Electronic Test Tube Aliens hands-on

After a meagre outing last time around, Wild Planet and WowWee's Electronic Test Tube Aliens are back, and this time they're even more evil. They want to enslave the human race, and kids are encouraged to interrogate them to find out the details of their wicked plan.

Each alien comes in a cocoon inside a test tube, and will hatch once it is filled with water. They start out small, but over the course of 5 to 6 days, they'll grow to full size, and to help, the manufacturer supplies "Sloog" - the alien's food - which must be added. The water level must also be maintained, or else the alien might die. The lights in each aliens' head indicates whether it is healthy or not.

After achieving full growth, the owner must register the birth of their alien with the dedicated website at testtubealiens.com, which is also the place to go to grill the test tube critter. The aliens, you see, each have a light sensor in their head, which responds to flashes from the "web portal" on the site. It will then flash back and you enter the LED sequence back into the web page. An online translator will then reveal what this means.

Depending on the flash sequence from the site, the alien will respond differently, and with buttons to induce panic as you ask it questions, you can effectively torture the toy. Jack Bauer eat your heart out.

There are also buttons on the website that will ask the alien how healthy it is and when it was born, and it even remembers whether it has been fed or grown correctly.

There are six aliens in the new range, Atan, Koth, Sorom, Urg, Vako and Zurc, and each has a completely different set of answers to give about the invasion plans - encouraging boys to collect them all. And they're not toys that will be immediately discarded as initial rounds of interrogation will barely find out anything. Indeed, the aliens may even lie during the first few attempts, or talk nonsense.

Eventually, like Sea Monkeys, they'll die (as they will grow larger than the tube and the antennas, which use the conductive nature of the water to maintain the aliens' power source, will no longer work) but that just means that they'll no longer communicate. Hopefully, world domination will have been thwarted by then.

Each Electronic Test Tube Alien will cost £12.99 and be available from toy stores and online later this month (February). Check the official site for details.



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