MGA released a new line of dolls this month: Novi Stars. I can't help but think MGA are still trying to edge in on the Monster High corner of the doll market, after Bratzillaz kind of failed to take off. I am 100% ok with MGA trying to come up with new, quirky dollies - and I loved the idea of an alien range. I mean, look! They're awesome!
So, I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on one! I hadn't seen any in shops at all, and it was only today Argos finally had one in stock. In Argos, you don't get to pick which one you buy - and this is who I got: Mae Tallick.
I hate, hate having to say this - but I'm kind of disappointed. The design is cute (her pet - "8 bit" - is especially adorable) and I still very much like her in theory, but I'm just a bit disappointed in the actual quality of the doll. I know it's not helpful to compare Novi Stars to Monster High, but I can't help it - for £15, I can get a basic MH who is of a far higher quality standard than this basic NS, who was £20. That's quite a bit of money, and I did kind of expect a doll that would at least stay in one piece. (Which she doesn't.) I know you're probably paying extra for the electronics in two of the Novi Stars, but... well, I just didn't feel like it was good value.
The big disappointment is the hair. As you can see, it's pretty messy. It was messy in box, got messier whilst being removed from the gazillion ties of the box, and I couldn't seem to tame it once it was out the box. It's such a pretty colour, but it just won't behave.
As you can see, the hair is actually a wig - which is cool, in theory, because you can swap them from doll to doll. In practice, though, the wig doesn't fit on the head, and won't stay on. (I actually prefer Mae without her wig. Or her clothes! It seems weird just to have her topless, even if she is a robot-alien. I really rather like her as just a nude, robot alien.) The only bits that are supposed to hold the wig in place are the two Hellboy-esque stubs on the side of her head, and they just don't work. The wig isn't elastic at all, and just slips right off. Again, I hate to compare it to the MH Create-A-Monster sets - but even their wigs work far better (and I'm not a massive fan of them, either.) I think this one is probably the most problematic wig for being messy - but even the others might not stay on, if this wig system is anything to go by.
The stand is another complete disaster, as far as I'm concerned. I can't get her feet to get in the slots at all. I've tried it every which way and all of them with Mae flat on her face. Not a great success as a stand, then...
Her left arm keeps falling out, rather annoyingly, and even though her legs are strung, there's not a lot of mobility. She can't seem to face her feet forward, which makes the rollar skates look a bit daft. The skates themselves are part of her leg, and the wheels aren't separate and don't spin. I believe Una Verse has no leg joints at all, to accommodate her glitter and water insides. (Which do look very fun.) She has no elbow joints and very limited mobility at the shoulder.
But - there are things I do like! She can stand on her own, with a little patience, which is fun. (I'm a doll balancing sensei.) Without her wig or clothes, I really quite like her. She can tilt her head in all sorts of adorable directions, and I love that her face is actually, properly alien.
I really love her eyes, though I'm not really sure why there are skulls in them. The eyelashes are a fun touch, and overall, I think her face is just pretty cute. Not sold on the 'talking' feature, but I suppose it's a fun enough gimmick and younger kids might enjoy it. This new trope of aliens/robots having auto-tuned voices does kind of amuse me, and I blame Adventure Time entirely.
My conclusion: close, but no cigar, MGA. I don't think I'll buy another. Mae is cute, though, and I have this vision of kitting her out in a little woolly hat and jumper, and having a cuddly, bald robot-alien. ♥ Whatever she thought Earth would be like, she didn't come prepared for Scotland, that's for sure.