With Black Friday this week and the holiday season kicking off in earnest shortly after, this is probably the best time to start shopping for presents for the kids in your life, or even yourself.
The local representatives of Hasbro, which encompasses everything from Star Wars to My Little Pony, has sent us over a trio of potential gifts to pick up. We’ve been testing them out – and getting input from some kids – to see what they’re like.
Which ones are worth the money and which ones should you get for yourself instead of the kids? Let’s find out.
If you want to pick any of these toys up, they’re available from many stores across the country. We’ve included the recommended retail price (RRP) for each, but we’ve already seen some of them going for below those prices, especially with Black Friday coming up.
Transformers Cyberverse Spark Armor
It’s been years since we got our hands on a Transformers toy, and the Spark Armor series is rather different when it comes to ones we’ve seen in the past.
In the box you get two Transformers… kinda. This is because one of the Transformers will be a fully fledged Autobot or Decepticon toy with the ability to shift between robot and vehicle mode. The other Transformer is the armour for the other one in the box, able to go from a vehicle mode to an armour mode which wraps around the other.
While a few variants are available (see above), the one we got to look at was the Optimus Prime and Sky Turbine pack. Optimus Prime can go into a truck mode and back into a robot, as expected, but Sky Turbine works differently.
Sky Turbine can be transformed into a powerup for Optimus Prime, attaching onto his back and adding a pair of huge gatling gun. The real trick here is that the process of combining the two is spring loaded, with the toys suddenly coming alive as Sky Turbine wraps around Optimus Prime.
This is really fun to play around with and the spring action is a lot of fun. Unfortunately there are some problems here as Optimus Prime really struggles to stay on his feat once combined with Sky Turbine.
While this was also nice to fidget around with in a long conference call, we’d say this is more intended for kids to play with than anything else.
The Transformers Cyberverse Spark Armor series has a RRP of R499.
Nerf Rival Helios XVIII-700
Over the past couple of years we’ve had the opportunity to play around with several Nerf blasters and the Rival Helios XVIII-700 (that’s a very long name) has become our favourite of the modern Nerf lineup.
This blaster has two main selling points which allow it to stand out: a bolt handle which is ambidextrous and can be relocated to either side of the blaster, and a swappable magazine.
Using a bolt to prime your Nerf Rival Rounds (foam spheres instead of the regular foam darts) is immensely satisfying with a really nice tactile feel, and swapping it to either side can accommodate for your dominant hand as well as allowing different forms of play.
The magazine is another great inclusion here, holding all seven of the included rounds. If you have several of these magazines you can swap them out at will, and overall this system is more engaging than loading rounds one by one.
The only real downside here is the volume level of the blaster. The spring inside of the Rival Helios XVIII-700 is really strong, which means you can fling foam great distances, but using the bolt and firing this blaster is rather loud and quite noticeable if you’re doing it in doors. Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment or otherwise close to neighbours. Shooting blasters inside isn’t really recommended, however, so ignore this if you plan on shooting outside.
Part of the Nerf Rival series means that this blaster is available in both red and blue. You can see both above, but note that you only get one in the box. If you’re picking this up in a store you won’t make this mistake though, as the blaster is rather large at around 42 centimetres long.
The Nerf Rival Helios XVIII-700 has a RRP of R699.
Monopoly: Fortnite Edition
Both Monopoly and Fortnite are generally looked down upon by many. Monopoly for its rather simplistic rules in the age of tabletop games having a renaissance, and Fortnite is generally seen as a pastime for kids.
If you believe either of those things this product just isn’t for you. Getting around some kids to play this and they loved it, both because of their understanding of Monopoly, and its association with Fortnite.
As for us, we’d never actually cracked open one of these branded Monopoly sets. We’d assumed that it would be a regular game of Monopoly with renamed properties and such, but that’s not the case here.
Many of the regular Monopoly rules are changed. For example: there’s no money to be used here, as each player instead has a pool of health represented by tokens. There’s also a secondary action die that can be rolled to do various things such as healing or shooting other players.
While the kids really liked this we do have to point out some problems with adult eyes here. There are cost cutting measures, such as the player avatars being cardboard standees with a plastic base, instead of a small miniature. That action die is also not printed, and comes blank in the box requiring stickers to be applied to each side.
Monopoly: Fortnite Edition has a RRP of R499.