I'm largely unfamiliar with Gormiti beyond the toys released in the USA - there were more stories and tons more toys released in Italy, but here in the US it was a pretty short line that got capped out at two series with a couple of environments, one of which was the Playmates Gormiti Murena Den Playset with Hammer the Predator Figure. The amazing thing about this set is that it's been at Toys R Us for a while and seems to escape clearance purges, the 2- and 4-packs were marked down, the volcano playset got marked down, but the Murena Den? Many stores still have it, and it's still $15.99, and I'd argue it's a little overpriced for the 2008 toy market, but were this a new toy released today $15.99 seems about right. It's a bizarre sort of twisted logic, were this toy new today it's a great deal, but since it hasn't been marked down after five years it's sort of overpriced.
The playset is the main reason to buy the set, as the figure is basically half of a $5-$6 2-pack. While the other playset released here had numerous moving parts, reviews on Amazon were pretty abysmal. The Murena Den had no reviews on Amazon, but I can tell you it's a much sturdier and better-made toy that does a heck of a lot less. The thick plastic feels like it could take a beating, with rubbery "sharp" teeth and gums plus a pink coral trap off to the side. Mine had a fine, light whitish powder collect over the rubbery blue parts when I opened it in April of 2013... after I kept it around for about three years in the box. It cleaned right off with water using my shower head.
There's very little paint here, very pale blue on the skin and a little blue on the eye are the only deco on this toy, making it feel a little more like an older 1980s or 1990s plaything. (This is a plus.) The interior of the mouth has a huge, knobby tongue which acts as a switch to close the mouth. Just open the mouth until it clicks, and then push down on the tongue to "eat" smaller Gormiti or other figures. I think it might work well with the upcoming Mordles for the Rocks and Bugs and Things relaunch as well, as smaller figures like Fighter Pods fit right into its toothy mouth. I really wish a button off to the side controlled the jaw, but it's not like I can change anything now.
At about 5-inches long by 2 1/2-inches tall, it's not very big. A pink growth on the side gives it the illusion of being larger, these coral-like tentacles are rubbery and can grip a small figure, holding on fairly tightly. It's actually pretty surprising, I figured it'd just drop the figure but it seems to hold tightly enough to not be worthless. I'd suggest mostly getting this for its own merits, as it's kind of goofy and fun, but the normal Gormiti figures seem a little big for it.
The Murena Den comes with a Hammer the Predator figure, which is a pastiche of sea life that vaguely resembles a hammerhead shark. There's a shell on its chest, webbed Creature from the Black Lagoon fingers, a light blue Speedo, and a shoulder on his shell. There's no articulation, and two colors of paint help to decorate the figure.
It's a good set, but not fantastic. At $15.99 it's not bad, and if it were a limited designer toy you'd say "Oh, cool!" If it were from the 1980s, you'd probably like it. As it is, it's a toy that's too old to be retro cool, too expensive to be an undiscovered cheap gem, and too small to impress most people. If you're obsessed with small toys that eat smaller toys, I would suggest grabbing one of these if the price is right. Just don't expect too much from it.
Oh, and in other markets, this came with a different figure. If you love collecting international toys, Gormiti has a lot going on in Europe for you to keep tabs on. You can let me know what you find out and where to buy it if you do.
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