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Saturday, September 26, 2015

#LootCrate Review: September 2015

Loot Crate's SUMMON box arrives with a giant thud.

Review by Matt Cummings

In our August review, we discussed the continued new direction subscription box service Loot Crate was taking. Having turned in an impressive run from March, April, May, and June, and July, we began to notice a movement towards fewer items, including the disappearance of their famous shirts. And for awhile this worked...sort of. Cool figures, a hardbound book, and a rad batarang were just some of the 'upgrades' which satiated our real desire for the return of the shirt. But as I soon learned, September's box SUMMON was as disjointed (and cheap) as any I've ever received.

Remember Loot's promise: a $22 subscription should yield more in value than the cost. And while that may be the case with this one, it's not without serious shortcomings.

This is the smallest box Loot has done in recent memory, which didn't bode well for what I found inside.

Upon cracking the case, no t-shirt...but what appears to be a wearable? Definitely fewer items again, and a quick glance at the rest doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence.

As stated, there's a wearable this time, and it's a Pokemon Laplander Hat. And while nice, I don't think I'll be wearing Picachu to work. If you're going to add a wearable, do a shirt. This was their meat and potatoes, so to see a wearable that's not a shirt frankly makes no sense. Teens will like it, but for the adults who are paying for it, count this as a FAIL.

Next is a Homer Simpson Golden Buddah. It's a novel idea - with Homer holding a donut in one hand beads in the other - but it misses the point. Regardless if manufacturer Kidrobot didn't want to include a Duff can instead of the beads, The Simpsons are about as valuable these days as wilted flowers. Additionally, its cheap design makes it an instant clearance item. FAIL.

I'm sure someone will find the Exclusive Supernatural 1967 Chevy Impala die cast car to be interesting, but not me. Apparently, the license plate is different from other versions. That's not anything to write home about. And while a win in terms of quality, it's for yet another long-running and nearly meaningless franchise. FAIL again.

But those pale in comparison to perhaps the worst item of the month, a Hearthstone Foam Stress Ball. Again, I don't mind if I receive items from franchises I don't necessarily follow, but at least give me something of quality. Not here: this thing feels cheap and something I could get at a Dollar Store. I thought we were past the inclusion of cheap items, but the ball is a grim reminder. FAIL.

Loot continues the meh by packing a former BlizCon exlcusive - a Hearthstone Coin and Card Pack Code. It's odd that a former 'exclusive' that might not have sold has been re-branded for this Crate. Meanwhile, Loot loves to add 'free' game codes to stuff we've never heard of, and this month is no different. This time it's for Master Summoner for your mobile phone. I can't see the value here for either; both feel like castoffs and thus unworthy of my attention. FAIL.

The final two pieces - the VILLAINS 2 Button and the monthly magazine - are recurring winners, with issue #26 taking us deeper into this month's theme via an interview with Vehicle Coordinator Jeff Budnick (huh, there's one of these jobs around?) and some self-promotion of their podcast. Again, I'd like more interesting articles than these. The pin is nice as always but it's too little (literally) too late to save this disastrous box.

Apparently, September's Crate can be folded into a sort of diorama, but I won't be trying it. This one's going to go right to one of the trade sites or given to my students.

Sadly, September's 2015's Loot Crate is the worst since February and is perhaps the worst box I've ever received. The SUMMON theme produces little of interest or quality, seriously hurting its reputation as it tries to encourage its sub base to invest in shirts and other wearables, rather than doing what it used to do best. The real difference between previous non-t-shirt boxes was they included quality alternative items; here that element is clearly missing. I could have raided Hot Topic and for the same price received a shirt or something else more enjoyable. Sure, it's only one month, but I'm not willing to wait any longer.

And while I'm sure someone took something positive out of this box, I will be cancelling my subscription. Without a shirt, my money is better spent on the upcoming Star Wars box and my current investment in Marvel Collector Corps.

I'm done.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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