Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reviews: Liv Dolls

Manufacturer: Spin Master
Age Recommendation: 5 and up
MSRP: $19.99
Intro Year: 2009
There's a dramatic new introduction in the fashion doll arena-one that's targeted to pre-teens who may be too old to play dolls in a traditional way, but who are into fashion, collecting and online communication.
The new Liv line is a collection of four dolls, each with a unique personality. The dolls have been designed to represent "real" girls, or at least idealized versions of attainable goals that pre-teens can relate to, rather than a total fantasy world. (After all for a pre-teen, that magical day when they become teenagers is a very real fantasy!)
Sophie, Katie, Alexis, and Daniela are fun, bold, funny, and have their own personalities. Sophie loves trying out new hairstyles on her friends because she wants to be a celeb stylist one day. Daniela loves to sing and randomly breaks into song wherever she gets the urge. Alexis hopes to launch her very own fashion line someday. Katie can totally grind on her skateboard, but trips just crossing the street. The beauty of Liv girls is that they embody real girls through their hobbies and fashion.
And just like real girls, the Liv girls love playing online. Their owners can join in the online fun at livworld.com. When you purchase a doll, you will also receive a secret access code that unlocks the Liv world. In this safe online play area, you can read Liv girls' super secret diaries, watch videos, play games, try on virtual outfits, and take photos of Liv girls having fun!
The dolls are just as much fun to play with offline as online. Each Liv girls doll comes with awesome outfits and two hairstyles, but this is no ordinary hair play. With Liv dolls, girls can really change a doll's hair through the use of wigs! Does Sophie want to go from blonde to green? How about giving Daniela super straight hair? There are two wig assortments, bold and sleek (sold separately), featuring exciting, colorful, and stylish new hairstyles for girls to try out on their dolls. Girls can even create the new looks in a salon setting with the Salon Set, which comes with a styling chair, two wigs, hair extensions, and extra accessories.
Once the hair is changed, Liv dolls will need new outfits to go with it! Girls can update their dolls' looks through Fashion Accessories Assortments, which come with a variety of items, such as scarves, boots, and sunglasses, or Fashion Assortments, which come with six fashion pieces and two pairs of shoes. These fashions are super trendy, while at the same time staying age-appropriate.
For on-the-go fun, the My Room Foldout Playset is the perfect 2-in-1 storage and play environment. Fold out the playset for a bedroom environment with armoire, dresser with drawers that really open, and a pull-down bed! This is the perfect place to store a Liv doll and her accessories-fold it up and take it with you!
These beautiful dolls will inspire play and interaction. The combination of real world and online play has been well developed and the world of the dolls is very nicely done and rich for play.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Ben 10: Alien Force Vilgax Attacks (DS, Wii, PS2, PSP, Xbox360. rated Everyone)
BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE: Vilgax Attacks is the latest game in the multi-million unit selling videogame franchise based on Cartoon Network's hit television series, BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE. Players will experience an action packed adventure in the vast ALIEN FORCE universe, as they take Ben and the Omnitrix into outer space and alien home planets for the first time ever in the series.

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 (Wii. rated Everyone 10+)
Hottest Party 3 is a dance/party game for Wii that takes the long-running DDR party to the next level. Bundled with the game's iconic floor peripheral, and including controller support for the Wii Remote/nunchuck controller configuration, and for the first time the Wii Balance Board, it is sure to be the life of the party and get you into shape. Game also include local 2-4 player multiplayer support, a diverse 60-song soundtrack, entirely new modes and more. Some of the song include the following:
"Disturbia", Rihanna
"I'm Coming Out", Diana Ross
"Ice Ice Baby", Vanilla Ice
"Just Dance", Lady Gaga
"Let's Get It Started", Black Eyed Peas
"Praise You", Fatboy Slim
"So What", Pink

DJ Hero (PS2, PS3, Xbox360, Wii. rated Teen)
The makers of Guitar Hero introduce an entirely fresh and innovative way to experience music and rhythm gameplay. DJ Hero features an amazing variety of music across genres – tracks that you love and reflect who you are. Using an authentic turntable controller, you will spin and scratch more than 100 songs into unique mixes and become the life of the party.

Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom (Wii. rated Everyone)
A greedy King as taken all of the crystals that make Crystal Kingdom colorful, and without them the Crystal Kingdom is starting to lose its color! Join Dora, Boots and Allie on an adventrue through storybook lands to recover crystals and save the Crystal Kingdom!

Hasbro Family Game Night 2 (Wii. rated Everyone)
All the excitement of a prime time TV game show in your very own living room! With Mr. Potato Head, himself, as your host, you are guaranteed to have a thrilling night of family-friendly fun. Hasbro Family Game Night 2 lets up to four players become contestants with a wide variety of fun and engaging party games. Win and collect parts for the coveted Golden Potato to become the ultimate game show champion! Pictureka Play with your Mii in the Hasbro Family Game Show!

Madagascar Kartz (DS, Wii, PS3, Xbox360. rated Everyone)
Madagascar Kartz is a kart/racing game set against the backdrop of the popular DreamWorks animated franchise of the same name. Experience the zany characters and unique locations of the Madagascar movies wrapped in the over the top fun of arcade style kart racing. Put the pedal to the metal Madagascar style with wacky karts, wild tracks, tons of power-ups and crazy kart racing action.

SpongeBob's Truth or Square (DS, Wii, PSP, Xbox360. rated Everyone)
SpongeBob SquarePants has gotten himself into quite a predicament. After being entrusted by Mr. Krabs to keep the Krabby Patty formula safe, he is overcome with grief for losing the recipe. He then relies on the help of the most unlikely companion, Plankton, who wants the secret Krabby Patty recipe to himself. With the help of his friend, SpongeBob must use Plankton's memory machine to retrace the happiest moments of his life to find the Krabby Patty formula in time for the Krusty Krab's Eleventy Seventh anniversary.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Astro Boy: The Video Game (DS, PS2, PSP, Wii. rated Everyone 10+)
Based on the movie, Astro Boy, the game is set in the futuristic Metro City, home of Astro Boy, a young robot with incredible powers. Astro Boy heads out on a journey in search of adventure in a world of robot gladiators, before he returns to Metro City where he finds his place in the world.

Backyard Football 10 (PS2. Xbox360, Wii. Rated Everyone)
Backyard Football is the best selling kids’ football video game of all time. The game features top NFL Superstars including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Tony Romo, Brady Quinn and more as kids.

Bakugan: Battle Brawlers (DS, PS2, PS3, Xbox360, Wii. rated Everyone)
Based on the wildly popular card game and television show, Bakugan: Battle Brawlers, is a video game experience requiring skill, strategy and imagination. Featuring a fierce assortment monsters, uncanny powers and amazing environments in an alternate dimension called Vestroia, the game lets you and your own unique Bakugan join forces with Dan and his fellow Brawlers as they battle to save Vestroia and ultimately, Earth from destruction.

Charm Girls Club: My Fashion Mall (DS. rated Everyone)
Charm Girls Club My Fashion Mall takes girls through a series of mini-games and mall drama" that allows them to make it the most fashionable mall ever! Emilie's uncle just opened the new Teen mega-mall but it's so not cool. As the experts on what's in", you and your BFFs are called in to transform the mall from drab to fab! Over 50 virtual charms to earn throughout game play.

Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop (DS. rated Everyone)
Mama’s heading back to her culinary roots with Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop. Packed with six game modes--including two new to the game franchise--all new recipes, ingredient shopping, dish combinations and multiplayer cooking challenges, Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop lets players explore their inner creative chef with everyone’s favorite kitchen cutie at their side.

FIFA Soccer 10 (DS, PC, PS2. PS3, PSP, Xbox360, Wii. rated Everyone)
The seventeenth overall release in Electronic Arts' popular FIFA Soccer franchise, FIFA Soccer 10 enables gamers and soccer fans alike to enjoy the nonstop action and fun of the #1 soccer game simulation, regardless of their skill on a real or virtual pitch. With FIFA Soccer 10, players can create themselves in game, join a club and compete against gamers around the world in online competition.

Littlest Pet SHop Friends (Wii. rated Everyone)
The second edition of the Littlest Pet Shop video game brings the party to you with a new cast of quirky pets and their best friends. Play tons of new mini-games and explore new towns with your favorite pets. With enhanced multiplayer features, you can even double your fun by playing with your best friend.

Marvel Super Hero Squad (DS, PS2, PSP, Wii. rated Everyone 10+)
Assemble your squad and fight your way to victory to save the citizens of Super Hero City from evil schemes of Dr. Doom and the Lethal Legion in this multi-player adventure game inspired by Marvel's animated, kid-friendly series.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Toy Guy on MomTV

Today (Friday, October 16), The Toy Guy, Chris Byrne, will be on MomTV! Tune in at 1pm (Eastern) to see Chris along with Jim Silver.

To watch, just go to http://www.momtv.com/toyguys.html 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Early Look at LEGO Rock Band

by Jeff McKinney (follow me on Twitter)


The Rock Band hits keep on coming with the latest installment in the franchises' popular music-experience video game, LEGO Rock Band. Hot on the heels of one of the most successful video game launches of the year--The Beatles: Rock Band--LEGO Rock Band combines the familiar Rock Band play pattern with the world of LEGO to create a comical, band-building, music-jamming game. In the game, players will build a band using the iconic LEGO people and then take the band on the road, sea and off the planet as they rock out to current and classic rock songs.

The songs included in the game should ensure that everyone playing can find a favorite, including: "Free Fallin" by Tom Petty, "So What" by Pink, "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr, "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi and "Song 2" by Blur.

Unlike other Rock Band and Guitar Hero games, LEGO RB is the first to appeal directly to families, kids and tweens and includes a new Super Easy difficulty level for beginners of all ages.

The game is sold alone and there are no plastic instruments like the ones The Beatles and Rock Band 2 came with. Those instruments as well as most Guitar Hero and other music game instruments will work with LEGO Rock Band. The game will be available for Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii, Sony PS3 on November 3.

Check out our Video Game Review section on TimeToPlaymag.com for a full review when the game arrives in stores.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Disney Sing It: Pop Hits (PS2, PS3, Wii. rated Everyone)
The third game in the video-based karaoke video game franchise from Disney Interactive Studios, Pop Hits features songs and videos from Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Hannah Montana. Fans can also sing to chart-topping tunes from Colbie Caillat, Coldplay and One Republic.

NBA 2K10 (PC, PS2, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii. rated Everyone)
NBA 2K10 is ready to tip off another championship season. NBA 2K9, the #1 selling NBA video game set the standard for all basketball video games, and NBA 2K10 aims to surpass that that by delivering an even better basketball experience this year with all-new gameplay components, out-of-this-world graphics, even more realistic Signature Style animations, all-new presentation elements and an unrivaled online system -- this season you won’t just play the NBA, you’ll live it.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- Republic Heroes (DS, PC, PS2. PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii. rated Teen)
For the first time ever, players can fight as their favorite Jedi and clone troopers from the animated television series in a brand-new storyline, which bridges the gap between season one and two. Built around two-player cooperative action, the accessible controls and family-friendly gameplay bring Star Wars fans across generations together like never before to fight the evil Separatists and restore peace to the galaxy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Time To Play Holiday 2009 Most Wanted

Predicted to be the most popular and best selling products of Holiday 2009, the Time to Play Most Wanted list is organized in ascending age order. Following is a detailed description of each of the 16 products named to the list. Would you like to see the items and find out why the editors selected each one? Then, check out the official Most Wanted page on TimeToPlayMag.com by clicking here!

(Mattel; Ages 3 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: basic dolls: $11.99)
Barbie has a whole new look-and it's all fashion all the time. Every girl can express her fashion personality with the Barbie Fashionistas. Each doll has 12 points of articulation, more than 100 different poses, and a distinct personality (Glam, Cutie, Girly, Wild, Sassy, and Artsy) reflected in her clothes and accessories. These dolls are really gorgeous and reflect today's girls' awareness and appreciation of fashion. The Barbie designers have gone all out to create dolls that work as play dolls and even as entry level collectibles. Plus, the lower price delivers great value without cutting corners on high style.

(Wild Planet; Ages 3 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $9.99 & up)
Color, build, and play in the world you create with Crayola Crayon Town where kids create an entire town, complete with three-dimensional structures to color and build. There are five themed collections, and each set includes Crayola crayons, coloring sheets, corrugate pop-up buildings, and accessories. Once the environments are colored and constructed, kids use the accompanying figures and vehicles to engage in their own imaginative scenarios.
But there's new use and life for the crayons, too. Use them to build different characters or pieces such as trees, animals, and other objects to populate your town. It's a perfect use for old or broken crayons, too.

(Mattel; Ages 3 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $59.99)
The classic dump truck just got a burst of personality! Meet Rocky the Robot Truck, a bright yellow and black, fully functional dump truck. Rocky is a free-wheeling dump truck, but he’ll have kids laughing and dancing as he stands up, squats, shakes, tells jokes, and even dances. Kids will delight as Rocky says, "Shake what your mama gave you!" and wiggles and jiggles to his own fun music.
Activated by interactive sensors and featuring motorized movement, his headlights flash and he says more than 100 phrases such as "Rocky reporting for duty" and "Let's get to work." His rugged design and full-tilting bed add to the great play value. Boys will be fully engaged as they get ready to load 'em up and move 'em out with real hauling and dumping action.

(Hasbro; Ages 4 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $29.99)
Design your own path to King Kandy's party in the Candy Land Sweet Celebration Game. Players link together individual paths to make up the freestanding game board, allowing players to shorten or lengthen the game depending on the time allotted. (This is a great asset for parents who can adjust the game based on their kids and the time they want to spend).
Game play is similar to the original Candy Land game, using color matching, counting and other basic preschool skills to create a colorful adventure. Players race through a variety of 3-D locations, and outwit Lord Licorice, to win the game.

(Cepia; Ages 4 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $7.99 & up)
Zhu Zhu Pets are innovative, interactive battery-operated hamsters. Kids will spend hours watching the hamsters talk and move around in specially designed playsets that kids can customize. The hamsters include two play modes: nurturing mode where the hamsters coo and purr and adventure mode where the hamsters explore their habitat with intelligent audio and mechanical responses to various habitat stimuli. It sounds high-tech, but these cute hamsters are easy for all ages to play with. One of the things we love about this is that the technology is virtually invisible. All kids see is a cute pet they'll love playing with.

(Spin Master; Ages 5 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $39.99)
Bakugan, a collectible game combining cards and dimensional transforming playing pieces has been a major hit among boys for the past two years, and the momentum shows no sign of slowing down. The next evolution of the game takes the popular pieces and allows seven of them to interconnect, creating the largest Bakugan character yet, Maxus Dragonoid. The pieces can also be used individually in the game. Your boys can follow the story; you just need to know they’re cool and in high demand.

(Mattel; Ages 5 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: Dora Links Doll: $59.99, Dora Fashion Doll: $19.99)
Dora the Explorer is growing up! She's moved to the big city, attends middle school, and has a whole new fashionable look. What's more, she now has a rich online world in which girls can explore, play games, customize, and solve mysteries with Dora and her new friends.

The line includes two dolls - fashionable interpretations of Dora as a tween. The first, the Dora Links doll, plugs into the computer and opens up an interactive, online world. As girls are playing online, they can customize their doll and watch as it magically transforms right before their eyes! Plus, as girls explore and solve mysteries online, the doll's speech will change to correspond with their play.
The Dora Fashion Doll is a basic fashion doll has the great look and fashions of the new, older Dora and inspires basic, open-ended play with a newly “grown up” friend.

(Hasbro; Ages 5 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $99.99)
The top-of the line Transformers toy is really five amazing vehicles in one. It was featured in the battle-fueled climax of the blockbuster movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Devastator is actually several vehicles (called the Constructicons) - Scavenger, Scrapper, Hightower, Overload, Longhaul, Rampage, and Mixmaster-in one giant robot. This is the must-have toy for Transformers fans who want to recreate the film's awesome action sequences or create their own.

(MEGA Brands; Ages 6 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $9.99-$34.99)
Battle Strikers are the ultimate kid-controlled spinning top battling system! The advanced design allows kids to customize their tops for ultimate performance - speed, power or strength. When the top is assembled, attach it to the handheld Turbo Launcher, push the button, and they power up. When the tops are spinning, a quick flick of the wrist drops them and they're ready to take on all comers. Plus, magnetized finger covers let you control your tops’ movements as they battle. The last top standing wins.

(Hasbro; Ages 6 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $34.99)
This is the highest dart capacity Nerf blaster yet, the next big thing from Nerf's popular N-Strike line of dart blasters. It features a collapsible stock and a new drum magazine that holds 35 darts and is interchangeable with other Nerf N-Strike blasters.
By holding the trigger and pumping, players can instantly transition between single fire and slam fire mode, unleashing a rapid stream of 35 darts! The removable shoulder stock and Tactical Rail System allows players to customize their blaster for each mission.

(Techno Source; Ages 6 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $19.99)
This creative activity toy leverages technology already in the home (computer and printer) to give kids hours of creative play. Design online at MyPrinties.com (a safe, secure COPPA compliant site), print on both sides of the Printies fabric sheets using any inkjet printer, tear along the perforated shape, and pop out the Printies design! Then stuff it and put it on display. The MyPrinties.com online studio features thousands of design tools and art elements to help kids design their Printies. The site includes quick-start templates, a sketch book, design inspiration, online tutorials, and more! It's so easy for kids to use and get creative!

(Spin Master; Ages 8 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $69.99)
Believe it or not, it’s the 10th anniversary of Spin Master’s Air Hogs. The new Air Hogs Switchblade is a two-in-one flyer unlike anything ever seen before in remote-control action. Hover like a UFO or fly like a plane - the Switchblade can do both through a magical in-air transformation using the latest in-flight technology. The incredible flyer takes off like a UFO and transforms in the air into a high-powered aircraft.

(JAKKS Pacific; Ages 8 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $59.99)
First launched in 2008, the Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles, have been improved with a better design that lets users see with both eyes instead of just one and a major drop in cost. The new handheld Night Vision Goggles allows visibility up to 50 feet in completely dark environments. This is real technology that really works, and provides a unique and versatile play experience for kids. Naturally, parents and caregivers will want to set ground rules with kids for how they use these and when and where they play.

(JAKKS Pacific; Ages 8 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $29.99)
Look deliciously sweet and stylish with your own unique, candy jewelry creations! The Girl Gourmet Sweets Candy Jewelry Factory allows girls to design, bake, wear, and eat scrumptious candy jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings! The set features a small baking oven and a variety of molds to create jewelry charms and sweet gems. The Sweets Candy Jewelry Factory includes a baking oven, molds, accessories, and more.

(LEGO; Ages 8 years & up; Approximate Retail Price: $12.99 and up)
It’s rare that we would acknowledge an entire product line, or, as one might say, a universe of product. But LEGO Star Wars truly ranks among the best of the best. Celebrating 10 years and as one of the all-time top-selling construction toys, these models and sets allow kids (and many grown ups) to replicate key items from the movies and create their own Star Wars worlds and adventures. There are lots of different sets at different complexities and various price points to delight the hardcore fan or the casual player.

(Harmonix Systems; Rated E for Everyone; Approximate Retail Price: $59.99-$249.99)
Who could have guessed that the band our parents listened to on vinyl records 40 years ago would become one of the most talked about video games of 2009? The Beatles: Rock Band is the latest Rock Band game and gives players the ability to jam along with the Fab Four or, at least, digitally animated versions, through a collection of songs that span the band’s career. Songs include hits from the early small club days in 1963 Liverpool such as “Twist And Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” to that famous final performance on the Apple Corps rooftop of “Don’t Let Me Down”. Plus, this will introduce a whole new generation to the music of The Beatles.