Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Toyologist Review Week - Boys' Toys

So, after yesterday's foray into girls' toys, we got out the boys' toys to give them the once over. They're all based around familiar characters that all boys of Monkey's age seem to love.

Firstly, we have the Transformers Cyber Ops Bumblebee, an eye-popping £59.99. Monkey leapt on this when we got one of our parcels. It turns from a Guardian into a Warrior (whatever that means, numpty mummy strikes again) but basically changes from the Transformer Robot into a car with flip out cannons. Sounds simple, doesn't it? And it should be as it's marked suitable from 5+, although it is also marked Level 4 - Advanced. Well. Monkey had a go at taking the robot and turning it into a car. After a few minutes of trying, he gave it to his manservant Daddy to complete the job. It took Daddy twenty minutes to achieve this Herculean task. This may just be transforming it into the car - because since then, I have seen the car back as a robot and assume Monkey has done this by himself. Still, not easy. The robot has lights and speech activated by pressing a button on the robot's torso.

Monkey seemed to like this but never plays with it for very long. One of his school friends came round to play and had a quick look at it before moving on to something else. The longest it was played with was when Daddy first transformed it into a car! On that basis, as a parent, I don't think this toy is best value, certainly not for a 5 year old like Monkey. It may well suit an older (and more dextrous) child better. 

Next, we have the Ben 10 Alien Force Laser Lance (£19.99). First, I must mention that I am uncomfortable with my children having weapons. I don't ban them but I really don't like children talking about "killing" each other. I'm afraid that is what happened when my children picked up this and played with it. Basically, it is based on the Laser Lance from the Alien Force series which is used by Kevin Levin and the Forever Knights. It has sounds - perfect for imaginary play. It also has a "concealed Omnitrix cross-hair" - in other words, a target or sight. Unfortunately, we didn't get that much chance to test this feature as it snapped off on first use. Apart from that, both Monkey and Missy Woo enjoyed running around with it "firing" it. However, as I said, they also talked about killing people whilst playing with it and I felt I had to tackle this with them when they did. My children are not  violent and I intend keeping it that way. 

They never play with this for long but they do play with it regularly. I would say, therefore, that it is a bigger hit with them than it is with me. I wouldn't have chosen this for my children for reasons I've already mentioned but they seem to like it. Monkey has been slightly obsessed with Ben 10 so this may be a factor but really (and particularly without the cross-hair) it features no overt branding. But if your child loves Ben 10, they'll love this.

Our final toy today is the Toy Story Klip Kitz Buzz Lightyear model kit. (£9.99) It's a put-it-together-yourself model of everyone's favourite astronaut. As the name suggests, the pieces, snap and clip together, meaning there is no complicated screwing or gluing. The pieces can be locked into place using a key to achieve different poses. It also means that it can be taken apart and put back together again. This is another toy that Monkey leapt on when he first saw it, largely because he had recently seen Toy Story 3 at the cinema. He did need help from Daddy to put this together but he was better able to do some of this by himself, plus there are stickers that you can use to decorate your completed Buzz. We have discouraged taking it apart again but Monkey is quite happy to play with the model. For the price, it is a complete steal. I would say out of today's toys, it is the best value of them all. 

That's all for today. Come back tomorrow when we will review some games for you.

(I was provided with the above toys to review and have received no other compensation. The opinions stated here are my own, and have not been influenced by the aforementioned compensation.)
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