When I was contacted to ask if I'd like to review the latest collectible toy for kids, expected to take the UK market by storm when it launches this summer on 24th August, I rolled my eyes and said “OK, bring it on” ! After the girls have helped review Squinkies (here), Zoobles (here), Silly Bandz (here) and Littlest Pet Shops (here), I know full well that they will be swept up in the hype and think they're the best thing since sliced bread. Or at least since the latest collectible craze in the playground !
I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed when I opened the pack. The Bumpeez are composed of a circular chip (which reminds me a bit of Pogs – remember those ?!) that you can push into (and out of and back into !) the middle of a silicon ring. The silicon ring comes in a variety of different shapes, colours and sizes and each chip features a different cute character.
The girls pushed the chips in and out of the holes a few times, swapped over the coloured outer rings then went “Err … what are you supposed to do with them ?”! Time to grab the fact sheet that came with them. “Bumpeez can be bounced against surfaces to play tricks and games with different levels of difficulty. Bumpeez also have functional versatility in that they can be played with or without the silicon ring, with games available for indoor or outdoor use. 25 games already created and kids are encouraged to make up their own.” 25 ?! Wow ! Erm … I wonder what they are ! We had a quick brainstorming session and came up with – bouncing them off the wall to play catch ; bouncing them on the floor to make them go as high in the air as possible ; trying to get one to land on top off the other ; bouncing one and trying to get your friend to catch it (which means anticipating in which direction it will bounce) ; throwing them on to something resembling a shove ha'penny board or a dart board to get a specific number of points ; trying to make the tallest tower of them. Erm … there must be more but our collective pool of imagination ran dry !
I can however totally understand the appeal of the collectible aspect, which has been cleverly designed to get kids spending their pocket money on them to try and find the really rare, sought-after ones. “There are 10 different colours and 100 different characters with individual personalities to collect. The goal is to collect all the coloured chips with matching coloured rings. Omar is the lead character and therefore the rarest, with the highest trading value. Other characters include Omar's friends Robot, Pam and Johnny-Q.” Given the huge popularity of Pokemon cards, Silly Bandz, Panini sticker albums, marbles and all those other things that kids go crazy swapping in the playground, this will be big news. And they know how to crank up the excitement levels. “Special rare packs of Bumpeez contain Silver, Swirl (bi-colour) and Golden Bumpeez. Every Golden Bumpee wins a prize.” Ooh it sounds like Willy Wonka's Golden tickets !
I can never usually work out how kids can devise the relative values in their trading games but for once, Bumpeez makes it quite simple. Each chip shows you, as well as the character portrait, the number and name on the left and the game value, within a different shaped icon, on the right.
There will also be an online element, with the official website (http://www.bumpeez.com/) offering cool games and exclusive features, and an official Bumpeez facebook page coming soon.
Priced at the perfect pocket money price of £1.99 for a pack of two, Bumpeez will be easily accessible to kids so, once the craze inevitably takes off, I'm sure they will be regularly running to the shop to buy more and find that elusive colour/shape/character. At the moment, Sophie and Juliette's reaction to them was lukewarm but that's always the way with new collectibles, which only really become desirable when everybody else they know is talking about them and desperately trying to get their hands on them. I foresee lots of these hiding in Christmas stockings and brand new pencil cases in September !
Star rating : 3.5/5 (but that'll go right up when the craze takes off !)
RRP : £1.99 for a pack of two
for more information : http://www.bumpeez.com/
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