Innovation First, the technology company behind the smash toy sensation Hexbug is to expand its line-up of creepy crawly robots massively. There are new larger models for the main Hexbug family, plus special edition Hexbug nanos and new additions to its range of playsets.
It is the Hexbug nano range that sees the most amount of activity. Not only is the glow in the dark set, teased at last year's Toy Fair, now ready for public consumption, but three seasonal or special edition nano bugs are coming in the next couple of years.
For Christmas 2012, there will be a selection of the collectable automated cockroaches (which is how they move and scuttle about) that come emblazoned with a snowflake and sporting little reindeer antlers. There are also some that come with bunny ears for Easter, although these won't make it to the UK until 2013, sadly.
But the best of the new Hexbug nanos are the zombies to arrive in time for Halloween this October (available in the US already). Coming in a plastic coffin, the scary undead nanos carry a glow in the dark skeleton frame on their back, which can be removed. And shining a light through the nano itself will then reveal its guts. Yum.
We're not sure on the price for the new special edition nanos yet, but the original ones start at £8.99.
The company's range of playsets - "Habitats" - will also be improved in the summer/autumn, with the addition of a Construct System. These allow owners to add little obstacles and interactive elements for their nanos to explore, such as plastic car washer-like barrels and seesaws. They'll cost from £14.99 up to £44.99 when they hit the UK in August.
The actual "Glows in the Dark" line of Habitats and Hexbug nano collection are more imminent. Indeed, their actually available now. They're available as individual Hexbug nanos, starter sets and larger constructs, and cost from £8.99 to £29.99. All of them are similar to their non-glow chums, but the playsets are black (rather than white) and you can, obviously, play with them in low or no light.
Another new Hexbug that's already available to buy is the larva; a robotic slug, if you like. Switch it on and it slithers in a rhythmic flexing motion. Unlike the smaller nanos, it can sense oncoming obstacles and will therefore change direction as it sees fit. It comes in five different colours and costs £12.99.
More scary than the larva is the Hexbug scarab, a beetle-like robot that scuttles about like its namesake and at a fair rate of knots. It's major feature is that it can flip itself upright if it falls onto its back. The scarab too comes in five colours, but costs a little more at £14.99. It'll be in UK shops in March.
That's not even all, there's also a few top secret new Hexbugs on their way, although we're under strict instructions to keep them under our hat for now. Needless to say, from our play at Toy Fair 2012 in London, they all look amazing.
The future's looking very bright for Innovation First and Hexbug fans.
Are you a Hexbug fan? Let us know what you use them for in the comments below...