NBA Fidget Spinners – Review

Fidget Spinners have been the massive toy craze of the year for sure, and the hype’s not over yet.

My sons are still massively into their spinning wonders, and to be honest I am too. I just love them. They keep the boys entertained for ages, keep their hands busy, and are easy to take around in my handbag or your pocket.

My only gripe with them is the variations in quality. I know that most are cheap and only a couple of pounds, but some are £5 or even £10 and when you get to those prices you would like to think there would be some consistent level of quality.

We have found that some the very cheap spinners have been our best, well moulded and with a good spin. However some more expensive ones have had rusted bearings from straight out of the pack.

Rusted bearings does not a good fidget spinner make.

So when we got the opportunity to review some official NBA branded fidget spinners we were delighted. I was keen to find out if an official product would mean a better quality product, and am pleased to say thats just what we found.

The official NBA Fidget Spinners are available as 7 different teams

  • Boston Celtics
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • New York Knicks
  • San Antonio Spurs

The Teams spinner’s are available for £7.00 each from NBA Store EU

The first thing you’ll notice with these spinners is the superior packaging.

Them come in a lovely package with an official hologram, and you can just see the quality compared to cheaper spinners.If you were going to buy a fidget spinner as a gift these would be ideal as the extra quality of the packaging makes it much more of a gift.

Next onto the spinners themselves.

We like that they are lightweight, but not too light if you know what I mean. They just feel nice in the hand.

But the best part are the finger grips. The Teams logo’s look great whilst your spinner is going round, but it also feels great to spin too.

We’ve found that most of the fidget spinners we have collected have either flat grips, or concave. However these spinners are rounded outwards on both side, so they feel really nice between your fingers to spin, and they go really very well on a flat surface.

My Youngest Jacob absolutely loves these Spinners as they are so easy to get a massively long spin. They are definitely the best Fidget Spinners we’ve had out of a bunch of around 10.

At £7.00 they are perhaps more expensive than some Fidget Spinners, but by all means not excessively so. Personally I’ve bought £10 versions from the stalls in the town centre, and they haven’t had half as good a spin as the NBA Ones. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these Fidget Spinners to anyone who’s looking for a quality spinner, Plus if your a big NBA fan to boot then it’s a no brainer.

 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Review

Jacob my youngest, and my husband have been playing Zelda Breath of the Wild together for 2 weeks now.

This is Jacobs first Zelda game, but he was really hyped up after watching all the Youtubers doing playthroughs, so he was thrilled when we got a review code for the game from Nintendo.

Although they’re only about half way through we think, they are really loving the experience so far.

Initially Jacob and his dad were planning on having their own saves and playing through separately. However even with his prior knowledge Jacob found the game rather difficult on his own.

Actually I’m not sure if Jacob will be a bit upset I said it was too difficult for him, perhaps thats not strictly true. I think he just found the initial openness of the environment, and ‘I can do anything so what am I supposed to do’ a bit daunting.

So its been a good bonding exercise and worked out well, Jacob and his dad playing together. Ive enjoyed us all sitting in the front room and watching them explore Hyrule together, cooking recipes and working out tricky puzzles. It’s a great game to sit and watch someone play.

We’ve been testing out the Wii U version of the game as we don’t have a new Switch yet, but the game still looks and plays amazing. It will obviously look better on the Switch as it’s a newer console, but I can’t honestly see how as I think it looks beautiful. Definitely the best looking game we’ve played on the Wii U ever.

As always there are some great characters to be found lurking around Hyrule.  Jacob and I especially love Hetsu and his maracas

His happy dance is so funny, and I love his “Dah-na-na-na-naaaaaaaa!”.

I think still the best thing about Zelda are the puzzles. I know my husband has got frustrated a few times at some fiendish puzzles, but the satisfaction you get when you’ve actually figured it out and solved it soon makes up for it.

Another mainstay of Zelda games is the beautiful music and sound design, and Breath of the Wild certainly doesn’t disappoint. The game sounds beautiful. I love the background music, weather effects, dialogue sounds and music. It’s all so emotive, and plays a big part in the storytelling.

Even Thomas my oldest who’s now more of a first person shooter kind of guy has shown an interest in Breath of the wild. He’s even got first dibs on the Wii U when they’ve finished it, as he’s going to give it a go himself.

So there we go thats The Toybuzz household review of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We maybe only halfway through but were loving it. We can’t wait to see what happens next, and who Link will come up against next.

Disclosure: We were given a review code for this game as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All views and opinions are our own.

Super Mario Maker for 3DS – Review

In our household we all agree that Super Mario Maker has been some of the most fun we’ve had with the Wii U, probably even every console ever.

We all had an amazing time creating levels for each other and challenging everyone on family night. Its so addicting seeing somebody finally beat your level while you watch, mentally ticking over what you need to change to make it even more devilishly difficult for next time.

Well now you can have all the fun of the Wii U version, but this time on the go on the 3DS.

To say this game comes at the perfect time for us is an understatement. Were going on holiday in 2 weeks to Florida, which involves a 9 hour flight.

Ive been panicking like mad about what the boys are going to be like on the long journey, considering now they are too old for the traditional colouring books and the like I usually pack. So to have an endlessly creative game like Super Mario Maker to play during the journey will be a godsend.

The only big difference between the 3DS and Wii U versions are the ability to share courses online. For some people this may be a problem, but for us its no big deal really. As a family we only ever saved the courses as challenges between ourselves, so I don’t think we ever did upload any courses online anyway.

However you can play lot and lots of user made courses if you have internet access through Nintendo’s recommended courses section. A massive selection of user made levels curated by Nintendo.

Although you’d think by the name that making courses is the thing you will do the most, So far I’ve spent most of my time playing the Super Mario Challenge mode. It’s such an amazing game, I’m absolutely loving it.

The thing is I find it so hard, some of the courses are really tricky and thats without doing the extra tricky tasks to gain medals. It’s so much fun though, and trying to attain all those medals will keep me busy forever I think.

My only bug bear is that you have to complete the Super Mario challenges to unlock extra build course elements. I think this is a bit much to ask of younger players, and preferred the Wii U’s approach of new items overtime you played for the first couple of days.

That’s only a small annoyance though, overall it’s a great buy if you have a 3DS. I would highly recommend it.

Disclosure: We received an online code for this game from Nintendo as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All opinions are our own.

Pokemon Sun and Moon – Review

I think everyone can agree that 2016 has been a bit of a rubbish year. However for me the best thing to come out of it is the incredible cultural comeback of Pokemon! It seems that Pikachu and friends have taken over the world all over again.

This year Thomas’ stocking will be overflowing with Pokemon related goodies once again as he’s back into it in a big way, and to be honest I couldn’t be happier as I love it too.

Obviously the massively successful Pokemon Go has played its part in Pokemons resurgence, but the hype surrounding Pokemon Sun and Moon was the thing that kept everything ticking over.

Well now the wait is over, and Thomas finally got to play his most anticipated game of the year, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. He has been glued to the 3DS ever since release day.

This is the reason for this review being told through Thomas’ thoughts to me, as he won’t get off it long enough for me to have a go .

Firstly He says that the new Pokemon are the best in years, with the new starters only just behind the beloved originals. He choose Litten the Fire Type, which is the one I would have chosen too. Although I think Popplio comes a close second.

He’s desperate to find his first Shiny Pokemon, as they are awesome. However they are so rare I think it’ll be a miracle if he does.

The game is set in the new Alola region, and its a really nice place to go Pokemon hunting. Sun, sea, beaches, Palm trees. Its like going on a little holiday everytime you play.

Pokemon Sun and Moon is a bit different to other Pokemon titles as you don’t just travel around battling gyms as usual. This time around you travel the islands completing challenges, quizzes, although theres always some battling to be done.

When I asked Thomas about his favourite part of the game he said the Scavenger Hunts were brilliant. He loved travelling around taking photos of all the Pokemon.

Another new thing in Pokemon Sun and Moon are the new Z Moves. These are new extra powerful moves you can teach your Pokemon when you get the Z Ring and correct crystals for the Pokemon type.

Overall Thomas is having an absolute blast playing Pokemon Moon, and it has definitely lived up to his expectations. An unmissable instalment to the series – if your a fan you just have to get it!

 

Disclosure: We received a code for the game as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All opinions  are our own.

 

Furby Connect – Review

Even I let out a little squeal of delight when I got the email from the Hasbro Toy Tribe that we’d be receiving a brand new Furby Connect to review any day, and now here he is.

His name is Doo-Doh, which translates as Lazy Tummy in Furbish.

I’ve always loved Furby’s ever since I was a little girl, but never got one originally first time around.

I had to wait until Jacob asked me for a Furby Boom last birthday until I got my hands on one in real life. Obviously I let him play with it first.

Even though we did love our Furby Boom, it’s great to upgrade to the Furby Connect as it is so much cooler.

However the biggest advantage has to be that Furby Connect comes with an eye mask for putting it to sleep. No more phantom furbish waking us all up in the middle of the night, thank god.

Furby Boom never did sleep properly. It was a case of taking the batteries out if you needed to keep it quiet, which gets annoying. So the sleep mask is a simple but very welcome solution.

The main change you’ll see in the new Furby connect is the huge LCD eyes, which have a great way of interacting with you. When he’s hungry or your feeding him with the food cannon, you can see the food floating across his eyes. You’ll also see musical notes when he’s singing and other things too. It makes the Furby seem so much more real as the LCD eyes are so expressive as it talks.

As usual Furby has a great personality and sense of humour, but Furby Connect has really been turned up all the way to eleven as he’s so sassy and funny. The boys and I have just laughed and laughed at some of the things Furby has said.

One of the great ways you can interact with Fuby is via the new app Furby Connect Worlds. Here you can hatch little virtual furblings, and clean them, feed them, play with them and level them up as you go along.

In the app you can also do one of our favourite things with Furby Connect, watch videos together. We have watched music videos of real current hit songs where Furby sings along and fun videos of things like nanna’s drumming and little kids doing karate. Think of it like watching Youtube with your Furby but with only very young kid appropriate videos coming up. Plus Furby talks all over the videos, so its like your watching and interacting at the same time.

I loved that about 10 minutes after we’d watched the karate kid video Furby said “AWW remember the nunchuck kid video that was so awesome” It really made us all laugh.

The good thing with the Furby Connect Worlds app is that you don’t have to use Furby at the same time if you don’t want to. Theres always Furblings to clean, eggs to hatch and so on, but this means that while your out and about with Furby at home you can still do all the other things with your Furblings and theres always something to entertain and keep your little ones busy.

It’s also worth mentioning that Furby connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so everything really simple. I know that we had a lot of trouble at times connecting our old Furby Boom to the app, but no such problems this time. The new Furby Connect Worlds app is simple to use, as I said no connectivity problems with Furby Connect, and is most importantly really fun to use.

Being connected wirelessly via Bluetooth means that Furby Connect will update periodically when your in the App, so the videos change and Furby will learn new songs from the charts. He even knows what time it is, so will ask for breakfast or lunch, plus even knows what day it is- for example a special day like Christmas Day or Valentines Day.

And lastly having two boys I cannot fail to mention the laugh out loud fun they have had putting Furby over the virtual toilet and helping him push something out. Will it be a truck, a pineapple with a banana face or maybe just a big poo, the possibilities are endless. Everytime I hear Furby shout “The Struggle is real!” I know there putting Furby over the toilet again.

Unfortunately for Furby I don’t think its going to get old anytime soon. Poor Furby

 

Disclosure: We received Furby Connect for review as part of participation in the Hasbro Toy Tribe. All opinions are our own

Yo-Kai Watch – Nintendo 3DS review

For the last two weeks we’ve been busy playing and testing out the new game on the Nintendo 3DS – Yo-Kai Watch

Thomas has been my main tester as he’d seen the Yo-Kai Watch trailers at last years E3, and it seemed like a games he would like.

Yo-Kai Watch is the story of Nate. A young boy from Springdale,  who finds a mysterious Gacha machine in the woods. Out pops Whisper, a Yo-Kai. He gives Nate a Yo-Kai Watch, which you use to find new Yo-Kai and befriend them.

Yo-Kai are mischievous little things. Sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes just plain weird.

Yo-Kai are behind all the goings on in Springdale. If you’ve lost something, say things you don’t mean to accidentally, even just feeling hungry all the time. Theres probably a Yo-Kai close by pulling the strings. However they can’t be seen by the human eye. Only Nate can find them with his Yo-Kai Watch lens.

Once you find a Yo-Kai you need to battle with them to befriend them. You’ll need to impress them with your skills before they will join you.

Yo-Kai also have problems of they’re own too, which they will ask for your help with.

Thomas loves Pokemon with a passion, so a game about collecting and battling obviously appealed greatly to him.

Having shipped over 10 million copies, he was keen to give Yo-Kai Watch a go, and see what all the fuss was about.

To say he is hooked would be an understatement!

Although initially he told me it was similar to Pokemon, the more he’s played the differences have become more apparent.

He loves the way that the Yo-Kai actually battle themselves whilst you watch. You can then step in and help them out, telling them moves or healing their health. He says its more exciting watching what they are doing and then helping where you can.

He’s also a big fan of the Yo-Kai watch itself. He likes the way that you need to get upgrades to your watch to catch the stronger Yo-Kai.

The Boss Yo-Kai are brilliant challenges apparently. Each boss has a weak spot which they keep protecting, and you have to figure out a way to get to it.

The one thing Thomas repeatedly keeps saying to me is “it’s amazing, but it’s very hard”. He has got stuck a couple of times already, and had to have a quick peek at a Youtube walkthrough.  Also catching the Yo-Kai can be tricky too.

Sometimes the Yo-Kai just don’t want to be your friend, and it’s just bad luck keep trying. Sometimes you don’t have their favourite food to give them, or have an unpopular Yo-Kai on your team.

It’s much more involved than in Pokemon where you simply find, battle and then have them in your poke ball. It can be frustrating, but very rewarding when you finally friend up.

Yo-Kai Watch has become an instant hit in our house, Thomas thinks it’s amazing and it’s his new favourite game.

He’s got a long journey on the coach tomorrow to London. However instead of looking forward to getting there, he’s more excited about all that time to play more Yo-Kai Watch on the way.

Disclosure: We were sent a code for Yo-Kai Watch to review as part of the Nintendo UK Family Bloggers Network

Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes – Review

The newest game we’ve been testing out on our Nintendo 3DS is Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes.

It’s a very addictive puzzle game which sees you as one of the Tri-Force heroes rooting around caves searching for Rupees and solving puzzles.

If you ever played Zelda Four Swords on the 3DS it’s a lot like that.

Four Swords being one of Thomas’ favourite 3DS games ever, meant he probably loved Tri-Force Heroes the most. With Jacob coming a close second.

You can play Tri-Force heroes with friends over local play, find other players to join in games over the internet, or you can take charge of all three heroes and play alone.

It takes some getting used to playing alone and switching between each hero, but it’s good that you have the option. Luckily we all have a 3DS, so have been able to enjoy playing with 3 heroes over the local network.

The name of the game is teamwork. Some of the puzzles really make you think, and everyone has to keep on their toes and in the right place to solve them.

Some times you need to reach something high up, so your heroes can Totem on top of each other. However you may need to then throw a bomb, and the player with the bombs is on the bottom of the pile. So you need to switch around quickly.

When playing online or in Local play you can communicate onscreen with your fellow players with 8 special Emoticons. For example, ‘Over here’, ‘Throw’ or ‘Nooo!’. It’s fun to use these, but we did just end up yelling at each other anyway, as it’s just easier.

We all had great fun with Legend of Zelda – Tri Force Heroes. Personally I found playing on my own a bit repetitive, but had a lot of laughs when playing together with the boys.

Thomas and Jacob however have had equal use of the game with local play and solo, and love both modes.

Thanks Nintendo UK for letting us review another brilliant 3DS title.

 

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of the game to review as part of the Nintendo UK family blogger panel

Super Mario Maker – Review

For the last 2 weeks the number one game being played by all of us has been Super Mario Maker. Jacob is so taken with it, that it’s a fight to get the Wii U out of his hands to have a go yourself.

The game is a genius idea. Give the players the tools to create their own Super Mario levels on the Wii U gamepad. It’s amazingly simple, but utterly addictive.

It’s not just the brilliance of being able to make your own levels, but you also get to play everyone else’s level creations.

We were sent a copy by Nintendo to review, complete with a Super Mario Maker Amiibo and a very cool little Mario flip book which the boys loved and fought over, and broke the cover off. Trust me to have two boys!

As I mentioned Jacob is the one who’s played it the most, as he won’t let anyone else on it. As well as making his own levels, he loves playing other peoples challenges. The way that you can share your levels with other players online via codes is really great.

 

Jacob loves watching his favourite Youtubers Super Mario Maker levels, and being able to use the codes to download and try them himself. That is probably his favourite part of the game. Playing the same levels as Yogscast and Stampy Longnose, plus levels made by his Youtubing heroes.

You can use the Amiibos you have in your collection to add to the fun in the game. By pressing them onto the Wii U gamepad you can make your Amiibo characters jump into your levels.

Super Mario Maker starts off quite small. Theres a little tutorial level at the beginning holding your hand as you start building, and then it’s you turn. However you might be surprised when you begin at the amount of things you can add to your level. However don’t panic this is just Super Mario Maker letting you in gently. Keep level designing and soon your first item truck will appear, adding more to your arsenal of blocks and templates.

It takes around a week until you will collect everything the game has for your levels. Every morning Jacob has jumped out of bed and straight downstairs to the Wii U gamepad to see what the item truck has brought him. He’s so excited now he has all the items.

Although you can play on the big screen TV as usual, It’s much easier to just take the Wii U Gamepad and build your levels comfy on the sofa. It’s great that you have the option of tv play or simply via the Wii U gamepad screen.  Especially since Jacob doesn’t want to let the game go.

Super Mario Maker is the perfect game for a creative kid like Jacob, he’s absolutely in his element throwing Bowsers here there and eveywhere. It’s really easy to pick up and start making your level, but making a good level takes time and patience.

This is something he’s starting to realise after playing it for 2 weeks, yes you made a level, but you could make it better if you spent a bit more time on it.

It’s definitely a game that he’ll still be playing just as much 6 months from now. I think his level making skills are only going to get better with time. Plus the whole Super Mario Maker community are going to grow as well, so they’ll be even more brilliant user submitted levels to play.

As you can see from Jacob’s video review, it’s a big hit!

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Super Mario Maker by Nintendo in order to write an honest review. All opinions are our own.

 

 

 

 

 

Dixit – Review

Dixit is a delightfully different and clever card based board game that we’ve been having lots of fun playing recently.

Dixit is unlike any game we’ve played before, it’s emotional, thought provoking, and had us in fits of laughter.

The game is really simple to play, although might sound a bit different when I try to explain how to play.

Each player has 6 cards. The storyteller of the round describes one of their cards, and the other players have to choose one of their cards that best fits what has been described.

You can choose to describe your cards in words, song even mime.

The chosen cards are then laid out and everyone guesses which card was the one being described originally. You get points if you were correct and move around the board.

That is a very simplified version of the rules, and it may not make much sense but it really does when you start to play. You’ll soon get it.

We started off simply describing the cards to ease our way into the game, but were soon miming, singing songs, dancing, poetry, it all started to come out.

The cards are so beautifully illustrated and imaginative that you can really get creative with your stories.  The remind me a bit of the illustrations you get on Tarot cards.

The best part of the game for me was the fact that everyone had fun. No arguing, no tantrums, just a good time as a family. Thomas who’s officially the most competitive game player, and worst loser in the world actually commented whilst laughing half way through the game that he was losing and he didn’t care as he was having so much fun. I was truly shocked by this as he can have such a bad attitude when losing some times.

It just goes to show what a good game can do.

Disclosure: We were sent a bundle of board games including Dixit by Esdevium Games to give an honest review

 

Rummikub UK Championships and Review

Have you played Rummikub before? Well I hadn’t and I don’t know why as it’s a great game. Highly addictive, easy to pick up and play, a great game for all the family.

To help promote the UK Rummikub Championship Heats which are taking place online at the moment,we were sent a big box full of lots of different Rummikub Versions, and we set about learning how to Rummikub!

Rummikub is a game which has been around for over 50 years. It’s a tile based game.

The aim of the game to use all of your tiles by placing down sets and runs of numbers. You can do this either by using your own tiles, or by manipulating the tiles already placed.

I’m going to be honest and say that initially I was apprehensive about wether we could all learn to play as it looked quite daunting. I couldn’t quite grasp what to do from the instructions, and as such was having trouble explaining the rules to the boys. So we ended up watching a few videos on Youtube and that really helped us. It’s so easy when you start playing, you just have to get it first.

We decided to try out classic Rummikub first. To play your tiles you need to have a run of 3 or 4 tiles, a run being either consecutive numbers in the same colour e.g. 1,2,3,4 or the same number in different colours e.g. 4,4,4,4  in black, blue, red and orange.

It’s a brilliant game for getting you and your youngsters brains whirring. It’s a brilliant brain teaser, and great for honing maths skills as you have to make sure your first move adds up to over 30, and from then onwards you add up your score every turn.

After that we had a game of travel Rummikub, which is exactly the same game just a handy miniature version perfect for holidays and train journeys.

In the picture the tiles don’t actually look that much smaller than the classic version, but they are. They’re Dinky.

Next up was  Junior Rummikub. We probably should have done this one first to ease our way into Rummikub, but we didn’t notice it until afterwards.

As you’d expect it’s a simplified version of the main game. However it’s not simplified enough as to be boring or too easy. It’s a great introduction to the game for younger players and again a great tool for learning maths skills and mental arithmetic.

The main differences are that you get little stars when you place tiles down, and that the tiles go from 1-10 instead of 1-13.

After we’d got to grips with the classic Rummikub the junior version was a bit of a step down and we weren’t as keen on it.

However I think we’d have enjoyed it much more if we’d played it first, and it’s a better version for younger players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next version we picked up was Rummikub Express, which is a quick to play dice version of the game.

As you can see our cat Harry was very interested in all the dice shaking and had to be part of the action.

Rummikub Express really is fast and furious. The game only lasts 6 dice throws for both of you, and possibly less if you can’t find any number matches or manage to place all your dice down.  At the end of your 6 throws whoever scored the most wins.

It’s very clever, and a really fun variation of the classic game. I would probably take both Rummikub Travel and Express if I was going on holiday or a day trip as they are both small and portable and highly enjoyable.

Lastly we played a few games of Rummikub Word. Which is the same idea as classic Rummikub, however using word tiles rather than numbers.

This was the hardest to play of the different variants for us, as my boys are very good with numbers but can sometimes struggle with spelling. For me it was a bit frustrating as I was trying to play properly but Thomas ended up just putting an S or Ing on the end of all my words. Not to say that’s not allowed, manipulation of the tiles is part of the game, however it did get a bit annoying.

I will carry on playing with him though as I know it will do his spelling good to play around with the tiles and give different words a go, however I think I would enjoy this one a lot more playing with someone older.

If you fancy the sound of Rummikub or are already a fan then why not have a go at the online UK Rummikub heats – but hurry as you only have until the 29th of August.

Signing up is easy – simply join the Rummikub Online Championships and register by visiting www.Rummikub.com, going on the Facebook page, Google Play or downloading the app.

 The highest scoring eight UK finalists from the Online Championships will be invited to take part in the Rummikub UK Final taking place in September in central London. The highest scoring player will then go on to represent the UK at the World Championships in Berlin, alongside their fellow Rummikub Champions from around the world.

As part of their prize, the UK Champ will win a round trip to Berlin including a luxury three nights stay at The Ritz hotel!  

Disclosure: We were sent the bundle of Rummikub games to review as part of our participation in the John Adams games group. All opinions however are our own.