Product Type: Mattel Doll
Newest Review: ... toy basically is. The toy shows the octopod just how it is on television so is immediately a huge hit with my children, especially my 3 yea... more
Octonauts To The Launch Bay
Member Name: arleek
Advantages: Like the show, lots of fun to be had
Disadvantages: No Peso
My 5 year old daughter is a massive Octonauts fans and the one thing she really wanted for Christmas was the Octopod playset.
For any of you that don't know, Octonauts is a children's cartoon, broadcast on Cbeebies, aimed at preschool and young children. The Octonauts are a group of 8 different creatures who explore the ocean. They have a base called the 'Octopod' and this is from where they conduct most of their underwater adventures and missions. The main characters are Captain Barnacles (a polar bear), Kwazii (a cat), and Peso (a penguin); also in the crew are a dog, otter, bunny and an octopus, you will also find a funny creature called a 'Vegimal' which I believe is part animal, part vegetable - these critters help out around the Octopod.
When I searched for the Octopod playset I was shocked to discover it was £35, which I thought was quite expensive, and then found it was sold out almost everywhere - so I knew it was a desirable toy and £35 was obviously a price many parents were willing to pay! Luckily I managed to locate one from Boots, and it was in the 3 for 2 offer, so I perhaps didn't end up paying the full £35 for it which I was quite pleased about. It came in a huge box so I presumed the toy was going to be massive, but once opened we realised the toy is a relatively small compared to the size of the box.
I seem to remember a certain amount of assembly was required when we got it out of the box, but my husband deals with this side of things so I can't remember whether this was easy or not, but I'm guessing it was just a matter of snapping a few parts into position.
***What You Get For Your Money***
In the set you received the main 'Octopod' which is made from plastic and has a central zone (or launch bay) which has 2 levels and also a hatch at the bottom (the Octo-hatch) for the animals to be released into the ocean. And branching off from the central zone are 4 arms on the end of which are separate workstations or pods for the different animals, and these are connected via a slide so once the animal has finished their work they can slide into the launch bay with ease. Also suspended by string from each of these 4 pods are various rescue aids (net, barrel, stretcher and anchor) to help them rescue wounded or distressed creatures from the ocean which can be raised up just by pulling on the string. You also receive Barnacles and Kwazii and 3 sea creatures with the set (eel, crab and turtle), and a Mini Gup-A sub which Barnacles and Kwazii can sit in and be dispensed through the octo-hatch into the ocean.
On the top of the launch bay is a large red button, and pressing this activates various sounds and phrases from the programme such as 'Octonauts to the launch bay!' (my daughter's favourite one).
***Octonauts To The Launch Bay!***
To say my daughter was pleased with this on Christmas Day is a bit of an understatement, she played with it most of the day and for most of the Christmas period. She doesn't play with it as much now because obviously the novelty has worn off and she is back at school so doesn't have that much time to play, but she still enjoys getting it out every now and then, and also my 3 year gets some use out of it during the day when her sister is at school.
I think you have to be a fan of the show and understand the nature of the show to get real enjoyment from this toy because when my kids play with it, they play like they are acting out parts of the show. They understand that generally the Octonauts go exploring in the ocean and often find a creature that's in distress and have to rescue it or make it better. They will sit shouting at each other that they 'need to rescue the creature' and Barnacles and Kwazii are bounced around the Octopod in and out of the different pods, creatures are lowered and raised on the various rescue aids and the Gup-A is used frequently for launching Barnacles or Kwazii from the launch bay. They get full use out of all aspects of the toy, and I suppose they use the toy to its full potential (and more now because my daughter received 2 of the 'Gups' for her recent birthday, along with another Barnacles and Kwazii so the play possibilities have now been extended, although a different character would have been nice).
My children, especially my 5 year old, find the programme really interesting, so I do believe this is why she gains so much enjoyment from the toy, because she can just imagine herself in the ocean, inside the Ocotpod and spends hours imagining various scenarios. What is disappointing however, is the lack of the character Peso, he is the penguin and the 'doctor' who makes the creatures better and tends to their wounds. He is quite a major part of the show, so it's quite disappointing to not have this character, and he is not even available separately (just more Barnacles and Kwazii!!)
After reading many bad reviews on Amazon I am surprised at how they can be so downgrading of this toy because I think it is great, and my kids have been really pleased with it. I think it really resembles the Octopod from the show, and although they could have perhaps made the 4 pods a bit bigger, and added Peso, I think it has been mainly well designed and my children really know how the work the toy to its full potential.
I would definitely recommend the Octopod to other young fans of the show, it is something they would really enjoy and I do think it is worth the £35 price tag, not only because it is well made but also because you get quite a few accessories with it and I do think it replicates really well the adventures that the Ocotpals get up to on the Octonauts programme, that is if your child has enough imagination.
You will probably have more success trying to locate this online, but I have seen it in Mothercare, Argos and Tesco, but often they sell out very quickly. Amazon is probably your best bet, and you can expect to pay around £35.
Summary: Great toy for fans of Octonauts
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