I owned a lot of Bionicles as a kid. While I fell off after the Toa Nuva stuff, the movie tie-in Bionicle: Mask of Light was tiny Harvey’s DVD go-to, and I have its corny “Unity, Duty, Destiny!” chant imprinted into my brain. Those neurons have been reactivated by the demo trailer for Team Kanohi’s Bionicle: Masks of Power, which dropped on its Youtube channel yesterday.
Typically when you hear the words “fan made” and “Unreal Engine” next to each other, you imagine oversaturated, high-bloom Mario tech demos with ray tracing and zero actual appeal. This trailer, shock of shocks, freaking rips.
Firstly, the music. It’s a Bionicle-themed song titled As Above, So Below that debuted with the trailer itself. The song’s a meeting of the minds between Bionicle meme god-slash-musician Essenger and Cyroshell, a Danish rock band who as far as I can tell haven’t released a single in two years. They’re back in the game for a Bionicle fan song, though. It lends the trailer the exact kind of 2000s-era AMV vibes it needs, and I’m kind of in love with it.
Then there’s the action itself, which kicks in after the one minute mark. It all looks really solid—granted, there’s some performance issues, but considering this is all fan made I’m willing to cut Team Kanohi some slack. There’s DMC-style flips, fancy evasion tech, air-juggling, and distinct movesets between the two Toa shown here, Onua and Lewa.
The game has more info available on its official website. The full release—which will be available for free, considering it’s subject to the LEGO group’s fan content policies—plans to let you play as all six Toa on an island-spanning quest to collect the masks of power. We actually see Lewa the mask of speed up, using it to wavedash across a lake.
If you’re curious to see more, Team Kanohi also released an extended chunk of gameplay a year ago, though it’s clear the project’s come a long way since then. It’s all exciting enough that I’m furious that the thing’s not out yet. The Bionicle: Masks of Power demo is slated for release “early next year”.