Having spent many hours exploring the toys and treats of Amazon, Argos and Currys PC World at their respective annual Christmas showcases in London, we round-up some of the best toys for the festive season 2015.
These are the Christmas 2015 toys your kids will be popping on their list to Santa; from Minecraft to Anki, and Thunderbirds to Lego. Even we might have to add our personal favourite, the Meccano Meccanoid, and be on our best behaviour in the hopes of receiving such a special present under the tree.
Thunderbirds Tracy Island
Thunderbirds are go! The classic series has been revamped for TV in 2015 and that means Tracy Island, the Thunderbirds’ base, is well and truly on the map.
The new toy model comes complete with all the classics, including deep-sea-diving Thunderbird 4, which can be deployed from within Thunderbird 2. A secret swimming pool reveals Thunderbird 1, which can automatically protrude itself out from the base, while Thunderbird 3 follows a similar suit above the control tower, complete with launch sound effects. Even Brains’ lab is accessible from the open back, to add to the fun.
No sign of Thunderbird 5 (the space station), but based on the anticipated success of this Tracy Island, we wouldn’t be surprised if additional accessories, including Lady Penelope’s FAB 1 car, appear in the future.
Nerf N-Strike Modulus (ECS-10)
Nerf, well known for its soft-dart toy guns, is going large with the N-Strike Modulus. As the name hints, this modular shooter can be constructed piece by piece, including using different magazines, supports and scopes (all available in the box) for a setup just as you want it.
Four additional accessory packs are also available which, if you buy them all, make for over 1,000 different combinations. It’s potentially endless fun. And it’s safe too, given the foam darts used.
After the success of The Lego Movie, it’s now the turn of Lego Dimensions to show off how well Lego works as an interactive computer game.
The Starter Pack includes a Lego Portal which can transport physical Lego characters onto the screen via the included game (so you’ll need to own a compatible console for this one). Your kids will need to use their brains too, interacting with the portal to complete puzzles on screen.
There are dozens of characters available, from Scooby Doo to Batman, through to Lord of the Rings and beyond, with optional vehicle and minifig packs sold separately. Just like real Lego these vehicles need to be constructed, adding to the fun of building, in a new, um, dimension. We love it.
Now your kids can take their Minecraft worlds with them wherever they go. The Gameband is a USB storage wearable that can be used to save and transport Minecraft worlds over to friends’ houses. It even offers a back-up service so worlds will never be lost.
Gameband is the ultimate Minecraft fashion statement, complete with 140 LED lights used to display animations which can even be programmed with your own designs via Pixel Furnace software.
Also on board the Gameband Minecraft are pre-loaded worlds, so whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned player, there’s something new for everyone.
Possibly the coolest toy we have ever seen, we get a sneaking suspicion that Meccano’s Meccanoid, the free-standing, voice-controlled, battery-powered robot, might end up in the hands of more adults than kids. Any excuse, eh, parents?
You’ll need to build Meccanoid, just like you would any Meccano product, before he’s ready to go. With light-up eyes and voice activation, he can be programmed via a smartphone app to perform various tasks. We asked him to move forward and back, which he duly did via his motorised wheels, but dancing, high-fiving, and a bit of chit chat are all on the cards too.
Meccanoid isn’t cheap, though, but there is a smaller version available for around half the price which we anticipate to be the more popular of the two available. Meccano is now cooler than ever.
Anki Drive, the physical racer with app-based weapons and controls, has evolved. Anki Overdrive is the latest and greatest iteration, allowing your kids to create their own tracks to play out their live-action race battles.
Think of it like a computer game unfolded into reality. Anki Overdrive isn’t just about racing, you’re able to fire virtual weapons that will physically slow or adjust your opponent’s course, creating a whole different kind of game.
Scalextric ARC One
Scalextric is the original classic racer. But with tech changing, and obvious rival Anki now strong opposition, ARC One is all about Scalextric modernising and moving with the times.
Available in a variety of packs, including the F1 package shown here, Arc One plugs in to any Scalextric track and, via a compatible app (smartphone sold separately), your kids can race one another, track times, and compete in tournaments, drag races and the like.
WowWee MiPosaur Track Ball
The app-controlled dancing dinosaur can now play chase, thanks to the Track Ball found in the latest WowWee model’s box.
Sync with a smartphone (sold separately) via Bluetooth and it’s even possible to trace a track for MiPosaur to follow, or live control the dinobot and generally annoy the household pets. In a kind way, of course.
Parrot MiniDrones Jumping Night
Parrot has updated its MiniDrones series to include a floating boat and self-righting flying drone. But our favourite of the bunch is the Jumping Night, a two-wheeled light-up drone that not only travels at considerable pace, but can also jump.
Using the app controls (which we find a bit complicated, but it adds to the amusement) to navigate, there are also virtual buttons to get a stationary Jumping Night to ping upwards and forwards. And we don’t mean by a few centimetres, it can launch a few feet into the air.
Oh, and when it gets dark the latest Jumping Night has LED lamps to illuminate its path. You can even watch where it’s heading via the on-board camera by glancing at the app’s live relay. Very cool.
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