I dig it when companies make toys that both teens and adults would play with and display. Because at some level, the TMNT figure your kids are playing with are toys that you would be playing with if you were their age—and let’s be honest, if you had the free cash you’d be buying and playing with them too. So, of course, I was stoked when PDP sent me these two Pixel Pals in the mail for review, both of them being Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter!
First off, let’s get to the obvious: These are essentially night light statues that you put up on your shelf or desk or wherever you’d like. They are pure plastic with an LED light source inside that makes no noise and doesn’t really get hot (or even that warm). Both are just under five inches tall, four inches wide and one inch thick. The sides and the back are all black with the front end being made up of colored squares to make both fighters look like they’re from the 8-bit era.
I enjoy the detail that went into making sure the characters were represented will in this art style, as sometimes you see concepts of characters in 8-bit and they sometimes look a little off. Here, it’s very clear that you’re looking at Ryu with his hair hanging down over the headband and gloved fists, as well as Chun-Li with her hair buns and qipao with flair. I’m sure people will complain about the look of the faces, but for me, they’re fine. The big eyes kind of sell that Capcom art style in a way as these look like they could be fighting alongside Mega Man, and it works well for the square tiles.
The Pixel Pals are powered by two AAA batteries, there’s no fancy casing or Phillips head system to lock it down so it’s easy to replace, and a simple on/off switch at the top. When I turned them on they provided a decent amount of light for the size they were and what they were running on. I threw one in my bedroom for fun, because if I’m going to have a night light, it might as well go in the bedroom. It lit the room well enough for me to see everything and find my way out of bed in the middle of the night, but didn’t make me feel like I was surrounded in light enough to not be able to fall asleep with it on. I put the other on my desk and had it on for a solid 24 hours. During the day it looked alright, kind of like when you see an “Open” sign on a diner at Noon—you could tell it was on but it doesn’t light anything. At night, it served as a cool object to have on my desk and show off my geeky gamer side.
I like the Pixel Pals, but they also kind of fall into the Funko Pop characters kind of category where they’re a toy that’s not really a toy. They sit and do nothing while frozen in the Player 1 pose. The benefit they have over the Pops is that they serve a purpose at night, and while they may not be as detailed, that’s not really their purpose being pixelated. I say get one if you enjoy having these kinds of figures or like having geeky things that light up, and would make a good toy for teens to have in their room if you’re looking for a nerdy gift that also serves as decor. You can also get them as the Mario Bros., old-school Link, Mega Man and Vault Boy from Fallout.