaction character this time. Note, they painted over the boundary between front and rear windows, but the paint is easily scraped off with a pen knife, which improves the looks noticeably.
    • Scourge: Generally about as bad as I've come to expect from this class, but not without some good points. I like it better than Beast Combiner Scourge, I'd almost say it's worth picking up on its own merits rather than just being "not bad for a Beast Alliance toy."
      • Cons - Very lacking in paint, especially on the head. Truck mode very obviously has the robot arms just sticking out behind the cab. Even less articulation than most, with just shoulders, waist, hips, and a hinge for the blade on the right arm. Trying to rotate the forearm to see if there's a joint there is likely to pop the entire shoulder root off. And since the left claw looks like it's backwards, that's a thing you might be tempted to try.
      • Pros - Very solid vehicle mode. Some clever transformation bits that keep the vehicle mode locked together (although this does mean my usual "what instructions?" attitude almost broke something...hint, rotate the smokestacks to point forwards first). All six wheels are real and black. While it's not painted, there's a molded Terrorcon symbol on the grille which ends up on the robot chest. Lots of molded chains.


    A new (and more expensive) take on the One-Step concept, with plastic springs that flex to snap it into one more or the other. Aesthetics are...not good. These might not be Beast Alliance, they lack the branding, but I'll leave them here for now. And you should leave them on the shelf, they are bad. $15-18 price point.

  • Wave 1: Nightbird (sportscar), Bumblebee (Camaro), Cheetor (cheetah). All very bad, but Cheetor might be bad enough to be worth getting (on clearance).


    Basically an improved Battle Changer (these have elbows) paired with a Beast Battle Master. $17 price point. Decent class.

  • Wave 1: Optimus Primal (gorilla) with Arrowstripe (tiger to bow), Optimus Prime (semitractor cab) with Chainclaw (wolf to chainsaw).
  • Wave 2: Wheeljack (VW microbus) with Rhinox (redeco of singlepack). Includes review of Target exclusive Predacon Scorponok with Sandspear (scorpion and scorpion).
  • Wave 3: Arcee (motorcycle) with Cheetor (redeco of singlepack). Like the previous waves, this is pretty good for a $15 toy (and I got it for 25% off on sale), worth getting if you see it. I'm very behind on reviews, though, and I'm just going to Capsule it:
    • The Cheetor is underpainted, as with the other partner versions, with only the eyes, nose, and the spots on the sides of the head. No other paint or printing. The yellow plastic is about the same, the gray is a lighter shade to match Arcee.
    • Unlike the Beast Combiner Arcee, the vehicle mode is okay although the hands just sort of stick out the back. Transformation hides a LOT of stuff behind her back, and the windshield pops off very easily during the process. Decently proportioned and painted, and she can dual-wield Cheetors on her forearms as plausible claw weapons.


    Very similar to Cyberverse's Battle Class and Elite Class, these have one beast turning into armor for the robot mode of another figure. Not an inherently bad idea, I just don't think they're gonna get the budget to turn the ideas into GOOD toys.

  • Wave 1: Bumblebee (Camaro) with Snarlsaber (panther), Arcee (bad motorcycle) with Silverfang (wolf), Optimus Primal (gorilla) with Skullcruncher (croc).
  • Wave 2: Scourge (evil truck) with Predacon Scoponok (scorpion).
    • Keeping in mind that the Beast Combiners designs are low on articulation, high on hollowness, gaps, and questionable altmodes, this set is okay. Scorponok does not form armor as smoothly as they seem to have hoped and it's a bit of a struggle to get it back into scorpion mode. The truck mode for Scourge has bit obvious robot arms on the back end and large gaps in the grille where the upper legs swing out. The robot mode does at least have a little articulation (ball joint and hinge shoulders, ball left wrist, ball hips, hinge knees). While it's a weak field for competition, this is near the top of the four out so far.
  • Wave 3: Optimus Prime (semitractor) with Lionblade (lion).
    • The Optimus is not too bad, decent articulation and transformation, kinda gappy vehicle mode. Lionblade is Lioconvoy (aka Leo Prime) to a reasonable approximation, and uses the same transformation as Snarlsaber and Silverfang. The armored head and chest evoke the design of Lioconvoy's robot mode, while the tail weapon is an axe that can barely be moved around because the shoulderpad armor blocks most arm motion. Mostly amusing for the "Optimus Prime wearing Lioconvoy's pelt" aspect and not otherwise better than (or mechanically much different from) Bumblebee with Snarlsaber. Suffers from the same top-heavy combined modes of the rest of the class, with feet a little on the small side.


    In theory, slamming these down on a table will make them automatically transform. Expensive and the mechanism doesn't always work, I don't suggest getting these.

  • Wave 1: Repackaged Optimus Prime (meh), Optimus Primal (gorilla).
    • Optimus Primal - The good news is that the gimmick actually works on this one, and works reliably. At worst you need to press down on the feet again to finish the transformation, but a firm press rather than a tap generally gets it to go all the way. The expected news is that it's an utter brick, the neck turns and the arms can lift a little to the sides in robot mode, no articulation at all in gorilla mode. And the gorilla mode pose is a little awkward, with the hind legs being proportionally too long. The fists can hold 5mm pegs in the same way Rescue Bots can, since the arms can't lift up to point a gun. The robot mode looks disturbing from behind due to the gorilla head seeming to bud out of the back. Worth $34? Ehhh, I'm not entirely sure this will long survive play by the kind of little kid who'd be enthralled by the gimmick, but at least it does work.
  • Wave 2: Rhinox. Skipped it.
  • Scourge: Target exclusive. Saw it, skipped it.


    Sitting between Studio Series and the "Beast Alliance" figures above are Deluxes at the level of Earthrise or Cyberverse Deluxes. These are explicitly not Beast Alliance.

  • Wave 1: Airazor (hawk), Bumblebee (offroad Camaro), Cheetor (cheetah).
  • Wave 2: Autobot Mirage (Porsche), Nightbird (sportscar), Wheeljack (VW Microbus).
  • Buzzworthy Jungle Mission 3-Pack: Cheetor, Nightbird, and Wheeljack, apparently identical or nearly identical to the single-pack versions.
  • Buzzworthy Jungle Mission 3-Pack: Airazor, Bumblebee, and Autobot Mirage. So, basically the other three Deluxes as another three-pack. Assuming the same deal as the first pack (no significant differences with single-packs) I'll probably pick this up too. Especially if it's also $55.


    Decent quality, comparable to Studio Series Voyagers. As disappointing as some of the Beast Alliance toys may be, they seem to have gotten the Voyagers right.


    Almost stuck this in the Japanese review section, but as the only Japanese-origin figure I'm likely to review, I decided to put it here. This is bigger than Leader, but as more of a good Deluxe level of complexity. Available on Hasbro Pulse for $60, a very good deal.


    These have a gimmick that lets a beast head other bits that pop out in robot mode, plus light and sound stuff.

  • Wave 1: Optimus Prime (truck and lion beast head on the chest), Bumblebee (offroad Camaro with eagle head chest and wings). Both are bad, but Bumblebee is by far worse than Prime. My BB was defective (sound and light gimmick broken), which gave me an excuse to return it and not get a replacement.


    Oh, clever and fiendish...I have no interest in masks and not much in roleplay blasters anymore, but these transform into robots! Also lumped in with them are the Titan Changers.