Robot Wars is no longer confined the the sentimental memories of parents. A new generation of British youngsters will be able to enjoy enjoy the carnage of metal, flywheels and pistons doing battle in a relaunched BBC 2 Robot Wars series coming later this year.
With this in mind, we were more than a little excited to see a new line of Hexbug robots at New York Toy Fair that offered a miniature version of Robot Wars-style battles. The US has a similar show called Battlebots (there seems to be some debate over which came first) and that has spawn licensed toys for the first time.
Hexbugs have long offered innovative robotic toys. Its new Battlebots range applies the company's savvy tech knowledge to recreating the robots that appeared in the show. Happily, many of these robotic stars crossed the Atlantic in some shape and form, so will be familiar to both UK and US viewers.
The line of toys offers a variety of prices and complexity. There are push-along robots for pocket-money change and pneumatic pump action 'bots that cost a little more.
The real action is with the infra-red remote controlled robots. These can be driven around an arena with a tiny controller that also triggers their various attacks. Bronko, Tombstone and Witch Doctor featured in our Toy Fair demo but we suspect that other robots will be added to the line shortly. Hypno-Disc is still a favourite of ours from the original run of Robot Wars, so hopefully Hexbug is in touch with the Beeb's licensing department too.
There is also added novelty with weapons that simulate damage to opponents. Each robot has a range of face-plates that can be knocked off by enemy attacks. Remove them all and you reveal the inner workings of the robot-toys and have effectively won the match.
Seeing them in action you get a feel for how competitive this gets. A testament to Hexbug’s robotic product smarts is that each robot feels balanced in terms of attacks and vulnerability. Children will each have their favourites but along with a killer attack comes a variety of ways to be disabled.
Perhaps the biggest question is how much the toys will cost in the UK and how soon they will make it over here. Surely rebranded Robot Wars versions of the Battlebots toys must be part of the Hexbug plan? Either way these will top Christmas lists for sure.