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17 October 2013

FEATURE: Christmas Stocking Fillers - Toys

Buy and be merry.

In our recent review of the Nerf Mega Centurion blaster we wondered how the kiddies would cope which such a big toy. And so, ever eager to cater to all ages (and to play with toys whenever possible) we set out to find some great products for the wee ones just in time for Christmas.

Parents, stick this page under their snotty little noses and get your credit card ready.




Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Monopoly

Here are two concepts we never thought would meet, but indeed Monopoly have released a version of the most famous board games in the world featuring the most famous mutant turtles in the world.

Yes, at last it is possible to play the game that always seemed to turn our family members into money-grabbing Gordon Geckos as your favourite ninja turtle. Other than an aesthetic makeover of the board and brand new (and presumably highly collectable) playing pieces, the game is pretty much the same Monopoly we've been playing for nearly a century now - albeit with fantastical New York locations.

As a special edition this version actually works pretty well, and the dark and perilous world of the Ninja Turtles gels seamlessly with a game that encourages you to bankrupt your gran. We love the design of the board and the special Turtle Power cards.

Bagsy Raphael.

£29.99
Available from www.amazon.co.uk




Socker Boppers

Christmas can also be an extremely frustrating time. There's a lot riding on just one day and even the most festive amongst us will occasionally feel a slight pang of disappointment come the 25th. If there has been a lot of tension between the kids this Christmas, something that needs to be released prior to the Queen's speech, get them this.

Socker Boppers contains two pairs of inflatable boxing gloves of a size to accommodate both young and (thankfully) old hands. The objective of the product, which comes from British company Wicked (who make some fine boomerangs), is simply to allow the combatants to knock several shades of shite out of each other, without causing any serious damage - just what most families need at the end of December.

In practice the Socker Boppers are a mountain of fun and actually do allow you to hit someone quite hard without hurting them. Quick to inflate by mouth and made pretty solidly, they gave us hours of good old fashioned violent fun here at Test Pit Towers. You could use them to subdue the kids into eating their sprouts, or even to give them a walloping if they get too excited.

£10
Visit www.wickedvision.co.uk




Hexbug Nano Habitats

Ant farms are fairly passé and fish aquariums are just plain dull. So what can you get the kid who loves both gadgets and nature? Easy, some Hexbugs.

Tiny battery powered robotic bugs, the Hexbugs quickly vibrate and push themselves around on rubberised feelers. Oodles of fun, they also have their own range of houses; two of which we 'bugged' the hell out of.

The Watch Tower and the Infinity Loop are both largish play sets that allow your Hexbugs to skitter around while being safely contained. Taking advantage of the V2 Hexbugs (one of which is included in the box) which can climb, The Watch Tower set lets the bugs climb up an enclosed tube and explore a raised platform before climbing down. We were mesmerised watching the wee fella scurry up there and have a look around before descending.

The Infinity Loop is a simpler set that uses two interconnected plastic loops to keep the Hexbugs cycling around the course...infinitely. Or until their little batteries run dry, we suppose.




Both sets are tremendous fun - but probably more so if your sprog already owns several other Hexbugs. Although the included couple were a nice touch, especially if buying these as gifts for Hexbug novices, after a while we longed for the pandemonium that dozens of the blighters would cause.

Hexbug Watch Tower £34.99
Hexbug Infinity Loop £19.99
Visit www.hexbug.com/nano




Spynet Ultra Vision Goggles

Gone are the days when all that children wanted for Christmas was a bag of nuts, an orange in a sock and for mummy not to die of TB. These days children have other interests, and if we are to take the word of specialist toy maker Spynet, one of them is seeing in the dark.

The Ultra Vision Goggles is a nifty looking piece of toy-tech that bestows upon the young user the ability to watch out for Santa's approach in the dead of night. Not just a pair of night-vision goggles, the Ultra Vision features a heat-vision mode and the ability to record video via the addition of a (not included) SD card.

After popping them on we were bowled over by how good the night vision actually is. Effective to about seven or eight metres, the image on the tiny screen inside the goggles is pretty clear and thankfully features an adjustable focus. We stalked each other around in the dark for hours with these on, never tiring of leaping out to frighten one another. Yes, we are adults.

Although remarkable, its important to remember that the Ultra Vision Goggles are just a toy. If you or your future spy child are after something military spec, then look elsewhere (and for a much higher price).

Great for watching night-time nature activities in the garden, this is a must have toy for any budding Andy McNabs.

£49.99
Visit www.spynethq.com





Hopefully those four gallant contenders have offered some insight into possible chrimbo gifts. We'll be back with more under-tree fodder closer to the big day.
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