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by yo go re

They've finally done it: a character I not only recognize, but regularly play as!

Forged on a griddle of rage, this bank-robbing outlaw is wanted in towns far and wide. What does he need all that money for? No one is sure, but some folks say he's got a bit of a syrup habit...

In every Fortnite Battle Pass, there are a few things you can claim for free, even without buying the pass. It's not a ton of stuff, just enough to reward free-to-players and tempt them to buy the full thing. Three of the free levels every time give you 100 V-Bucks, so you can even save up to buy things! And that was my plan: get 300 free monies every season, buy the Battle Pass after three seasons, netting more than I spent on it. So I'm at 600, ready to earn the last three I need... and the Marvel season (Chapter 2 Season 4) came along and price had been upped to 950, so I was shut out. Grah! Anyway, that's why Chapter 2 Season 5 was my first Battle Pass.

The theme of the Season was Jonesy recruiting bounty hunters from all over the multiverse, with this breakfast bandit hailing from Reality 3258. He's one of many skins based on food - in his case, a stack of golden pancakes covered in syrup. The syrup is done as a separate piece, cast in translucent orange plastic for that mapley goodness, with a pat of solid yellow butter resting up on top.

We're not really sure what thought process led to "pancake cowboy" as a concept, but that's the difference between artists and everyone else. "Eh, my kid could paint that!" Yeah, maybe, but did they? This figure represents Mancake's default style, unlocked at Level 29 of the Battle Pass: he's wearing a tan shirt and chaps (his pants are supposed to be brown, but Hasbro seems to have skipped that app), an orange serape wrapped around his neck and hanging down below his waist, and a green poncho worn above that. The poncho is supposed to have a light stripe near the edge, but that's not painted, either. Instead of bullets, two bandoliers of butter cross his chest. Thematic!

The articulation is a bit limited by the clothes he wears. Hasbro's Victory Royale Collection generally have swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinge knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, pec hinges, and a barbell head. To begin with, the poncho keeps the arms from raising all the way, even though it's PVC. Fortunately the legs aren't similarly restrained by his serape and holsters.

This figure brings back a feature we haven't seen since the Jazwares line ended: an alternate face! Like many skins, Mancake has alternate styles; when you reached Level 36, you unlocked "The Cake With No Name," which featured Mancake with a big mustache and a cowboy hat. Hasbro has included that in the cleverest way imaginable. nstead of doing a complete alternate head, the translucent syrup piece is removable, allowing you to swap it for another with the hat on. Technically all his clothes should change color too, since the hat can't be worn with any other styles, but it's still a fun inclusion.

Mancake is armed with an Assault Rifle, which looks like an FN SCAR. Since part of his set is the "Pancake Posse" wrap for the weapons, it's kind of a shame this is just painted normally. He also gets a pair of separate revolvers to put in his holsters, but they're not something you can use in the game, so the fact they're done as unique accessories is surprising. The straps on the holsters are even functional! Technically the guns should have butter yellow paint on the butt of the grip, but they're just plain grey plastic here.

His Back Bling is the "Breakfast Bounty," a big sack with a dollar sign on it, though if you look into the giant rip on the side, you'll see it's actually full of more pancakes. The theme continues with his pickaxe, "Josie," an old-fashioned infantry rifle with a bayonet sticking down from it and, again, a stack of pancakes jammed on the barrel. So in Butter Gluch, pancakes are your flesh, your money, and also your decorative elements? Unless we're supposed to read that as a decapitated head stuck on the end of his gun?

Mancake comes with a built-in emote, Syrup Slinger, in which he pulls a bottle of syrup out of his holster, twirls it around like a real gunslinger, then tips it up and pours syrup all over his head (or hat, as the case may be). Surprisingly, this set includes said bottle, though his hand isn't really shaped to hold it very well. And remember, he can't really lift his arm high enough, either. But this certainly isn't something you'd expect them to include.

This is a deluxe set, like Skye and Ollie, but Mancake doesn't have any large associated items like Skye did. So what did they give him to make the pricepoint? A cannon. Like, a Civil War era cannon. Is that even a thing in the game? I've never seen one. Guess it makes sense for a cowboy like Mancake, but I'd have been happier to get him without having to pay for it, as well. Assembly is required, to fit it in the packaging. The wheels roll, and a functional elevation screw by the back of the cannon allows you to actually aim it. So it's a cool piece, but like I said before, it's costing money I'd rather not have spent. I'd have been happier with a larger set featuring his Flapjack Flyer glider. Oh, and when you're putting the wheels on, make sure you've got them the right way around: while the caps that hold them in place can come off again, they really don't want to.

We've reviewed dozens of Fortnite toys from three different companies, and this is the first one that I have digitally as well as physically. Mancake is honestly one of my favorite skins in the game, so I was thrilled when Hasbro announced they'd be making him. Not having access to his full range of motion is minorly annoying, of course, and having to pay for a superfluous cannon isn't fun. But if the recent release of a repainted Skye (sans Ollie) is anything to go by, we probably will see Mancake again with no cannon and different colors, so you might want to wait for that. But me, I'm impatient, and want my breakfast right now! Heck, I even ordered online instead of waiting to take one off the shelf at a local store.

-- 12/23/22

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