My daughter received a game called Jolly Octopus last Christmas. It's made by Ravensburger and is available in most toy shops, supermarkets etc. It generally costs around £15.00 which I think is a little overpriced but not extortionate. It comes packaged in a large sized cardboard box which looks very eye catching. My daughter was very pleased to receive it, especially after seeing it on the adverts!
The game consists of a plastic platform, a number of plastic tentacles, an octopus head, a pair of plastic tweezers and a number of plastic coloured crabs. The game doesn't fit in to the box when assembled so you have to assemble and dismantle each time you play. This isn't too much of a problem as it's pretty quick and easy to set up - just clip the tentacles on, stick the head on top and place the crabs around the plastic platform. When assembled the game looks like a big green happy looking octopus sitting on a rock (with crabs scattered over the rock).
To start the game you must push down on the octopuses head. This sets off a harp noise and the Jolly Octopus begins to spin around whilst waving his tentacles up and down. When the harp noise has finished the first player grabs the tweezers and attempts to grab a crab of their colour choice from the rocks below the octopus. As my daughter is quite young (she received the game when she was 4 and now she is 5 years old) we usually just grab any crab to make things easier. Each player takes their turn to remove crabs. If you touch the octopuses tentacles (or 'tickle' them) whilst attempting to remove a crab, the octopus will stop and laugh hysterically. This means you lose your turn and the next player has their turn. The winner is the player who successfully removes all of their crabs first or who has the most crabs after they've all been removed.
The lower down crabs are easier to grab than the higher up ones, so my daughter usually sneakily removes the lower ones and leaves the hard ones to me! There are also 2 settings - an easier and harder setting, although I don't think there is a huge amount of difference (it moves slightly faster on the harder setting, this is the better setting for when adults are playing in my opinion). The rules are simple and are easy enough for all young children to grasp.
The game seems pretty robust, although there are a few issues with the tentacles. Sometimes when we touch them, it doesn't set off the octopus. Sometimes we touch the tentacles quite hard and he doesn't laugh, but other times we gently brush past the tentacles and it sets him off!
The game requires 3 x 1.5V batteries (which are included and our batteries are still working after a year) and is suitable for 1-5 players (although rather stupidly there is only one pair of tweezers included so you have to pass them around). The age recommendation is 4-99 years! We have enjoyed this game many times as a family. My daughter likes Jolly Octopus and will get it out from the toy cupboard every now and again, although I must say it doesn't get played with as much as some of her games (it's not one of her favourites). It's quite tense and can make you jump if you make the octopus laugh! My daughter thinks it's hilarious (I find the octopuses laugh rather odd, it sounds more like a monkey!). I should imagine that most young children would enjoy this game but I doubt it would seem very fun to older children (my 8 year old nephew wasn't too interested!). Each game usually lasts us a few minutes of picking and knocking the crabs off. I'm not really sure if I recommend the Jolly Octopus, it's not bad.. it's quite fun.. but it's not one of my daughters favourite games and there are better games out there. I award it 3 out of 5 stars.
Last Christmas my Grandma phoned to ask what her and my Uncle who lives with her could buy for my son for Christmas. I was a little bit stuck for ideas so gave my Grandma the three ideas that I had to choose from. My Grandma being my Grandma decided that they would buy all three for my son and one of the things she bought was the Jolly Octopus game.
Jolly Octopus is a Ravensburger game and whilst I haven't experienced any of their games before to my knowledge we do have lots of their jigsaws at home and I am always impressed by the quality so I was hoping for the same with this game.
The game comes in a thick cardboard box which does feel quite secure and like it would stand the test of time. The box has a picture of a cartoon octopus telling us to "catch the cheeky crabs but watch out for my moving tentacles" and it also shows some children playing the game as well. The idea of the game is that players should take it in turns to try and remove a crab from the main base of the game without touching the moving tentacles which will set the octopus off giggling and will not be able to keep the crab! The first player to get one of each of the four coloured crabs is the winner of the game.
We are told that the game is suitable for players aged from 4-99 apparently and that it should take around ten minutes to play a game. Two to five players can play the game and the game does require 3 AA batteries which are not provided. I always buy masses of lots of different kinds of batteries before Christmas just in case my son does get something which needs batteries as it would be frustrating for him not to be able to play with it.
Before you play the game you need to set it all up and despite the instructions provided we did find it quite tricky to insert the tentacles in to the main body of the game but this was mainly to do with me just being a numpty! Each of the tentacles has a shape on it at the end and this corresponds to a slot on the base and so you are able to match them up and set up the game. It is best to allow an adult to set the game up as moving the tentacles manually can cause damage to the inside of the game and would obviously render it useless. Once the tentacles are all added you need to put the crabs in the spaces on the base and you should place one colour of crabs on the upper level as this is trickier to get to and so makes the game a bit harder and more fun.
The game once set up does seem very good quality. The plastic used is thick and seems unlikely to damage unless you were to really mistreat it. The whole thing is really pleasant to look at too as it is so colourful with the green spotty octopus and pink, orange, blue and yellow crabs all around the "rock pool" base. I can see how this game would appeal to children and perhaps more so to younger ones in particular.
Once you have set the game up you can switch the switch in to the number one or number two positions to play and then push the octopuses head to begin. The number one is aimed at the beginners level and the number two is if you want to play the experts level. When my son and I first played this game we did pop it on to the number one switch and we did find that it was quite easy to get to most of the crabs without making the octopus giggle and so we decided that the expert level was going to be more challenging for us.
On the expert level it is harder to get the crabs that you need and it is certainly harder to do this without making the octopus giggle. When the octopus does giggle it automatically sets my son and I off laughing because it has such a silly but infectious laugh. It makes us smile as we play the game and to be honest this is the sort of thing I want from a game such as this which requires little mental skills and is literally just all about fun.
I like how the game takes only ten minutes or so to play because it is a good filler for when we need something to do for a little while or a good option for when we want to play numerous games in one day as it means we won't get bogged down by a long game. My son does enjoy playing this game as well and although it isn't one of his favourites it is definitely one which he has fun playing with me. I also like how I can set this game up and then leave my son to play with one of his friends because it is a simple concept which doesn't really need adult supervision.
The game is easy enough to dismantle after use and stores nicely back in the box. It would be nice if the tentacles could stay on the octopus in storage to make setting up the game a little quicker each time you play it but it isn't too much of an issue really.
I can't see this game being something that my son will play for years and years to come unlike the monopoly, jenga or connect four games we have for example but I do think it will certainly be played as a family game for another couple of years. The game costs £11.98 on amazon and does include free super saver delivery and for this price I cannot grumble at all. I would recommend it for children aged around 4-8 in particular and think it would make a good birthday or Christmas gift.
Thank you for reading my review!