Playskool Big Adventures: Transformers, Transformers: Go-Bots and Go-Bots all refer to varying iterations of a line of transforming toys sold by Hasbro subsidiary Playskool, targeting preschool aged children. It followed in the trail of First Transformers and 1-2-3 Transformers before it, but expanded the concept exponentially, including a much larger number of molds released between 2002 and 2005, under the varying series names mentioned above.
Like its forerunners, Go-Bots featured brightly-colored chunky robots in cute, friendly proportions with very simple transformations. Go-Bots were issued in a number of size classes, including electronic figures and multi-packs, but all were large enough to be very sturdy and thick. The toys are, in fact, nearly impervious to breakage, and even the paints selected are highly resistant to chipping under heavy wear, unlike many main-line figures (much to collectors’ chagrin!). The variety of figures increased as well, mimicking the broad variety of Transformers sold for older kids. Go-Bots were often inspired by regular Transformers characters from Generation 1 or Beast Wars. All Go-Bots toys were “good guys”, some even bearing a cute, rounded Autobot symbol.
Numerous subgroup themes explored throughout the four-year run include electronic race cars that include a small humanoid “Kid-Bot” or other driver figure, Gobrillium figures covered in brightly colored chrome, Glow-Bots with simple battery-operated lights in their bodies, and Invisibility Force figures cast primarily in transparent plastics. While the line was no stranger to redecos like main-line Transformers, many figures were heavily retooled between one release and the next, often to add new play features.
The series was very popular in its many iterations, and the nigh-indestructible figures are often still found in thrift shops and online auction lots to this day. The earlier releases tend to be more common, probably indicating a broader sales push early on, as is common with new toylines. Unfortunately for modern-day collectors, Go-Bots cancellation resulted in many unreleased or poorly-distributed figures - a familiar story for Transformers fans. Toward the end of its run, many figures wound up exclusive to Tuesday Morning discount stores, certain outlets in the United Kingdom, or just plain hard to find. Even totally new molds were cancelled or sold in miniscule quantities. After nearly a decade away from the preschool market, Go-Bots has yielded a spiritual successor in the modern toyline Rescue Bots.