We are working out way through some of the Dream Toys Top 12 Awards - one of which is Catcha Beast! by Ban Dai. It's a toy very much developed from the Tamagotchi stable.
Catcha Beast is a hand-held game - the aim of which is to Catch Beasts would could appear at any time around you. But you have to find them by using the digital compass, spinning in circles and reeling them in with the fishing rod like handle on the side. A little display shows you when the beasties are near. The beasts have names like Jewelogger and Skull Scissors. Once you've caught your beasts you can train them and you can trade them with friends who also have a Catcha Beast! Connecting with friends also allows you to play 2 player battle games.
A couple of downsides. As a not playful enough adult, I got as confused as I do with Sat Nav systems and couldn't really work it all out. But I'm sure kids will have a lot more patience than me and it is a toy that keeps developing to capure their interest. Like a Tamagotchi, the idea is to play with this toy over a period of time to catch and play with your beasts. Without a back light it's also hard to play in the dark.
On the plus side, it's inexpensive enough to call a stocking filler and the Catcha Beast does join other electronic toys such as the Wii and the Swinx in getting kids to move a bit whilst attached to their favourite gadget - which must be a good thing.
I found Catcha Beast from £17.99 at Amazon here.
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