Game Rant takes an in-depth look at the products on offer in the March edition of the popular Loot Crate subscription system and if the classic option still appeals to gamers.
Loot Crate has become a brand synonymous with geek culture. Ever since the subscription service’s launch in 2012, the company has seen a steady rise in prominence while Loot Crate has expanded into offering more than just a standard catch-all crate for more niche audiences. To name but a few, there are the Loot Anime and Loot Gaming sub-categories that seek to offer people with more specific interests within geek culture a better deal for their money. The system, based largely upon assembling boxes that appeal to broad themes like ‘dead’ and ‘combat’, has worked well so far, and Loot Crate has spawned a number of imitators and competitors in recent years due to its overwhelming financial success.
With more and more niche markets being cornered by Loot Crate, however, one has to wonder what collectibles are left for the classic subscription option that started it all. To that end, Game Rant was recently sent the March 2016 Loot Crate offering for review (complete with Level Up upgrade), while also being sent the earlier January 2016 Loot Anime collection of items to help compare how the products differ. Has the classic Loot Crate option fallen by the wayside in the wake of more specific options? Are categories like anime and gaming so broad that the distinction between the original Loot Crate Brand and the anime and gaming spin-offs is large enough to justify their existence?
The answer, of course, is in the details, and Loot Crate provides enough items per crate that those details are rather extensive. The March 2016 Loot Crate’s theme is ‘versus’, likely because prominent geek films revolving around conflict are such an important part of March and April with the releases of Batman vs. Superman and Captain America: Civil War respectively. At the very least, that’s the immediate association this reviewer’s mind made upon learning of the March theme – and, to its credit, Loot Crate dealt with the expectations it certainly meant to create fairly well.
First, Loot Crate provided a Spock vs. Evil Spock t-shirt that, to be quite honest, will definitely garner its fair share of criticism. While the concept is nice and fits in with the broader theme of the crate, the shirt itself is an ugly off-beige color that would be more at home on the walls of a dining room in the 1980s. That’s a shame, too, because the shirt fits incredibly well and the art itself is the kind of eye-catching stuff that geek culture loves to embrace.
Next on the docket was a Loot Crate exclusive Harley Quinn comic based on the fan favorite female from the Batman series. The comic is a one-shot based on Quinn discovering a magic lamp that grants her wishes, with the premise giving the comic’s creators the opportunity to explore some of the desires that wouldn’t usually crop up in a Batman serial. This inclusion was very cool, and added to the feel that the “versus” Loot Crate was a worthwhile investment for collectors.
The crate also featured a Batman vs. Superman Mighty Wallet, also exclusive to the Loot Crate offering. For those unfamiliar with the Mighty Wallet brand, the company offers thin, easy to store wallets that are much tougher and durable than their flimsy appearance would otherwise indicate. The Batman vs. Superman one specifically looked extremely cool, and would surely make a good conversation starter for geeks meeting up for the first time at a convention or video game store.
Those looking for a bit more science fiction would be happy to find out that this month’s Loot Crate offering also featured two different Alien vs. Predator themed items. One was a collectible figurine that was either an Alien or a Predator exclusive to Loot Crate, and this reviewer was lucky enough to open up a glow-in-the-dark Alien. Complimenting that addition was a Loot Pin that featured Saturday morning cartoon style illustrations of both an Alien and Predator face. Both of these items felt like the kinds of things that collectors would love to have.
Loot Crate also included an advertisement for its Word Gush party game, available for free on mobile devices now. The game has players pick a specific category and then place their phone on their forehead with the screen facing the other players, who must then provide clues to the word with the initial participant left guessing as to what the word is. It’s a fun little mobile game that is great for social gatherings but has no applications outside of them, making it a very narrow title. Nevertheless, the game is free and offers Loot Crate subscribers the chance at free additional content, so it’s hard to ask for more from a free offering.
Finally, the basic March 2016 Loot Crate package also offered a Daredevil beanie that is fully reversible, becoming a Punisher beanie for when fans are feeling a little more like a jaded, ex-military outsider than a blind vigilante. This was definitely the coolest addition to the basic package, and the beanie is both extremely comfortable and looks great in public.
While this content alone more than justifies the $20 a month price-tag a subscription without any long-term discounts would charge, the level up option, which costs an extra $20, really makes sure to provide extra value for fans looking to get a little more mileage out of their monthly geek swag at the cost of a little more cash. This month’s offering featured a Civil War long-sleeve tee that was incredibly comfortable to wear and both looked and felt well made. The shirt also has an ambigram on it that reads either “Captain America” or “Iron Man” on it depending on which way the shirt is being read from. It’s the kind of design that obviously took a while to perfect, and it paid off.
The other addition this level up package offered was two pairs of socks. While getting socks as a gift is always a hit or miss proposition, the Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Super Mario Bros. themed socks make an exciting splash of color and fandom to any geeks wardrobe, and were both durable and comfortable as well.
Not to be forgotten in all the excitement, however, was the other crate – the Loot Anime January 2016 subscription box. For those interested in anime or otaku culture, these kinds of items can often be critical in getting collector’s items, as import fees from Japan and a general scarcity of anime collectibles in the west can often make it difficult to find new items. While we won’t go into too much detail about these items, the Loot Anime box was another high-quality package for a niche audience that already appreciates any efforts made to help them show off their particular fandoms.
While putting a dollar value on these crates can often be hard because a lot of the items are Loot Crate exclusives and don’t have comparison points, it is easy to get a more general sense about how good each monthly subscription is. Both the March 2016 and Loot Anime January 2016 boxes felt like immense value for a low cost, and a convenient way to expand geek collections without feeling like one has spent too much money in doing so. For gamers specifically, it might be better to wait and purchase subscriptions the upcoming Loot Gaming boxes depending on your wants. Gamers who are only familiar with video game culture would be sorely disappointed by the March 2016 Loot Crate, as the only game-themed items were in the upgraded swag and thus wouldn’t be available to regular subscribers.
Still, though, the overlap between gamers and other geek sub-cultures is often quite large, and for those who are generally affectionate towards geek culture as a whole, the Loot Crate subscription system is nearly a must-have. The March 2016 box in particular seems like a massive success, as it sticks successfully to the thematic concerns it has laid out for itself while offering items that deal with such popular franchises that it is sure to please a great number of subscribers. This service definitely deserves a chance with any gamer, although those who subscribe have to keep in mind that there will be some misses among the many hits when it comes to the actual content in each box. After the success of the Fallout 4 Loot Crate, though, it seems it will only be a matter of time before Loot Crate entices the gaming community the same way it has already drawn in other aspects of geek culture.
Game Rant was provided the Loot Crate March 2016, Loot Crate March 2016 Level Up Socks + Wearable Bundle, and Loot Anime January 2016 boxes for this review.
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