The HEXBUG Crab: A “Wicked Fun” Stocking Stuffer For All
A HEXBUG landed in our mailbox early last week and my household has been buzzing about it ever since. My three year old begs to play with it, my two year old chases it around with loud, stomping feet, and even my dogs poke their noses at it when it pauses to take a rest. When I finally get a chance to play with it by myself, I find our HEXBUG to be quite entertaining, too. So, what is it?
What On Earth Is A HEXBUG?
HEXBUGS are micro robotic creatures, or tiny little robots formed in the shape of a bug, worm, or crab. Their clear plastic shells allow you to see their moving gears and parts while you’re playing, a great feature for the little scientist on your holiday shopping list. The original HEXBUG, shaped endearingly like a small beetle, changes direction in reaction to loud sounds and touch (physical obstacles). The new Crab, which I tested for this review, changes direction in reaction to light and loud sounds.
How Does It Work?
The HEXBUG runs on two batteries (replacements available at www.hexbug.com) and can be turned on and off with a switch, a feature that every parent appreciates. When the Crab is switched on and placed on any hard surface it will move autonomously in a singular direction until a bright light or loud sound “startles” it and causes it to make a turn. Because of its sensitivity to sound and light, the HEXBUG Crab looks for a dark and quiet place to hide. When it finds such a place it rests until it is once again startled out of hiding.
How Much Fun Is A HEXBUG?
In the words of my three year old son: “This is wicked fun!” And he’s right, the HEXBUG Crab is exceptionally fun for a toy that measures just under three inches. We have spent many chilly afternoons chasing the HEXBUG around our hardwood floors, shouting at it, clapping our hands, and stomping our feet to make it scurry in a new direction. We find it especially amusing to shut off the lights in the evening and chase the Crab around with flashlights. In the week since it arrived in our mailbox we’ve spent at least a few hours tormenting our little robotic friend. When we entertained a group of friends, children included, over the Thanksgiving Holiday the entire group of 18 people tried out our HEXBUG. The resounding report? The HEXBUG is fun for everyone!
Tiny Crab, Tiny Negatives
The HEXBUG is not recommended for children under the age of 3, due to small parts that can present a choking hazard (I let my two year old play with it under direct adult supervision). The HEXBUG does not work well on carpeted surfaces; it is best suited for solid surfaces such as table tops, hardwood or linoleum flooring, or pavement. HEXBUGs like to hide, but fortunately they emit a little robotic sound when they move and stomping your feet will arouse your lost bug and allow you to find it by following your ear. The HEXBUG Crab induces a lot of loud, enthusiastic play and is not well suited for those who like their children better when seen but not heard.
The Mom Review
The HEXBUG is a winner. It’s not a toy that does everything for your child, rather it encourages children to be active participants in play by hiding until someone engages with it. The HEXBUG Crab is simple and easy to play with; it does not require an array of accessories or add-ons to be fun. Stomping your feet, clapping your hands, and shouting at it are all easy ways to make it scurry, and a flashlight, which most households keep on hand, helps to encourage it out of a good hiding spot.
The crab-shaped shell, eight moving legs, and sideways walking motion make the HEXBUG Crab a believable representation of a real crustacean at first glance and the visible gears and parts make children of all ages want to pick it up and examine it. Everyone we introduced to our Crab, from the retired to the high schoolers to the toddlers, loved the HEXBUG and wanted to play with it. That broad ranging appeal, along with the respectable price point of $14.99, make the HEXBUG Crab a perfect stocking stuffer for just about anyone on your list.
Check out all of our reviews that are part Qwowi’s 2008 Tech Gift Guide.