Tuesday 27 December 2016

"I live underground y'all are just tourists."

I love it when the boys get into making up a LEGO story and this one was all Opeie's idea.  He was desperate for the Killer Croc sewer Smash kit for quite some time and is so excited about the new LEGO Batman movie kits that are being released in 2017. It's going to be an Awesome LEGO year for super hero kits.

I'm sure we'll get kidnapped again soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday 20 December 2016

"I think every player should think that he's a difference maker."

As a gamer that spends most of my game time on a handheld console, it can be frustrating when I get into a game on our Wii U and don't have the time to sit and play for extended periods of time. Being able to take the 3ds about with me is a lot more convenient. There have been some amazing Wii U releases this year and many of them I have wished could be somehow moved to the 3ds so I could fit them into the times I can actually dedicate to playing. It's this frustration that is getting me so excited about the Nintendo Switch, I love the idea of being able to continue a game I am playing on the go and I cannot wait to give the console a try in 2017.
Until that is possible though I spend my time hoping that the games I love will be moved to a handheld platform. Recently I've been in luck (Twice). Since reviewing Super Mario Maker back in September it instantly became my favourite Nintendo release of this year and inevitably made its way to the top of my top 5 Nintendo Christmas List. Super Mario Maker has taken those Mario games many of us have grown up with and given the Nintendo gaming world the chance to design custom levels to share with people all over the world. This is what I have always loved about Nintendo, for me, they are at the peak of games design.

When I first read that they would be creating Mario Maker for the 3ds I was so excited and couldn't wait to get stuck in. There are some really creative levels that have been designed and I love seeing what people have come up with, The boys and I really enjoy making almost impossible levels for each other to tackle and the game has sparked some serious competition in our house.

I was actually expecting the 3ds version of the game to be really limited, but there is just as much going on. The only negative I have found and its nothing to do with the actual game, is that you obviously need to be connected to the internet to enter the course world and play other gamers levels. That being said though, as I sat outside Seth's school with the game on, I clicked on 'Mario Challenge' and I have become obsessed! At first glance, these not very challenging levels look simple to complete but when you add things in like not being able to use the left button or only being able to destroy certain bad guys, the levels become not only difficult but very very addictive.

Seth has asked for Super Mario Maker for Christmas and has refused to play this until then. With the option of being able to design levels and send them to each other, I've got a feeling we are going to be in for a pretty eventful Christmas day.

I did mention earlier in the post that there has been two occasions where a game I love has had the WiiU to 3DS cross-over, The second is coming soon. I cannot wait to get my hands on another of my favourite games in 2017 when Nintendo also release that 3DS version of Yoshi's Woolly World, Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World. 2017 is going to be huge for Nintendo and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Monday 19 December 2016

Living with the Secret Service.

It's an exciting time for kids at the moment. For years I have had many conversations about how much better it seemed being a kid in the 80's and for many reasons I stand by that comment. When it comes to toys though I can't help but feel a little jealous at what is available for kids these days. When I was young I wanted nothing more than to be a spy/adventurer. The Goonies was my big inspiration and Data (being my favourite character) was my daily driving force for solo activities to fill my time. I was constantly setting up booby traps for my family and desperately trying to find ways to make those 'slick shoes'. If the Goonies wasn't enough inspiration, there was always the bank holiday showings of the Bond movies to wet my secret agent appetite. 


The movies and TV shows were there but the world of toys just couldn't keep up with all those imaginative young minds. with the help of Spynet though they are definitely making up for it now. We've reviewed a few Spynet products over the years and what I love about the products is that each one oozes intrigue. also selfishly they give me the best chance to relive a youth I would have loved through the boys.

For me, the RC Recon video bot that we had reviewed a couple of years ago was everything I wanted as a kid, but that product kick started a love of spyware for the boys and we were soon walking about with a bionic ear and night vision binoculars, adding to our arsenal. Things had died down a little this year in the spy world, or maybe the boys were deep under cover? but it wasn't until last week that their love of the secret service was reborn. With new Spynet products hitting the shelves, the boys have been sneaking about the house acting exactly how I would have of at their age.

The video watch is a cool bit of kit! the mischief I could have got into with one of these back in the 80's would have been amazing. I'd have most definitely taken this into school and caused some trouble and Seth has said exactly the same thing. Being the responsible parent I am though I have discouraged this kind of thing. If I am honest though I wouldn't be at all disappointed if he decided too anyway, he's a kid after all, it's all part of the fun. You can secretly capture 20 minutes of video, 3 hours of audio or 2000 images (without the need for an extra SD card), all from the tiny camera hidden in the watch. You can also download an app for downloading the images from your watch which is great and there are downloadable spy games to play too.

As soon as we turned on the Spyclops bionic eye, I knew which one of our family of wannabe spies was going to be in complete awe of this product and it wasn't me or the boys. For a woman who is obsessed with picking, prodding and poking our skin at every given chance and who is always vocal about how much she would have loved to have been a dermatologist, this product had her hooked from the minute I plugged it in and held the bionic eye against my skin. With the on-screen images magnified by 200x, when it comes to your skin it's fascinating what comes up, especially when investigating my beard.  The Spyclops Bionic eye is going to come in very handy over the coming months for Opeie's science lessons especially because of the petri dish also included in the package. I just need to work on focusing a little more to get the best results.

I can't wait to see what Spynet come up with next, these products have opened the boys up to a world of intrigue and intelligent creative imaginative play. 

Thursday 15 December 2016

"I'm one with the Force, and the Force is with me."

I've felt a little naughty this December. After building Krennics Imperial Shuttle last week and feeling a little guilty that I was building it alone while the boys were in bed. I've found myself sitting here this evening building another huge Star Wars kit all on my tod. It's been a month of solo LEGO indulgence and secretly this time round I don't feel guilty at all. I'm loving having some 'me' building time and it has made me realise just how much I love building the kits as well as custom building.

I say 'solo building' but if I get the LEGO out when everyone is in bed then I nearly always have Polly joining me, she's a HUGE fan of the boxes.

As with all the Star Wars kits, I'd love to see a little more colour, but these detailed vehicles are awesome. Like Krennics Shuttle, the shape of the Clone Turbo Tank had me intrigued. I love how LEGO gets around the obscure shapes of each build. It gives me so much inspiration for my own building. The best thing about this build for me was the movement of the wheels, when you are actually building the wheel they seem over flimsy and just wrong, but once you have placed them on a flat surface the magic happens. These wheels are amazing and now that I've seen how they are built I think me and the boys will be building some similar vehicles over the summer to roam around our back garden and over the rockery.

The Clone turbo Tank reminded me of a Transformers Optimus Prime toy I had when I was a little boy. The tank looks great complete and the design means that you can fully open up every part of the build making it a great playable build. The Mini AT-RT walker also cleverly folds up and can be stored in the back part of the vehicle to be stored ready for action.

Included with the kit is Luminara Unduli, Quinlan Vos, Clone Commander Gree and the Elite Corps Clone Trooper along with two droids.

I couldn't resist taking this outside the following morning even though it was raining. The Clone turbo Tank is made for playing outdoors and we'll definitely be making the most of that once it's dry.

The great thing about a solo build is seeing the boys faces when they wake up to new LEGO to play with the following morning. Polly is always there to take full advantage of that box for a little longer.

The Clone Turbo Tank is just part of the huge selection of LEGO Star wars products available, including all the kits from the new Rogue one movie. You can find them all HERE.