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

The Works 2 Christmas gifts for £10 deal – Review

I was very pleased last week to be contacted by The Works, to ask if I wanted to take part in their 2 gifts for £10 review. I was very happy to oblige as I love The Works, it’s my go to shop for school birthday party gifts, and christmas stocking fillers.

I nominated Jacob, Thomas’ friend in school, and my grandad to receive presents, and sent a bit of information about their likes and hobbies. The elves from Santas Workshop at The Works then went to work, scouring the shelves for the best gifts in the deal that they all would love.

I was so so happy when our parcel of surprise presents arrived, and amazed with the quality of the gifts which were all 2 for £10, and also in awe of The Works Elves amazing gift picking skills.

For my grandad I mentioned that he likes to read a good book, but about things like nature rather than fiction. He will be thrilled with his brilliant value book and dvd set about birds, and a book about trains used during the war.

Next was Thomas’ school friend Gemma. She 10, and into arts, crafts, fairies and everything glittery.

The gift of a beautiful glittery box of beads, and a fairytale story book couldn’t be more suited to her. She’s going to be thrilled with those.

And finally Jacob, who I said was 7 (nearly 8 as he will hasten to add) and loves arts and crafts, and building things.

He’s going to be over the moon with his Paint your own dinosaur set and Dino Park Bulding Lego style block set.  He was absolutely crazy about Jurassic World this summer, so these will go down really well.

Even though I’m used to The Works great value, i’m really quite surprised how many cool, interesting, and fun things that you can pick up at an incredible 2 for £10. Just take a look at the The Works website for yourself, and along with the above theres Magic sets, cookery books, Jewellery sets, books about space, and so much more.

 

 

Itty Bittys – Review

Last week we received the most brilliantly crammed full box of loveliness. A gift from Hallmark of some of their new plush collectable toys – Itty Bittys.

Itty Bittys are already a massive hit in the US and Australia, and I predict that to continue when they launch here at the beginning of October.

Firstly I love the name as it’s describes the product so well. Not only are they small, but they are unbelievably cute, and I think the name perfectly encapsulates that.

They are so small in fact that this is the little box we received to review.

And guess how many Itty Bittys were hidden inside?

 

All these guys. Seven Itty Bitty plush toys!

In our box was a Superman and Batman, cowedly lion and tin man from the wizard of oz, A Santa and Rudolph, plus a Snoopy.

Itty Bittys have a great range of characters from comic books, films, tv shows that both children and adults will know and love.

The first ranges to be released in the UK are Super Heroes, Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Scooby Doo and The Wizard of Oz.

One of the first Itty Bitty characters to go on sale will be Batman, which is currently the top selling Itty Bitty in the US.

I honestly love these Itty Bittys so much, and can’t wait to see them in Hallmark stores and add to my collection.

The great thing with them being so small is that they don’t take up as much room as normal plush toys, even smaller ones. I have just put lots of plushies up in the attic as I’ve no room for them. It’ll be great to have a collection out that I can see and enjoy, without worrying about space.

It’s all the little attention to detail that makes them so special. Like the fact that you can bend Batman and Superman’s cape, and it stays up so it looks like he’s flying. Also Cowardly lions mane is so curly and gorgeous, it feels so luxurious.

The boys love them too. Even my husband thinks they are adorable. We’ve all argued about who’s getting which Itty Bitty character. Jacob loves them as they are easy to hold and cuddle, plus their size means he has more room in his bed at night. Although we do spend 5 minutes every morning digging them out of the bedclothes.

I was surprised that although obviously Thomas and Jacob loved the Batman and Superman, they were also really into all the others just as much. Jacob loves Tinman especially, and for Thomas it’s Snoopy.

Competition

Thanks to the lovely people at Hallmark I’ve got a set of Itty Bittys to giveaway to one lucky Toybuzz reader.

Isn’t that awesome!

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below and fill in the Rafflecopter,  letting us know which character you would most like to see turned into an Itty Bitty collectable

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition begins 15.09.15 and ends 30.09.15 at 12:00. Uk entries only.

Lego Star Wars Force Friday

Never has getting up early before school been more worth it!

This morning our lovely postman rang the bell with a special delivery from Lego for us.

All in aid of Force Friday, the day when all the new Star Wars movie – The Force Awakens toys are released, which if you hadn’t already heard just happens to be today.

We received 2 brand new sets from the Lego Star Wars build able figures range. Theres 6 different buildable figures to choose from:

  • Jango Fett (RRP £14.99)
  • Clone Commander Cody (RRP £14.99)
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi (RRP £19.99)
  • Luke Skywalker (RRP £19.99)
  • Darth Vader (RRP £24.99)
  • General Grievous (RRP £29.99)

We were sent Obi-Wan and General Grievous, and were thrilled with them. General Grievous is arguable the best new character from the prequels, I mean he has 4 lightsabers, you can’t argue with that.

We didn’t have lots of time before school, so General Grievous is only half built so far (I’ll add a picture when he’s built). Thomas did however finish building Obi-Wan this morning, and he looks so cool.

He doesn’t look like he’s built out of Lego, it looks like a brilliant action figure or model. The way he stands up and holds his lightsaber is awesome. Plus he’s so flexible, you can put him in so many battle poses.  I especially like his wonderful flowing cape.

The boys didn’t have any trouble putting the sets together. It probably helps that they are both huge Lego Hero Factory fans, as the Star Wars buildable figures use a lot of the same pieces, and are built similarly.

Update: General Grievous is now finished!!

Heres a video of our special Force Friday delivery unboxing

As well as the buildable figures, there are 7 new The Force Awakens Vehicle sets –

  • Millennium Falcon (RRP £129.99)
  • Kylo Ren’s command shuttle (RRP £99.99)
  • First Order Transporter (RRP £79.99)
  • Poe’s X-Wing Fighter (RRP £69.99)
  • First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter (RRP £59.99)
  • First Order Snowspeeder (RRP £39.99)
  • Rey’s Speeder (RRP £19.99)

Jacob has already asked me for Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle for christmas. He really wants a Kylo Ren mini figure, with that super cool cross lightsabre.

He’s also got his eye on Poe’s X-Wing Fighter, as he’s after one of the super cute BB-8 mini figures. Plus there seems to be a lot of projectiles included, which is always a plus for him.

 

Thanks so much to Lego for making our Force Friday super!

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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.

Thunderbirds Are Go Super Cool Promo

Heads up International Rescue members! Check out this brilliant promo video for the new range of Thunderbirds are Go Toys by Vivid being available at Toys R Us.

As keen participants in the Thunderbirds are Go blogger missions, we were given an exclusive early access to the video, and obviously had to pass it onto you all as it’s so awesome.

Jacob laughed and laughed. He thought the idea of Thunderbird 2 actually delivering the toys to the store was hilarious.

We loved the ITV show, and can’t wait to get our hands on our own Tracy Island, Thunderbird 1 and all of International Rescue.

Think Thunderbirds are going to be top of a lot of christmas lists this year!

 

 

 

 

Thunderbirds Are Go Website – Review

The final part of our Thunderbirds Are Go Blogger Missions were to work our way through the Thunderbirds Are Go Website, and sign up to International Rescue.

Another pretty easy mission we thought at first, however we’ve run into a problem – Were having too much fun!

Honestly the website is jam packed with so much interesting things to do and collect, we have spent a lot of time this week playing it (and I mean a lot!)

The first thing you do when you log onto Thunderbirds.com is sign up to International Rescue. You get to choose a cool secret code name, and you get a certificate you can print off.  This is Jacob’s certificate, the codename he choose was GeostationaryDiagnostics37.

Once you’ve signed up and got your codename the fun really begins as you can start working towards your badges.

Theres 14 badges in all you can work towards collecting. You start with the codebreaker badge, as you’ll need the skills you acquire for all the other badges.

Each badge has a coded message part, which you have to decipher to continue. The codebreaker badge sets you up for this by having you crack the code. You can then use the code template to work out the secret messages and unlock the next mission badges.

Jacob and I recommend downloading the Thunderbirds Are Go app for your phone or tablet if you have one. It’s a handy gadget for completing the badges, as it has the deciphered code on it to help you gain your badges, and it makes you feel like a real agent.

As part of the mission I had a few questions to ask Jacob about the website:

  •  What’s your username?  Do you think it’s cool?

Yeah I really like my name, it’s very cool. It was hard to choose a name as they all sounded good together, but I’m glad I choose the name I did.

  • What stage have you got to so far?

Me and my mum had such a good time playing we finished all the stages.

  • How many challenges have you done so far?  Did you do more than one in one go?

Yeah, we finished all the challenges do far. We worked really hard as we wanted to beat the Hood. It feels go to have gained all the badges.

  • Did you find the challenges easy or hard?

Most of the challenges were quite easy. It just took a bit of time to scan the pictures to find all the objects and Hood Challenge pieces.

  • Have you taken on The Hood yet?

Yeah, We just beat The Hood. It was great to find all the pieces finally, and see the secret mission video.

  • Is the website easy to navigate?

I think it’s a good website. I like to look around at the the different characters and crafts.

  • Do you think you’ll go back to the website to continue taking the new challenges?

I’m definitely hoping that more challenges will be added. It’d be so cool to get my score up and earn more badges.

So as you can see we had great fun together on the Thunderbirds.com website, and thoroughly recommend you all check it out.

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

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.

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.