Star Wars Day Bloggers Challenge

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

In the Toybuzz household we’ve been building up to Star Wars day for the last few weeks by watching all the movies each Sunday, culminating with Return of the Jedi tonight. Popcorn is ready and were good to go.

To celebrate the day we were sent a lovely Star Wars Lego Microfighters set, and issued a bloggers challenge of picturing our fighter in a new world, discovering a new planet.

We received a Snowspeeder, and Jacob set about building it straight away.

I absolutely love the Microfighters range as the sets are small enough for him to build in one go without getting frustrated, but your still left with an awesome sized vehicle to get hours of play out of afterwards.

We’ve previously purchased the Vulture Droid and Homing Spider Droid, so the Snowspeeder fitted into his collection perfectly, and once again the build engaged him without stressing him out, which is perfect.

Now our Snowspeeder is all built, he’s ready to fly off and find a new planet. Apparently he’s sick of the snow now and is looking for somewhere lush and mountainous.

First stop on his adventure and he seems to have stumbled onto some psychedelic craters. There seems to be debris from previous crashed spaceships here as well, so he flies off again sharpish before he gets trapped too.

But then oh no! He flies straight into an asteroid field. He’s gonna need some seriously skilful flying to get out of this one.

Luckily he survived the asteroids, but watch out it’s a trap!  He ends up getting himself tangled in some cargo nets, and he doesn’t look too happy about it.


Finally he’s made it, we’ve found the mountains. Well done plucky Snowspeeder pilot.

As you can see we had loads of fun with our new Lego Microfighters set.

May the fourth be with you everyone.

Wicked Uncle – Review

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be contacted by online gift company ‘Wicked Uncle’, and asked to be one of their toy reviewer’s for this month.

Wicked Uncle is a brilliant idea for an online shop. It’s the perfect one stop shop for children’s toys and gifts, all sorted into gender and age categories.

Brilliant and extremely useful for all those wicked uncles and aunts, gran’s and granddad’s looking for a quirky fun gift for the youngster in their life but not knowing where to start.

Some people may balk at the idea of gifts being age and gender separated, as it’s a contentious issue at the moment. However I think it’s a great idea and believe most consumers would find it useful.

Here’s what Wicked Uncle themselves say about the issue:

* Gender – some people don’t like this division. We do it to make things really easy and the popularity rating shows what other people are buying. We divide products by gender because nobody ever buys pink tiaras or Frozen products or dolls for boys. It just doesn’t happen so there is no point in including these in the girl sections. 

We certainly include construction, Lego, remote control and outdoor fun products in the girls sections. We love the idea of girls running around being as boisterous as small boys. Check out the Battle Tanks in Girls 8-10. 

Where a product has been in various age / gender categories and it doesn’t sell at all, then we may take it out to make room. A lot of toys are age specific and children really don’t like getting toys they think are too young for them. 

 As part of us reviewing Wicked Uncle I was given £40 in credit to choose on whatever I wanted for the boys from the website.

For Jacob it was over to the boys age 7 category, and  I choose the Hyperspeed Remote control car. He’s always wanted one of these remote control stunt cars with flashing lights, so it was exactly what he wanted to receive.

Thomas is 9 now, and since I did spend most of my allotted money on Jacob’s stunt car he had to settle for a smaller gift. However there was still plenty to choose from, and was thrilled with the incredibly bouncy Moon Ball i choose for him.

Jacob is so thrilled with his stunt car, it’s amazingly agile. The wheels twist and turn all over the place, whilst the flashing coloured lights make the room look like a disco. It’s an ideal gift for a little stunt devil petrol head like him.

Thomas’s Moon Ball is equally awesome. It bounces massively high in the air, much higher than a regular ball. We found we got a better bounce the harder the surface you bounce it on, but be careful bouncing indoors as accidents are bound to happen. Best for outdoor play definitely.

Apart from being very happy with my choices for the boys, I was equally pleased that my order came nicely packaged for the boys to open, plus that there was no receipt inside telling Thomas how much more I’d spent on Jacob than him. That could have been very awkward.

Thanks to Wicked Uncle you’ll receive an order confirmation with everything you’ve ordered on your email, but your lucky gift recipient can open their present straight away without being told how much you spent on them.

Wicked Uncle can gift wrap your present, plus even write a handwritten birthday card for you if you need them too. However even if you don’t opt for the birthday card your lucky gift recipient will find a thank you card in their box, ready to send with your name and address on it, so they will know the gifts from you.

All in all I think that Wicked Uncle is an excellent service for buying gifts for children. Especially if you are looking for something a bit different or are not sure exactly what the youngster your buying for would like. There really is something for everyone, and every budget.

As their mum I obviously know my boys very well :) and could easily choose them something myself without ideas. Saying that I would definitely use Wicked Uncle again to buy presents for their friends birthdays, as its so hard to think of new things to buy for all those parties.

I think the site comes into its own for uncles, grandparents, aunties – anyone who might not have children of their own and needs a little help picking out what a young child would like. Plus with the gift wrapping and hand written card service, the present can be chosen, sent, and all be done and dusted in one website. Fabulous.

 Thanks to Wicked Uncle for asking us to be part of their Toy reviewers programme. 

 

Crayola Colour Alive – Review

Easter holidays, and the boys have been getting creative and testing out the new Crayola colour Alive colouring books.

With Colour Alive you can see the images you’ve coloured in actually pop out of the screen and into your living room. Which is actually really neat.

As with most things nowadays there’s an app you’ll need to download.

The system works by scanning and recognising the special Colour Alive marker you have used. Each book comes with 7 Crayola Markers, but only one unlocks the special virtual reality pictures. With the two colouring books we had to review, the red marker unlocked the magic in Mythical Creatures, and it was the yellow in enchanted forest.

Once you’ve found the special colour you need to simply scan it in the Colour Alive app.  Then you can scan in your colouring pages and watch as the pictures appear to come alive.

Annoyingly at the moment it seems that the app is having a few problems on certain devices with scanning the coloured in pictures. However if you scan an uncoloured page and then colour it in the 4D effects will work.

Once we figured things out and released that our virtual dragon was located in the “my saved stuff’ section, we got to work taking some virtual selfies with our works of art.

Even Harry the cat got involved.

To celebrate Colour Alive being at the Gadget Show Live there’s actually a competition running this week, for the best Colour Alive Selfie with an amazing prize.

If you have a Colour Alive set you can enter by tweeting #colouryouselfie and your picture, and if you get to see it at the show you can try it out and enter there.

Disclosure: We were sent some Colour Alive sets by Crayola to review. All opinions are my own.

 

Competition Time! – Family Ticket to Gadget Show Live

To celebrate Vivid sponsoring the Kids Tech Toy Trail at Gadget Show Live, which takes place 8th – 12th April 2015 we’ve got 3 family tickets to give away for Wednesday 8th April! (Each family ticket is for 4 people).

One of Gadget Show Live 2014’s most popular features was the Kid’s Tech Arena, which will be returning this year in the form of a Kid’s Tech Toy Trail. The Kid’s Tech Trail is to be sponsored exclusively by Vivid and will feature separate pods, each with different toys from the Vivid range for children of all ages to get hands on with.

The pods will create an immersive experience and are guaranteed to keep kids engaged and involved at the show – as well as giving them a chance to try out some toys not yet on the shelves!

The four pods making up the Trail will feature a RealFX demo area, i-Que, Freddy Bear and Crayola Colour Alive with demonstrators and Vivid brand teams on site daily to enable kids to get hands on with the products.

Win a Family Ticket to Gadget Show Live 08/04/15

Mario Party 10 – Review

As a true gaming family, were always busy enjoying some video games together in the evening.

The latest game to keep our Wii U well and truly knackered is the new Mario Party game – Mario Party 10.

Released last Friday 20th March 2015, the latest in the popular game series is simply the best yet.

I’ll be honest and admit that the last Mario Party game I played was way way back in the series at Mario Party 6 on the Gamecube, so to say the game has come along way since then is an understatement.  However the fun gameplay that me and hubby spent hours playing years ago is still there in abundance, and now we have the children to play with too it’s even more fun!

Theres two new big gameplay innovations in Mario Party 10 – the addition of Amibo’s, Nintendo’s collectable figures with wireless play, and the ‘Bowser Party’ mode which sees all the players working together as a group to escape Bowsers clutches.

In the main Mario Party mode everyone works their way around the variety of different boards, each trying to reach the end square first. Along the way theres mini games to play, hearts to collect, and make sure to avoid the dreaded Bowser spaces as landing there is never a good idea.

I like that some of the mini games are a free for all, and some put you in teams with another players. This means that younger players who might not get the hang of every game should get a chance to catch up on hearts.

Even though the game is called Mario Party, The boys and I have found that we’ve definitely played the new “Bowser Party” mode more often. In this mode all the players work as a team travelling the board and playing the mini games collectively. You can choose that the computer plays as Bowser and does the dirty work, or you can choose one player to use the gamepad and play as Bowser. Thomas having a slight sadistic streak ALWAYS has to play as Bowser, he just loves it as it’s so hard to beat him.  Bowser Party mode is seriously staked towards Bowser winning every time. I think out of maybe 15 times we’ve played that Jacob and I have won once.

We like the variety in Bowser Party and the fact that the player who’s Bowser gets to use the gamepad for lots of fun and devious things. The boys are both big fans of using the gamepad, so it’s great to have a new game that utilises it fully. One of the funest things that we’ve found with it is in the underwater Bowser party level where you have to try and trick your fellow players into going the wrong way down a path, and into picking the wrong boxes by drawing on the gamepad screen.  It’s a brilliant use of the gamepad and is something really unique to the Wii U.

Our Awesome Mario Party 10 Family Bloggers Pack we were sent by Nintendo – Everything to host the best party, even the Party Rings!

A totally different experience to the Mario and Bowser party modes is the Amiibo Party.

Each player uses their Amiibo character to play. It’s more like a board game than Mario party mode, but it’s charming in its own way.

Everyone needs to use a wii remote to move and play the mini games, but you use the gamepad each time it’s your turn to put your Amiibo on the NFC scanner and roll your dice.

As you play you can pick up tokens, new game boards and other rewards which you store on your Amiibo by tapping it onto the NFC scanner on the gamepad.

It’s a little tamer than the main games, but a nice change of pace, and a fun way to use your Amiibo’s.

A lovely hidden gem that you simply must not overlook are the awesome bonus games. We have literally spent hours playing Badminton, and jewel drop. Jewel drop in particular is an amazing little game, plus Jacob is so good at it I enjoy playing against him just to see his excited little face.

As a family we have had an awesome time playing Mario Party 10. The games are fast and never drag, are always full of laughs and excitement, as far as were concerned it’s a must buy game if you have a Wii U.

Disclosure: Were were sent a copy of Mario Party 10 as part of the Nintendo Family Bloggers network

 

Vtech Kiddizoom Action Cam – Review

Last Wednesday the Toybuzz clan headed out on an adventure to London.

We travelled to White Grounds Skate Park, near London Bridge, in search of the new Vtech Kiddizoom Action Cam.

The new Kiddizoom Action Cam is roughly described as a Kid friendly version of the Go Pro. However don’t let the kid tag put you off,  it still packs quite a punch in the tech department.

At the skate park all the young adrenaline junkies invited choose their weapon of choice from the available scooters, skateboards and bikes. All came pre equipped with an Action Cam for capturing all the action.

We were joined for the day by  a few of the boys from Team Extreme, a professional team of Bmx, skateboard, and scooter performers.

After the boys had put on an awesome display of skills for the kids, they gave all the different groups a skills workshop.

My boys Thomas and Jacob had both chosen scooters, and had a great time racing up and down the skate park in a time trial. Thomas even learned how to do a bunny hop. Admittedly he didn’t jump as high as Team Extreme, but he’s been practicing ever since.

Everyone had a great time at the Skate Park, and thanks to the Action Cam we have the onboard footage to prove it.

The Kiddizoom Action Cam comes with everything you need to get some thrilling action shots and videos of your young daredevil.

This Picture of Team Extreme was taken by Jacob on the Action Cam

You get two different camera mounts. One attach’s easily to your scooter or bike’s frame, and the other has an adhesive bottom which is perfect for using on skateboards or as we have done, jacob’s bike helmet.

Theres also a wriststrap, and most excitedly for us an underwater camera case. How awesome is that!

We can’t wait for the summer now so we can head to the beach and take some underwater photos and movies.

 

Although not pro-photographer standard, I’ve been impressed by the photos and video captured by my boys.

Ok so it’s not really a Go-Pro, but for a start it’s at least half the price of the cheapest Go Pro I could find online with an RRP of £49.99.

Plus it comes with all the mounts, straps, and the waterproof case for that amount.

It’s incredibly easy to use, plus it even has a few inbuilt games to keep the kids amused for a while on the way to wherever your going to film.

I would throughly recommend the Kiddizoom Action Cam as a good way to let kids imaginations run wild while out on their scooters and bikes, and in the fresh air.

 

Disclosure: We were invited to the event and given an Action Cam for review by Vtech. All opinions however are my own and honest and unbiased.

 

New Nintendo 3DS – Review

February 13th sees the new and improved Nintendo 3DS go on sale in Europe, but amazingly Nintendo sent us one to review early so we could let you know all about their new handheld console.

We’ve been testing out the new Nintendo 3DS for about 2 weeks now, and have had a good go at all the new features.

We’ve been playing around with the smaller original sized new 3DS, but there is also an update of the XL version.

Some of the improvements on the new version include new shoulder buttons, new circle pad joystick,retro coloured buttons which look awesome, an improved processor, and vastly improved 3D.

The improved 3D has been the biggest jump forward for me with the new device. It works so much better, and I’ve actually been using the 3D all the time whereas before it would be more on and off. The 3D works better thanks to the new second camera which handles face-tracking. This means that you don’t have the problem anymore of moving slightly and losing the 3D image and having to find that sweet spot again. It’s made such a difference to my 3DS experience and I love it.

The boys have never really been big fans of the 3D on the 3DS, that’s why they got on so well with the simpler 2DS. However they have both been interested to try it out again on the new version and have been enjoying it a lot more.

It’s still not something I would let them play all the time, as I do worry about little ones developing eyes using it too much, but things like taking pictures in 3D and Face Raiders have been vastly improved for them by the new face tracking tech.

To be honest it’s the 3D pictures we’ve been using the most. Jacob just loves using his 3DS camera, and now taking 3D pictures is his big thing. They look amazing.

A brand new feature you won’t be able to see is the NFC technology, which makes it possible to use your lovely new Ammibo characters with your new 3DS. You just place the character base on the bottom screen, and just like that your Ammibo’s details come up on-screen. The first game to use the Ammibo’s will be Super Smash Bros 3DS once it gets the update tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

You will be able to use Ammibo’s with the old 3DS if you get a peripheral reader when they come out, but it won’t be as clean and user-friendly as simply putting your figure on the screen.

Another thing we love is the changeable face plates for the front and back of the screen. We were sent some Luigi plates as you can see, and they make your 3DS seem really fresh and original. Plus it’s a great way to add a bit of your personality to your new console.

For mums and Dads I think the appeal will be having different face plates for different kids 3DS’s so you can tell them apart. My boys have almost always had 3DS’s with no cases around them, as they found them too bulky to play with when they were younger with smaller hands. So these would be ideal. I wonder if they do a Pokemon themed one for Thomas?

The removable front and back plates are only available for the smaller new 3DS and not the XL which is a good and bad thing I suppose. It’s nice actually that it makes you feel better about having the smaller screen.

One small thing that still bugs me is that you don’t get a charger with the console. I know that most people will have one anyway from their previous 2DS/3DS, and if not they are easy and cheap to buy, but it still bugs me.

In conclusion the new 3DS might initially seem like not much has changed and an only upgrade when your original breaks kind of situation. But once you start actually using it you realise that all the little things that have changed add up to a great new console experience that if you love Nintendo and your 3DS you just have to get in on.

A Very Nintendo Christmas!

Greeting readers :)

Sorry for the lateness of my first post of the year, but boy has it started with a bang. I’ve been literally rushed off my feet with kids, sickness, hospital’s, driving lessons, school, and everything else.

Christmas was a great break, although I don’t really feel like I had a break now I’ve been so busy.

One thing though that helps me unwind after a hard day is some lovely family time.

As a family amongst other things one thing we do really enjoy doing together is playing video games, and this Christmas and new year has been all about Nintendo and the Wii U.

We’ve been having loads of fun playing Captain Toad Treasure Tracker together, which is a puzzle game where you navigate Toad around with the gamepad. It’s tricky as sometimes it looks like Captain Toad is stuck, and you need to move the picture around and change the way you view the screen. It gives you a new perspective on the puzzle, and you’ll hopefully see the path you need.

If you’ve ever played Fez it’s a bit similar to that, however with Captain Toad you get familiar enemies like Goombas to negotiate. It’s a lot of fun.

Another game that Thomas has spent way too many hours on this christmas season is Pokemon Omega Ruby. He loves Pokemon games, and said that this is definitely his favourite yet. He said it’s great that you can collect loads of legendary Pokemon like Latios and Rayquaza. He loves the new Mega Evolution Pokemon as well.

He also likes the new Pokemon contests you can compete in. I’m not sure what these are, but he says they are a good new part of the game.

Me and hubby have also been having a whale of a time playfully beating each other up in the new Super Smash Bros Wii U game. We’ve managed to unlock most of the hidden characters too, with only the Duck Hunt ones left.

Pacman is my fighter of choice, whereas hubby always goes Captain Falcon. He’s dying for Nintendo to make a new F-Zero for the Wii U, that would be his dream.

Nintendo Uk were lovely enough to send us some of their new Amiibo figures to use with the game, plus father christmas then contributed a few more, so we all have our own one now. I have Princess Peach, Daddy is Mario, Jacob has a little Yoshi and Thomas got his favourite Pickachu.

Amiibo’s are Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures, but there’s not just one title or series that they are compatible with. Amiibo figures are set to be compatible with a whole range of different games across the Wii U and 3DS consoles.

You’ll need a new version of the 3DS to play with the Amiibo figures, but the Wii U gamepad has a reader for them already built-in. It’s great that you don’t need an additional peripheral or portal for them. Plus they look amazing all together as a collection along the mantlepiece.

Nintendo are releasing sets of Amiibo’s in waves. Apart from the always popular Mario and Link, most Amiibo’s look to be for a limited time only whilst you can find them, so get straight out and get them if there’s a particular character you just have to own.

We’ve already placed a pre-order for some of the next wave of Amiibo’s, as Thomas is gutted that the Little Mac figure is already sold out.

So all in all this Christmas seems to have been totally dominated by Nintendo in the Toybuzz household. Lots of Super Smashing, Pokemoning, Tresure tracking and Amiibo training has been going on.

 

 

Sonic Boom 3DS/Wii U – Review

This close to christmas is a blur isn’t it. This year especially for me seems extra busy. Thomas has been off school sick, I’ve got a driving test in a few days and to add to it all my washing machine has packed up so I’m having to hand wash everything for the moment. Phew!

Thank goodness for some new video games to help us all wind down after a busy day, plus keep Thomas entertained whilst on his sick-bed.

Thanks to the lovely people again at Nintendo we’ve been playing the two new Sonic the hedgehog games. Sonic Boom:Shattered Crystal on the 3DS and Sonic Boom:Rise of Lyric on the Wii U.

They may both bear the Sonic Boom name, but they are very different games.

Shattered Crystal on the 3DS is more of a regular platform game. With the now familiar Sonic targeting system. Rise of Lyric on the Wii U is more about solving puzzles, with some battles along the way.

Whilst it’s nice to have a new Sonic game on both the main console and a mobile version. For us we much preferred Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric on the Wii U.

It’s great that 2 players can play together. Thanks to the Wii U gamepad’s screen, each player actually goes of separately in places and completes puzzles apart then coming back together when finished. It’s very cool.

It’s also good to see a new villain thrown into the mix, as Eggman needs a rest I’m sure. Although we do see Eggman at the start, most of the time our nemesis is a robot crocodile type creature called Lyric. He’s also the bad guy in Shattered Crystal on the 3DS.

As a family we would highly recommend Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. It was really good, one of the best Sonic games I’ve played for years.

Unfortunately we didn’t get on so well with Shattered Crystal on the 3DS. We just kept getting lost and spending 15-20 mins completing every level, which wasn’t that fun.

So For us we give the thumbs up to the Wii U version.

Disclosure: We were given a download code for both games in order for us to write an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

Games Quest Board Game Review and Competition

Last week the opportunity came up for us to review the online board game store – Games Quest, and I literally jumped at the chance with both hands grabbing as I love, Love, Love board games and card games.

We were given £40 to spend at Games Quest’s online store on whatever we wanted.

Thomas and I sat down and perused all the options, which took a long time as there is so much choice.

Plus Thomas got carried away having to look into all the others things that Games Quest sell like the toys, books, and puzzles before we were done.

We finally after much deliberation sent Games Quest our picks, and were thrilled to receive our order back in a few days.

We wanted to go for a few different things so choose a card game in the form of Fluxx – The Regular Show edition, Traffic – which is a puzzle game, and Cat-opoly – a board game.

The games actually came at a really great time, as Thomas was off school all last week with a terrible cough and cold. So we had plenty of time to get well acquainted with our new games.

Traffic was the first game we played, and it’s a right brain puzzler. The game is all about getting rid of your cards, and you do this by moving your car around the game board. You can only move around the game board when one of your cards matches the pattern the cars make on the board. It’s a bit hard to explain without playing, but we enjoyed it a lot.

Cat-opoly is a like Monopoly obviously but with everything cat related. All the tokens are catafied like a tin of sardines and a ball of wool, the jail is now Water, Free Parking is Free Catnip, and all the properties are now different breeds of cats. For a cat lover it is possibly the best present ever. My son Thomas is a huge Monopoly fan, and Huge Cat Lover so he was totally in his element, and is constantly begging people to play Cat-poly again with him. Amazing game which we totally recommend if you’re a cat or animal lover.

Fluxx is probably our favourite of the lot and the game we played most often, mostly due to our deep love and appreciation of the Cartoon Network series Regular Show. Initially you start playing Fluxx thinking ‘what on earth is going on?’ as every card you draw changes the rules somehow. However after a few games you really get into it, and it’s so fun playing that card which you know is going to wreck your opponents game in an instant.

We want to say a big thank you to Games Quest for letting us try out the store, and introducing us to these awesome board games.

Competition

 

The awesome people at Games Quest are also giving you the chance to win a £40 voucher to spend at their store.

All you need to do to enter is fill in your details on the Rafflecopter below. Competition ends on the 16th December 2014. For full details check out the Rafflecopter entry page below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/%C2%A340-spend-games-quest-0#sthash.kGVc9ymU.dpuf