Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Review: Hexbug Nano Habitat Set

Let me start by saying that MacGyver isn't a show made up by the writers of The Simpsons. Despite what my uncle (and probably loads of other people) thinks they didn't just make up something to be Patty and Selma's favourite TV show. Richard Dean Anderson is a real person, not a fictional character created for the Bouvier sisters to kidnap.

Not convinced? I have 4 pieces of evidence for this.

1. There's an entry on wikipedia for it. Since wikipedia is the source of all knowledge in the universe, it's a reasonable assumption that whatever's there is indeed true. Okay, so occasionally there's a mistake on wikipedia, which is why I am providing further evidence...

2. The opening titles are on youtube:

'That could have been made by anyone!' you cry, but there's more...

3. The complete Macgyver DVD boxset sits on my shelf. Actually, it doesn't sit on my shelf, it sits on the shelf with all the children's DVDs because my shelf(/shelves) are packed full and there's no where else for it to go.

4. I have a vague memory of watching it in my childhood. The memory is of an episode where someone gets eaten alive by killer ants. A bit like what happens in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, but with less CGI.

With Hexbug Nanos you can recreate this scene in MacGyver! I've since learned (thanks to my boxset) that the scene in question was in an episode called 'Trumbo's World' and the person who was eaten was Peter Jurasik, who later went on to play Londo in Babylon 5 (and some other stuff, but according to the Word of Me, that's his most famous role).

I was sent the Hexbug set from Find Me a Gift, and I admit I mostly agreed to review it because I wanted to know how the little guys walked around (the bugs, not the people who work at Find Me a Gift). Turns out it's a lot more simple a system than I thought, but it works really well so this is probably a good thing (I don't want to spoil it, but the answer is on wikipedia).

In the Habitat Set you get 2 bugs, plus a bunch of 'habitat' pieces which connect together however you desire. The bugs then run about the habitat.

And that's it.

Sounds a bit dull, huh?

The bugs come packaged in little plastic
test tubes.

Turns out, my boys love this. They like deciding how to set out the habitat and setting their bugs loose to run around it. They especially like closing the doors on the hexagonal sections to prevent the bugs getting into other areas. I suppose it gave them some kind of parental power ('you're grounded! no playing with your friends today!')

In the hands of a 3 year old

The bugs are alarmingly like real bugs, except you don't have to feed them, they're a lot harder to kill, and no one is going to scream if they find one loose in their bed. They're 4.5 cm long and make a small amount of noise, but nothing anyone is really going to notice.

Belly up

Being clever marketeers, the makers know that if you make something in a bunch of different colours, children will want to collect them all. This isn't necessary, however. We had plenty of fun just using the two bugs that came with the set.

The habitat can be set up in a variety of ways.

You can also buy additional bits of habitat. Shortly after I began to wonder if the bugs could climb slopes, I had a quick search to find that this (obviously) had already been thought of and you can buy sections of habitat to take it into three dimensions. Again, this set had enough pieces that the habitat could be arranged in a number of different ways, so buying more isn't a necessity.

The RRP of the set is £26.99 which, it would be fair to say, is a heck of a lot for what you get. Thankfully there's a big cross through this on Find Me a Gift and '£19.99' is written underneath which is exactly what I thought it would cost. So yay!

Overall, it's a great toy and my boys have spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with it. Though you may need to buy a few million more bugs before you can recreate MacGyver.

Oh, and here's one final piece of evidence (from 2min in)...

The Hexbug Nano Habitat set is available from Find Me a Gift for £19.99, along with a bunch of other Hexbugs Nano sets. They also have a large range Christmas gift ideas in their dedicated section.

No comments:

Post a Comment