16 August 2018

REVIEW: Golden Snitch Heliball

They seek him here...

Obviously you've all heard of Quidditch, the wizarding world equivalent of football, made famous by the Harry Potter franchise. If you've ever fancied playing the game, but were left disappointed by the fact that brooms can't fly and magic isn't real (yet), you might be interested in this new toy. Combining two things we love: flying gadgets and daft living room-based fun, we check out the Wow! Stuff Golden Snitch Heliball.

Yes, this is a flying snitch, complete with flickering wings. Instead of using a magical charm to stay aloft and avoid capture, this Snitch uses two spinning pairs of propellers and a rechargeable battery. Juiced it up via the included USB cable, tap the single button on the remote control and the Snitch will take off and fly for a good five minutes or so.

You can't control the snitch, other than switching it on and off, and instead the heliball will fly itself... kinda. It uses a visual sensor to keep itself about four or five feet from the ground, and will wander around in the air, never getting too high (like hitting the ceiling) or too low (bashing into the sleeping cat). For the most part it will cruise around in a leisurely circle, making it a perfect indoor toy.

To be honest, there is a touch of magic to the snitch, in that when you reach out your hand to try and catch it from the underside, it will automatically increase altitude, moving up and away from you. Although an attempt to replicate the evasion that 'real' snitches are famous for, this is actually just a fun way to keep the snitch in the air and force it to go higher. Still, bloody good fun.

We found that the propellers were rigid enough to survive a crash landing (which will occasionally happen when it drifts into a wall), yet soft enough not to sting too badly if they hit flesh. In fact, an adult can confidently grab the snitch by the props and not feel any real pain, but kids should be careful. However, considering RC toys like this usually need prop guards to protect delicate fingers, this is good design work from Wow! Stuff.

Included in the box along with the Heliball, remote, and charging cable, is a little plastic display stand to show off the Snitch in all it's detailed glory, and also a very nice scroll. The scroll is actually wall-mount worthy, as it details the rules and history of the game of Quidditch; all rendered in Hogworts-like font. Nice work, and a great little extra.

Playing with the Snitch is great fun, and our younger testers delighted in it no end... until the battery ran out. Like most smaller RC toys of this price, the five minute battery life will appear to go very quickly, but at least a charge of about 30 minutes will bring it back for more fun. So, this is a fun thing, both for kids who love flying gadgets, and for those who relish anything to do with Harry Potter. Check it out.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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