Latest Toys at Sweet Suite 2021
The Sweet Suite event gathers toymakers together with influencers to give us a taste of their latest offerings. For 2021, it’s still an online event due to the Delta variant of Covid spreading around.
We cover new products including:
- The awesome Pixicade
- Bandai’s Gundam figures & Tamagochi Pix with camera
- Hexbug’s BattleBots & Junkbots
- WowWee’s HydraQuad drone & RoboSapien Remix
- Lego Vidiyo & ART projects
- NeeDoh DohJees
While I try not to get too attached to any one toy, I was blown away by something called Pixicade. It lets you create a video game for your tablet by drawing it on a piece of paper. I was really skeptical because I used to work with game developers; and I can tell you that there’s no way you can make a video game this way. Until now.
Just so you know, creating any kind of game is super hard, especially when coding the backend. But shockingly, Pixicade lets you completely skip this step (which is arguably the hardest part of game development), letting anyone -from a six year old- who can draw even simple stick figures create their own game.
You basically use different colored markers to differentiate your hero from the enemies, walls and obstacles. You snap a picture of your finished game on your tablet, upload it to the Pixicade site, which then translates all the objects you drew into a playable game. In about 30 seconds after upload, you can play your new creation.
Games are shareable on the Pixicade community. So if you’re interested in seeing what other people are making, you can try those games out too! And once a game is uploaded, you’re able to play it on a computer as well as a tablet.
There are two versions that you can buy currently. The kit ($24.99) comes with everything you need including 800 game uploads and the Plus kit ($34.99) has additional markers, color based sticker sets (of obstacles, treasure, heroes, enemies, etc) and 1000 game uploads.
More info: https://pixicade.com
Gundam Action Figures
Bandai USA has expanded on their action figures to include affordable, entry level Gundams! There are two different lines; the first is Infinity which is parts customizable and the other is Luminous with light up LEDs.
Infinity will include five figures in the first wave. What’s awesome is that you get a sixth figure (for free) as each of the five come with a piece of the sixth. Collect all five and you can build a full green Zaku. Pretty cool, right?
Each figure is from a different Gundam series and matches the Gundam Breaker Mobile game that you can download and play on your smartphone. Since you now have a physical replica of your Gundam mech in real life, you can follow what happens in your game with the Gundam model you have on hand. So if you lose an arm in combat and replace it with another Gundam’s arm in the game, you can also do so with an Infinity figure.
Mix, match and swap different pieces – it’s supposed to be fun, portable (around 4.5 inches) and the price is right ($12.99 MSRP.)
Luminous models light up via LED lights through various parts of the chassis, like the eyes and chest pieces. They’re battery operated (replaceable of course) and about 4 inches tall. They have a soft’ish plastic build which is good for younger kids and affordable at $9.99 MSRP. There are 3 figures so far including a Gundam RX-78-2, Char’s red Zaku and a green Zaku.
Currently, you can pre-order these from the Bandai store on Amazon.com – search for “Gundam Infinity” or “Gundam Luminous”.
More info: https://bandai.com/
Here’s a new type of Tamagotchi with a built-in camera and touch buttons. Taking pictures with your pet character, petting them with swipes across the touch buttons, and scheduling play dates with other Tamagotchi pets for a future date (you don’t have to play immmediately) are a few examples of what you can do.
The touch buttons make it easy for kids who are used to modern gear, letting them swipe and tap like they would on any tablet or smartphone.
The camera lets you to do some interesting things too without worrying about privacy. It has a built-in social feed which your pet can like (or not) with all pictures being kept local on the device (downloading or sending is not possible for safety reasons.) There’s a way to cook food using the camera which is fun also.
Unlike previous Tamagotchis, there’s no longer the continuous play with marriage, babies and the next generation to take care of, which can be tiring. With Pix, your character returns to the Tamagotchi planet once they reach adulthood and picks a career based on how you raised them. Then you’ll get sent a new egg that you can develop into a totally new being. It’s a high tech version of previous generations of this device!
Tamagotchi Pix runs on 2 AAA batteries in six different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese) and retails for $59.99 MSRP.
As a side note, if you’re into anime, you’ll be pleased to know that Demon Slayer, Evangelion and Hello Kitty Tamagotchi are now available too.
More info: https://tamagotchi.com/
With every new season of BattleBots (a Discovery channel show) comes a new champion. But the fight to the finish is long, and two teams (including the winner) get to see their creations get turned into toys that anyone can play with!
This year’s replicas by Hexbot have an added bonus – they come with two motors to allow for more complex weaponry. So instead of just a single hammer (for example) beating down on an opponent, the latest vehicles can wield dual weapons or have dual actions. And that’s what the latest season contenders, Whiplash and Sawblaze can do.
Each bot comes with a multi-channel remote so you can have up to 4 bots battling it out at the same time. And as you play with these beasts, it’s pretty awesome knowing that it’s very similar in the way they were being controlled during the competition. They’re also built to closely simulate how the machine might come apart if it slams into a wall or gets hit or flipped over.
For the stage, Hexbug also has the BattleBots Arena which is fairly large and integrates obstacles from the show like the rotating screws.
The Whiplash / Sawblaze combo sells for $69.99 MSRP.
More info: https://battlebots.com/
In a similar vein to BattleBots, HexBug presents their latest JunkBots toy, the Factory Collection. It’s an entire backdrop in the JunkBots world and includes 3 robots for this environment. The box itself is really large, but integrated into the design so there’s no mess to clean up when you’re done playing. You can easily open up or close the box to put away or take with you to a friend’s house if you want.
The ingenius thing is that parts of the environment (like the water pipes) can be used to build moving objects like vehicles, so it feels like you’re MacGuyvering lemonade with the lemons you find.
While not available yet, it’s worth mentioning the coming of the JunkBots multi-verse. It’s based on the popular Roblox online virtual world, with games, stories and interaction with other players. In this way, JunkBots is expanding from just being a toy to being an online gaming and storytelling community.
Also worth mentioning is the JunkBots tv show which streams on YouTube at the end of the month. It reminds me of watching Transformers episodes as a kid; it gave me the story behind the figures I owned and their role in that world.
So not only can you buy and build JunkBots toys, but you’ll be able to watch the tv show about them and play games in their universe too!
More info: https://junkbots.com/
HydraQuad Drone by WowWee
This remarkable drone is like a Navy SEAL; HydraQuad can be flown in the air, on land and under water too! It’s the first I’ve heard of that can do so at an affordable price. The shape is stingray-like for an aerodynamic design that works in all three environments.
On the ground, it can be driven like an RC car with the advantage of making 360 degree turns in tight spots (or spinning donuts without making tire marks.) At any point, you can lift off and fly it around like a regular drone, and be controllable up to 150 feet.
These are the two main ways you’ll be piloting the HydraQuad, and if it ever hits the water, you’ll be able to fly it out of there. There’s a switch for water mode which is cool, but water has a lot of drag requiring large amounts of power to run (meaning the battery won’t last as long.) I’d personally be really curious to try this in a controlled environment like a swimming pool or a large bathtub to see how well it works. I’d hate to lose it in a tangle with some lake plant or be swept away in a river so I’d avoid piloting in them.
Flight time is between 2-5 minutes (the 2 minutes is probably when piloted on water) and the LiPo battery takes 65-75 minutes to re-charge via the included USB cable.
It comes with an X-box like controller, additional propellers, and will be available in fall of 2021 (October’ish) on Amazon for a price of $49.99 MSRP. For ages 14 and up.
More info: https://wowwee.com
RoboSapien Remix by WowWee
The RoboSapien Remix is a follow up to the original RoboSapien robot, but for younger people ages 5 and up. It has the most popular features of the original and like a person with emotions, switches between 4 personalities; he might have been serious two seconds ago, but suddenly could get all excited!
You’ll know by the color of his LED eyes, which turns white when gets excited, green when silly, blue when serious, or orange when he’s confused. Each personality will have different things to say and do as you play with him.
Interaction with Remix is a cross between physical touch and voice interface. He’ll take action when tapped on the head, shaken, or when his belly button is pressed. Clapping also elicits a reaction too, so there are many ways to have fun with this little guy.
In addition, 4 arm launchers are included – one for each personality. A claw, plunger, a boxing glove and a mega-fist. The arms fly 2-3 feet with minimal force for safety since it’s made for children.
RoboSapien Remix will be available this fall (in 2021) with a price of $29.99 MSRP.
More info: https://www.wowwee.com/
Vidiyo – Create Music Videos (by LEGO)
They’re getting high tech on us. With the Vidiyo product line, Lego have integrated their traditional brick building with Augmented Reality for you to create music videos with special effects.
With every set, you become the producer for a music stage like the massive K-Pawp Concert, Punk Pirate Ship, or The Boombox. But if massive isn’t your thing, you can go with smaller stages like their Robo HipHop Car or Candy Castle.
All stages are compatible with the free Lego Vidiyo app (for iOS and Android), which lets you scan stage tiles called BeatBits. Each of these BeatBits unlock special effects to give you what you need to create your own music videos.
When it comes to music, you won’t be disappointed. Lego has partnered up with Universal Music Group to bring you popular beats from performers like Ariana Grande. The more sets you buy, the more your music collection grows.
The product will be available on or around August 1, 2021 on Lego.com. Prices range from $19.99 to $99.99 from the smallest Fairy Beat Box to the huge BoomBox stage.
For the more sophisticated folks who love a good wall hanging piece of art, LEGO offers amazing Art Sets for world travelers and even fans of Marvel, Mickey Mouse and the Beatles.
The final product can be hung on walls and almost look like computer rendered photos, but like other LEGOs, you’ll roll up your sleeves and assemble pieces of tiles (these in particular look like dots.)
The World Map is an awesome piece that lets you configure in 3 different ways, centering on the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, or Asia Pacific region. And when you’re finished piecing it together, you’ll need a wall space of 41” x 26” (that’s 3’ 5” x 2’ 2”!) that’s sure to catch the eye of anyone entering the room.
The LEGO ART pieces are quite beautiful to look at, but the challenge will be the time commitment needed to assemble it. If you’re a working adult, time is a luxury that may be hard to come by.
But I’ll tell you this… it’s so much more rewarding to showcase a project you’ve finished with your own two hands. Just be sure to have 3 things before you start; table/floor space, time, and the focus and spirit needed for the completion of your masterpiece.
More info: https://www.lego.com/en-us/themes/art
NeeDoh DohJees (by Schylling)
NeeDoh DohJees are the newest little figures by Schylling that are, just like NeeDohs, great squeezy fun! They come in various colors and each one holds a Teenie NeeDohs inside. Don’t like the color combination? You can always pick up a set of Teenie NeeDohs and swap them out. There are 24 characters that come in blind boxes, so it’ll be a surprise each time you open one. They’re inexpensive and fun to collect for $2.99 MSRP apiece.
And let’s not forget the popular NeeDoh, the soft, squishy ball-sized hand toy. It’s been around for 5 years and has such a following that the view count of TikTok videos around this toy is a mind numbing 85 million views! Well, what can you expect from a toy that’s sold around 15 million units?
There are several offshoots of the classic Needoh including the color changers that turn color when you squeeze, and shaggy NeeDohs that have stringy little fingers sticking out.
NeeDoh DohJees and other products are available at most major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and on their website at Schylling.com
More info: https://schylling.com/brand/needoh/