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

Our latest Ideal Games Group Bloggers Bundle

We’ve been having lots of piggy fun recently courtesy of our Ideal Games bundle of Pig related games.

We were sent Pig Out!, Pig goes pop! and the not piggy but just as fun Doh-Nutters.

All the games are perfect simple easy to set up action games for a family fun night in.

We let the games begin with Pig goes pop! It’s a game that the boys have seen advertised on television for ages, and have always wanted to play. So we were all really excited to get going and see what it took to make pig go pop!

The premise is simple. Load the greedy piggy chef up with food, and watch his belly getting bigger and bigger until the inevitable happens.

You roll the dice to determine which colour burger to feed the pig, taking note of what number is on the bottom. This number is how many times you need to press down on the pigs hat as he’s eating. Each press of the hat see’s his belly balloon a little more.

It’s an incredibly tense game considering all you’re doing is feeding the pig burgers, and it always ends up in erupting laughter when the pigs belly pops out and his shirt flies open.

A big thumbs up from Toybuzz for this burger chomping pig.

The next day we got ready to play Pig Out!

To play pig out you need to wear snout masks, you get four in total. You use these to snout around in the game board which is really a trough, well a trough that oinks actually.

To win the game you need collect one piece of each of the different pieces of fruit and veg with your snout. Theres Lemons, Oranges, Potatoes and Apples.

However it’s not as simple as just trying to get the food into your snout, which is tricky enough in itself. You have to deal with the other dastardly piggy players who’ll be out to steal your food for themselves.

When you roll the dice you can either be told to snout out some food, or steal or swap a piece of your choice from another player. So just when you think you have one more piece left to win, someone can roll a steal and take your precious food away again.

It took a while for the game to get going as you have to wait for someone to roll Pig Out to start, but then it was non stop until Jacob was triumphant.

Last but not least it’s that old favourite Doh Nutters, which seems to have been around for donkeys years but somehow I’ve never had the chance to play it. I’m so glad to finally get a copy of our own as I’ve always wanted to have a go.

Doh Nutters is the simplest of the games to explain, you wear an elephant trunk mask and try to get your three coloured doughnuts on your trunk to win. That’s it, but by Jove it’s fun.

I was surprised by how hard Doh Nutters was to play though. I knew it would be tricky, but we found it near enough impossible. Lots of laughing and shouting as the doughnuts get put on and then fall off the trunks, but smaller younger children who get frustrated easily could find it too much after a while (i.e. my boys)

 

We had some great games nights with all these games, but our top pick of the bunch would be Pig goes Pop!

Thanks to Ideal and John Adams for sending us such a great piggy games pack to review

 

Kiddizoom Smart Watch – Review

This time last week I was busy watching my boys climbing around in the trees, negotiating rope bridges and flying down zip wires, all the while filming their exploits on their brand new Kiddizoom Smart Watches courtesy of Vtech.

We had an amazing Day at Go Ape! Black Forest Park putting the Kiddizoom Smart Watch through its paces.

Vtech had planned a brilliantly fun range of tasks for the children to attempt whilst moving along the treetop course.

As they made their way along the obstacles they had challenges like “pull a cheeky monkey face” , “Film yourself howling like tarzan on the zip line”, and “Take a selfie on the balancing beam”.

My boys both loved their new Kiddizoom Smartwatches, which have the ability to take photos, movies, play games, record voice memos, and obviously help them tell the time.

The quality of the photos isn’t going to be rivaling your iPhone, but it’s a lot better than I was expecting. For a comparison the last Kiddizoom camera I used was the Kiddizoom Video Camera, and the video and photo quality are much improved over this. Thomas took his watch to school to show his friends yesterday, and I was actually surprised how good some of the pictures he took were.

The watches are charged by connecting it up to a computer by the included USB cable, so hurray no batteries.

When your charging the device you can also easily retrieve the photos and videos from the camera watch and put them onto your computer desktop. Thomas has already changed his desktop picture to one of the photos he took on the day from his watch.

Don’t take our word for it either, the Kiddizoom Smart Watch has today been announced as one of the Toy Retailers Association’s Top 12 Dream Toys of 2014.

The watch is available in three colours, Pink, the usual Kiddizoom Blue, and a gorgeous white version.

Both my boys picked white, and I was really glad they did. The white looks more grown up, and for me makes the watch look a bit less kiddy and much more fashionable. I would recommend the blue or pink for younger children, and probably the white from aged 7 upwards for this reason.

Thomas thinks he’s a mini Tim Cook from Apple wearing his Kiddizoom Smart Watch, he’s thrilled with the reaction he’s been getting from his friends whilst wearing it.

The touchscreen is responsive, and makes the inbuilt games like Finger Dance (my boys fave) and rotating puzzle really fun.

Even though the games are small and simple they’ve come into there own when the boys are bored in the car, or waiting in the supermarket, or going on the bus to town.

The cool thing with the rotating puzzle game is that any photos you take with the camera can randomly appear as a puzzle in the game along with the default pictures.

Jacob has even taken to amusing himself with the stop watch function. Timing how long it takes for me to drag him around Sainsburys, and how long it takes to walk to school.

With an RRP of £39.99 I think that it’s a brilliant value for money toy, and if you shop around you can almost certainly find it cheaper at the moment. However that’s if you can find it, as I can see it selling out rather quickly now due to its appearance on the Dream Toys top 12. My advice would be to buy early and beat the rush.

Perhaps the only thing missing would be a mp3 player and headphone socket. This would be the killer addition, however probably impossible considering for its size I’m surprised they managed to fit in a camera and video recorder. It’d be nice for the next model though :)

Thanks so much to Vtech Toys for arranging such an amazing day out, and for letting us try out these awesome Kiddizoom Smart Watches.

 

Rubik’s Speed Cuber Challenge and UK Championships

 

You may remember last year I became a ‘Cuber in Training’ and was challenged by Rubik’s to complete the cube in the fastest time possible.

Everything went quite well, and I think i finished with a pretty respectable time.

Well since my time in training, I’ll admit that I haven’t really kept up my new skill, and now seem to be back to square one again.

So when Rubik’s got back in touch with another ‘Cuber in training’ challenge, I thought it’d be a good idea to get back into it. Plus this time around I have a secret weapon to help me finish my cube even quicker, The Speed Cube!

The Speed Cube is the Rubik’s cube that professional cubers use to attain their amazingly fast completion times, and it’s also the cube that will be used weekend at the Rubik’s UK Championships this weekend.

The event takes place on 1st – 2nd November 2014 at The O2 Academy, Leicester, and current UK Champion Thom Barlow will be defending his cubing title.  The 2013 Rubik’s Cube Champion from Manchester last year completed the iconic 3×3 cube in a mind blowing 10.64 seconds average.  Thom has a battle on his hands though, as current UK record holder and new European Champion, 16 year old Alexander Lau will be competing and ready to take on the challenge, as well as previous champ Breandan Vallance.

The Speed Cube pack comes with the cube, some extra springs, some cube lubricant, and instructions on how to disassemble your cube to change the springs and lube it up for maximum speed and precision.

As a novice cuber, for me the speed cube has its advantages and disadvantages.

It’s definitely quicker to move the blocks around, and every block moves smoothly around with no sticking. I sometimes find that I get stuck mid move with the original cube, as it’s stiffer. So I can see how much of an advantage the Speed Cube would be for getting the fastest times possible.

However that also comes with the disadvantage that it can sometimes be too easy to move the blocks, and i end up moving too many at the same time.

At the moment I wouldn’t say the Speed Cube has made me complete the puzzle any quicker as I’m just getting used to it again. However I think with some practice I would see an improvement over my original fastest time with this new cube. I’m going to keep going over this week and see how I do.

The 2014 UK Rubik’s Cube Championships is taking place on 1st – 2nd November 2014 at The 02 Academy, Leicester.  For additional details about the event, visit www.worldcubeassociation.org. For more information about the Rubik’s Cube, including fun facts, visit www.Rubiks.com or visit the official Rubik’s Facebook page.

 

 

Skylanders Trap Team Launch Party

On Sunday we had a brilliant time attending the launch party of the brand new Skylanders game ‘Skylanders Trap Team’ at Royal Festival Hall in London.

Officially released today October 10th, we had the chance to test it out a few days early and can report that the boys both agreed that it is an awesome game.

In the latest instalment of the Skylanders franchise the new innovation is the trap concept. You get the ability to trap enemies into the newly designed portal of power, and then can temporarily play as your captured enemy through the level.

It’s a brilliant idea, and the kids absolutely loved it. It was such an exciting concept, and was exactly what the boys were hoping for. I think they’ve always harboured dreams of dreams of playing as Kaos, so it’s so cool that you finally can. Well if you purchase the special trap team keys that is.

You need a trap key for the element of each enemy you wish to play as, The starter pack helpfully comes with 2 for you to start with, and 2 new Skylanders. Including Jacob’s favourite  new character ‘Food Fight’.

Food Fight is a cool new character, which shoots tomatoes out of his gun. He’s so much fun to play as.

 

Whilst we were having fun playing Trap Team and enjoying all the other activities like the free sweetshop and ice cream bar, Kaos balloon modelling and Kaos caricatures. We also bumped into some celebrities having fun with their children, and Thomas had to stop and get a few photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as the new game, Activision have also announced a host of new licensing deals for Skylanders.

H&M will be expanding their Skylanders apparel and accessories for the holiday season.

An official Trap Team case is being launched to hold 46 Traptanium crystals.

Plus great news that The official Skylanders Universe Magazine will launch in the UK on 25th October,  and will be produced and distributed monthly by Immediate Media. The magazine will give fans the latest news and updates on all things Skylanders.

And Penguin will be releasing The Official Skylanders Universe™ Annual, which will be perfect for my boys for christmas. I always get them both an annual, so I know which one I’ll be getting Jacob this year.

It was a really great day, and we had a wonderful time. We can’t wait to check out Skylanders Trap Team more in-depth in the very near future. Stay tuned.

Crocs Jibbitz gets Zappar treatment

Jibbitz – those fun little charm accessories you can use to customise your crocs, have just got even more interactive.

Jibbitz have added Zappar technology to four new packs, enabling you to zappar your pack and use your new charms virtually as well as physically wearing them.

The New packs with Zappar technology are Battlefield – where you challenge Sarge in a paintball game, Pet Salon – Which lets you preen your lovely kitty charm, Race Benny with the Racing Car pack, and lastly take your picture with your beautiful butterfly charm in the Fairy Land pack.

We tested out the Battlefield pack – Perfect for my two boisterous boys.

After launching the Zappar app on my iPhone and Zapping the code on our pack, suddenly Sarge popped onto the screen out of nowhere barking orders.

The best part obviously though is the paintball mini game. Sarge appears in a tank and proceeds to launch paint at you, you have to dodge the paintballs by correctly clicking where the paint will land. If you don’t you’ll end up covered in paint, and it’s three strikes and your out.

It’s a fun added extra to your pack of Jibbitz, and eveytime Jacob sees the Sarge Jibbit it reminds him of the game and he wants to play it again.

The only problem I have is that the app won’t remember the Zappar code, so make sure you keep the pack if you want to play the game again.

You can press on Sarge’s head and he does a few different animations. Jacob’s favourite is when steam comes out of his ears and he then blows up and emerges covered in paint, he laughs and laughs every time.

The zappable Jibbitz™ charms are available now in both the UK and the US through Crocs stores and Crocs online, priced at £6.99/$7.99.

All new Zappar Powered Jibbitz for Crocs from Zappar on Vimeo.

Disclosure: We were sent a pack of the Battlefield Jibbitz in order to write an honest review.

Moshi Monsters Series 11 Countdown – Day 16

Moshi Monsters Series 11 Countdown

We are so proud that once again we’ve been asked to host one of the Moshi Monsters Series 11 countdown’s alongside a few other fellow bloggers.

Everyday from now until the Launch day of 29th August we’ll be revealing one new Series 11 Moshling.

Once we get to the end, it’ll be the big day 29th August – The day when you’ll be able to rush into the stores and pick up your own Series 11 Moshi’s.

So here we go it’s the big day.

Launch day is finally here, and by the time you’ve read this doubtless some of you will have already rushed down the shops to get some series 11 Moshlings of your very own.

The last Moshling we have to reveal is Weegul – The Wobbly Dobbly

Wobbly Dobblies are fangtastically cute but goopendously demanding, especially if they don’t get their way.

When they are not asking passers-by to plop glacé gooberries on their wafery horns, they are insisting on having their cushions plumped up and their backs scratched.

Weegul is a lovely cute little moshling. I love the Heart on her tummy, and her horn ice cream coney horn.

So that’s it. The countdowns all done for another Series. We’ve had a great time sharing all the new Moshi’s with you.

Thanks to Vivid Toys and Games and Mind Candy for letting us once again be part of the Moshi Monsters fun.