Furby Boom review

4 out of 5
£60

For

Cute, fun, design revives Furby of old, app works with smartphone or tablet

Against

Without the app it can quickly become tiresome, expensive

No, you haven't fallen into a time warp, the Spice Girls aren't playing on the radio, and we aren't all worrying about the Y2K bug; Furby is back, and vying to be the must have toy for Christmas 2013. Introducing Furby Boom.

Is Furby really all buzzwords and nostalgia, however, or is there anything new and exciting to justify spending almost £60 on the new fuzzy toy that wants to talk back. We've been living with one to find out.

Animated expressions

Furby Boom comes in an array of different cuddly pattern finishes. The exterior shape looks the same as its 1998 father, but there are some key technological changes - the first big one being the LED screen eyes.

No longer is there that vacant stare, instead Furby can blink and deliver multiple animations to help you keep track of your electronic pet's emotions, desires and this certainly brings more life to the critter. Which is probably a good thing, because they speak Furbish you see - a language that doesn't sound of this Earth.

Each Furby can end up with a whole host of different personality traits depending how you play with it. For example, it may get to like your own taste in music. Play it the same song or artist every day, and it'll end up dancing if it likes that specific choice. Ours has started liking Christmas music - how festively apt.

Cute and cuddly

All this artificial intelligence works to create a better toy if you are nice to it, but a worse one if you are horrible. You have been warned.

Ignore your new Furby and it soon gets bored and goes to sleep. Hug and tickle it often, and it will become docile and loving. Pull its tail and generally be mean to it, and you may end up with a mischievous, cackling beast. You get the idea - it's like owning a real pet, without quite the same hassle for the next eight years.

If you're flush enough to buy two Furbies, or a friend brings one over, then they can interact - which also influences behaviour. Put Furbies in close proximity to each other and they will talk to each other like nattering kids.

There's now an app too

There's often an accompanying app these days and the Furby is no exception, with compatibility with iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Although you don't need to use it to get Furby up and running it certainly makes things more fun, and like Tamagotchi - that other classic "pet toy" that came back recently - the app gives Furby a lot more purpose. You can do plenty of extra things like translate what Furby is saying, as well as virtually feed or shower it, and hopefully be nice enough for it to rewarded you with a virtual baby Furby. See what we mean about Tamagotchi? There are 50 to collect.

When it comes to feeding you can make a virtual sandwich from different ingredients within the app. When done use a swipe gesture on the screen towards the pet and depending on what foodstuffs your specific Furby needs or likes, you'll get different responses. It's fun, enjoyable and if you've got an iPad will keep your kids quiet for ages. 

Verdict

We have to admit when we saw the price of the Furby Boom we were a little put off because these toys can soon become tiresome - for both kids and parents. But Furby's revival takes a new direction: connect your little monster to a smart device, such as an iPad, and doing so really enhances the experience.

At £60 Furby Boom makes for an expensive Christmas present, but the more we've played with the little fella - we've called ours George (who said play in your thirties was dead?) - the more we see that there is plenty here to keep the kids entertained.

Furby in 2013 is a success, but if you've not got a smartphone or tablet compatible with the app then, be warned, your kids will probably tire quickly. It's the techie edge that brings Furby into the modern age - and we like it.