Toy Review: Ghostbusters Neutrona Wand and Star Wars Darth Revan Lightsaber

We may mostly be stuck inside this holiday season, but Hasbro seems determined to make fans feel like heroes. Two high-end role-play accessories just recently hit retail in time to be purchased for that special someone, and if they’ve ever wanted to be a Jedi, Sith, or Ghostbuster, it’s hard to go wrong here. Though it must be said that these are not cheap. The Star Wars Darth Revan lightsaber runs $224.99, while Egon Spengler’s Neutrona Wand cost around $99.99 (Hasbro sent free samples for us to review). The pricing likely reflects property demand more than function, although the cost of materials here may make a difference too. Because the Ghostbusters deal seems much better…but it’s still no lightsaber.

Darth Revan, a character who never appears in any Star Wars movie, may seem like an unusual character to make a high-end replica for, but there are reasons. The lead character in Knights of the Old Republic, Revan has technically been “portrayed” by many gamers who identify with a character they’ve “been” in a game story. Adding to the identification, Revan can not just be played as bad or good, but with an adjustable gender. While official canon may describe Revan as male, in the game they are technically nonbinary, subject to the player’s customization. The character remains sufficiently popular that the few action figures made of them seem quite difficult to find at reasonable prices.

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So the Darth Revan Force FX lightsaber can actually change color from Jedi purple to Sith red. Charge up the included Kyber crystal — which is not the same style as those at Galaxy’s Edge — in the hilt, and remove it as purple only to see it “bleed” into red. In both Jedi and Sith modes, holding down an action button can make the tip flash in rainbow colors, or “deflect” white blasts. Hit it against other surfaces, and it flashes and makes noise. Ignite and “retract” it as either red or purple.

The hilt is solid metal and feels hefty in the hands, but it never quite feels like an easy grip. With its three ridges that rise to clamp the base of the blade, there’s no smooth part to easily grab. It’s cool that the clamps open up, but they maintain a ridge all the way down. In an actual fight, this saber would be harder to hold than most. Maybe that makes Revan more of a badass.

So how to display? A metal stand included holds the hilt, though it’s a looser fit on the bottom than at the top, where any of the three ridges fits into a slot. The hilt can be prepared either with the blade in, with the projector in, or with the Kyber crystal in. Because the instructions are maddeningly illegible clumps of small, vague text on black paper, it may take a while to figure out, but the blade must be pushed all the way in and twisted/locked to activate the effects. Same for the crystal.

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It feels great to wave this lightsaber around and hear the effects while the lights flash. Is it $225 worth of great? If Darth Revan, or ambiguity in general, is a favorite, yes. If this is but the latest in a larger lightsaber collection, also yes. Beyond that, a fan might want to purchase a more popular character’s lightsaber first and see how it goes from there.

For sheer electronic value, Egon Spengler’s Ghostbusters neutrona wand is more worth the money. But it is admittedly way less cool to play at being an uber nerd containing a ghost than it is to be a Jedi/Sith vanquishing enemies.

Like the Darth Revan saber, the neutrona wand comes with borderline incomprehensible instructions. Although since neither are considered “kid toys,” opening the battery compartment is super easy, with no tiny screwdriver needed. Just twist the bottom of the hilt. Which, in this case, includes an alternate bottom that looks designed to connect subsequent future items to it.

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But about those instructions. They barely convey that with the tip of the wand pushed in, it takes pulling the haphazard-looking green lever to extend it out again. (Looking it up online proved challenging but essential.)

So convincing, in fact, is the handmade style of the whole thing that it’s hard to know which buttons do what, if anything. A dial increases or decreases the amount of vibration, making this a de facto massager, with everything that implies. But a button near the pop-out tip changes the main output blast to slime, or proton stream, or various other energy colors. Four in total.

Because of the vague instructions, it’s still not clear what every single switch and button does, but they mostly seem to alter the degree of shaking and flashing. The two-handed grip seems well-defined, and the bottom of the wand has a metal clamp to slide on to the display base.

Unlike the lightsaber, this contains much more plastic. Albeit with metal switches and attached bits, as well as simulated wood and cloth. Plus “wear and tear” detail paint around the edges. It’s totally Egon.

Both toys do what they should — they look like the things they’re supposed to, and make grown adults feel like badass heroes waving them around to make noises and flashes. It all depends how much  a sensation like that is worth to the individual buyer.

Take a look in our gallery below, and perhaps the decision will come more easily.

Recommended Purchase: LEGO Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Razor Crest

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