Dan here – This is part of our Real Dads (and Moms) Review The Top 16 Holiday Toys for 2010 series. We sent out the hot holiday toys to our members and in this series they are sharing their honest reviews before you waste any money on a flop! Want to get in on the fun next time – Join Us. Take it away, Noelle…
When Loopz by Mattel arrived, my 7 year old was ready to play it immediately. We fairly easily managed to remove it from its box and quickly attached the circular “feet” so it would stand by itself. While I perused the instructions, Isabelle started playing around with the game, figuring out how it worked—I will say that it was fairly intuitive to be able to get started playing it almost immediately. However, without reading the instructions, you wouldn’t know what the object of most of the games was.
Simon Says: Why Reinvent the Wheel?
Who else remembers the old electronic game of Simon? That game had four colored buttons, each producing a particular tone when it is pressed or activated by the device. A round in the game consists of the device lighting up one or more buttons in a random order, after which the player must reproduce that order by pressing the buttons himself. As the game progressed, the number of buttons to be pressed increased.
Loopz is basically an upgraded copy of Simon except instead of having to push the buttons, your hand simply needs to break the sensor beam in each “loop” for the game to register your touch or move. The big addition to Loopz are the “music” games. There are 7 games you can play. The last 2 are not games whatsoever; they are really just playing with the music bits loaded into the toy.
- Repeat the Beat: Repeat an ever-increasing pattern of lights
- Rhythm and Flow: Keep a song going by waving your hand through loops whenever they light up.
- Versus Mode: 2 players build their own sequence, each person having to repeat it and then add onto it until one player makes 3 mistakes
- Reflex Master: Tag as many lights as you can before time runs out.
- Musicology: Build songs, an instrument at a time, by repeating a random light sequence
- Freestyle DJ: Remix the music in Loopz by turning tracks on and off
- Music Studio: Pretend Loopz is a musical instrument. You can cycle through the different instruments to play and play a scale of 10 notes.
Isabelle and I took turns playing the different games. Her favorites were Rhythm and Flow and Musicology.
Here is Isabelle playing Musicology. To tell the truth, I didn’t even notice it was adding an instrument every time! Of course, instrument is actually a stretch of the imagination. But the cool thing is that the sounds do change with the game—it isn’t all the same tones.
How Much Loopz Can You Handle?
After about a half hour or so of playing with this toy, Isabelle had had enough of it. At my urging, we have played with it since, but for no more than 10 minutes at a time—she just wasn’t that engaged in it. The music is also not that great—it becomes repetitive sounding fairly quickly. I had troubles with properly breaking the sensor beam, which doesn’t seem like it should be an issue, but somehow the game wouldn’t always register when my hand was moving through the loop, which was very frustrating when you are trying to beat your kid at something and prove your reflexes are still just as good. You definitely need to have your hand be flat with fingers close together, not spread, or else it might not register. You usually got 3 mistakes before it was game over. Some of the games would pick up in speed the longer you went, which would obviously make it more challenging, but it would do it very suddenly. One of the other “flaws” to the game was that sometimes you needed to put your hands in two loops at once. Which works fine when they are on opposite sides of the toy, but is difficult when they are on the same side. And I had many problems breaking the sensor beam properly when I had to use both hands simultaneously. The game also would seem to give you different lengths of time to put your hands in the loops. Sometimes it seemed to give you lots of time, and others it felt like you were being quickly penalized—it certainly didn’t feel consistent.
Loopz Does Its Best Impression of a Motivational Coach
Loopz does award you “medals” depending on how far you get in each game, but unless you read the instructions, it seems pretty meaningless when it says you won a “Silver Medal, Level 2.” You can get up to a Platinum level (We haven’t made it beyond silver yet). The game also gives encouragement. However, mixed with “Try again!” and “You can do it!” is “You can do better than that!” (thanks for kicking me when I’ve lost, you stupid game!) and the taunting “Too fast for you?”
Pros and Cons of the Loopz Game
So the pros of the game are that it is fairly intuitive and quick to play and some of the games can be played with more than one person. The music piece makes it interesting, as does breaking the sensor beam as opposing to having to press a button. I am sure if you get really involved in the game, it can be challenging to achieve all of the levels of each one.
The cons are a high price point for what is basically a pretty simple game concept. It shouldn’t be a con that you needed the instructions, but when most electronic games are very much “plug and play,” this one required looking up what we needed to do when we couldn’t puzzle it out. We had some troubles with the sensor beam being broken and with how much time you had to break the sensor. There was a mixed bag of encouragement. And their idea of “instruments” is really just a variety of synthesizer sounds which can get pretty annoying. Also, neither myself or my child found the game all that engaging for any great length of time. Of course, different kids may not have the same kinds of issues we did!
Conclusion on Loopz:
If you have a competitive spirit, or your kids do, and you fondly remember Simon, you may like this toy. It certainly is a leap ahead of what Simon could so. I can see how it could become obsessive to master each game. But at a $29.99 price point, I feel it isn’t as engaging a toy as it should be. If it was half the price, I would consider it. Isabelle said what she liked about the game was the different sounds and how colorful it was. When I asked her to rank it on a scale from 1 to 10, she gave it a 5 and said she wouldn’t tell any of her friends to ask for it for Christmas. So overall, I do NOT recommend this toy.
|Noelle has been a children’s librarian for over 15 years. She’s also been a student teacher, worked as an online account manager, worked in a pet shop and as a supermarket checkout clerk, and as a dishwasher and fry cook. She is the proud mom of a beautiful daughter. You can read more of Noelle’s book reviews at Rave Reviews Log
Noelle can be reached at “Noelle @ DadDoes.Com”
FULL DISCLOSURE: We were crazy enough to buy this toy with our own money! We sent the toy out to Noelle to review – she gets to keep the toy and be haunted by its sounds. We received no money for doing this review and receive nothing if you do decide to buy the toy. This is a real review, by a real Mom (and her daughter)!
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