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
Sound the Octo-alert - Mummy is rubbish at putting on stickers
Member Name: cha97mw
Advantages: lots of play pieces which are chunky and safe for 2-3 year olds to play with, well made,
Disadvantages: I would have liked more people in the set for the price of it.
My kids have always enjoyed the cbeebies series, 'The Octonauts' about a group of animals who have adventures and help other creatures at the bottom of the sea. I have encouraged this as I feel the programme is very educational looking at a particular species in each episode, as well as covering some quite complex ideas like symbiosis in a very simple manner which even a 3 year old can get some understanding of.
As well as satisfying my need to be educational, it also has a lot of emphasis on helping and sharing, so I asked my Mother-in-law if she would buy it for my youngest at Christmas time. I knew he would like it as they had got a small set of 4 of the characters free with a cbeebies magazine in the summer while we were on holiday and they played non stop with them even though they were a bit small and plasticky. We had a go at making our own model playset in a creative session, but as it was made out of yoghurt pots, cardboard tubes and cellotape, it didn't stand up to their play that well. I'm pleased to say this version is much sturdier and a lot more fun to play with.
The set looks really good, bright and colourful just like the Octopod ship that the characters use as a base on the show. It came in quite a large box, so initially I had to slot the set together. The main body of the Octopod was in one piece, but then there were 2 bits to slot in to each side of the set to have the seperate sections of the base. These can then slotted back out, but it is not that easy as they 'catch' in place, and you need to release them. We have not bothered taking it apart again to be honest. It is easier to leave it assembled.
There was a sheet of stickers which needed applying quite carefully to the areas in correct order. Thankfully my sister-in-law has much steadier hands than me and she took over this awful task as I struggle myself to get stickers lined up where they are meant to be in this type of toy. The kids were itching to get started as she was doing it.
The main part of the ship shows the main deck where the Captain sits looking at the computer display. There is also a lower level which has the area where the boats are in the show. The GUP vehicles are what the characters use to travel out into the ocean. There is a place to stick a sticker showing a set of monitors around the ship, and then the plastic is moulded with portholes, pipework and vents. The bottom of this level has the hatch that they go out of. This has a door that you can slide away by twisting a lever at the side of the set. There is a small blue vehicle which can sit here and when you press the lever it slides down and out the door on the front of the playset. This is a small niggle for me as this does not really look that much like the GUPs on the show, but if it looked more accurate it would then not fit through the hole, so I guess you have to compromise a bit on the design. The kids haven't commented negatively about it. They like it and the seat in it is big enough to put the characters so they are happy with it.
The arms then have rooms meant to be the kitchen, the medical room, and 2 bedrooms. These do look like rooms in the show thanks to the nice stickers so they look nice but really are a little small to put more than one character into.
The set comes with plenty of play pieces. Firstly there is a rope with something attached to it to go on each of the smaller pod rooms. These work on a pulley system, and they can be interchanged between the different pods if you choose to. There is an anchor, a stretcher, a barrel, and a net. These are easy to manipulate and chunky enough for smaller children my son's age (3) and perhaps a bit younger to use easily.
The best bit is that you get 3 animals which we have seen in the show. There is an eel, a snapper crab which has one smaller claw than the other, and then a turtle. Because each of these animals are featured in episodes we have seen on the telly, the kids know a few facts about them and it really helps the role play as they can recreate the ailments from the show, or come up with a whole new adventure for them.
The 2 characters that come with the set are the 2 most popular - Captain Barnacles the Polar Bear, and Quasi the Cat. I think really I would have preferred it if there was a Peso the Penguin with it too, seems though he is the medic and he is the one who treats the animals. It would have added a new dimension to the play. We have been ok as we have our own Peso and Dashi characters from our magazine freebie, and they sort of go with it.
The characters again are quite chunky and solid for small hands to play with. None of the bits are likely to fall off mid play, and they don't move, but the kids have had a lot of fun with this set, and I can't help but be impressed overall with the good quality of it.
The last feature is there is a part to the set that the child can clip onto the set or onto their clothes. This is the octo-alert button from the show, that the Captain asks to be sounded whenever they are about to set off on a mission. This is quite a large item so I am not worried that they will lose it, and it says a few phrases from the show to engage the kids. I think this bit really makes it the most exciting for them.
The phrases are:
Quasi - do you read me? (Said by Barnacles.) Aye Aye Captain. (Said by Quasi.)
Yow! (said by Quasi.)
Shiver Me Whiskers! (said by Quasi.)
Explore! Rescue! protect! (Said by both characters and with a jingle from the show.)
Sound the Octo-alert! (Said by Barnacles.)
Octonauts to the launch bay (said by Barnacles) and against the sound of the siren of the octo-alert.
We need to use the net to save the creature. (said by Barnacles.)
Ready for action, Captain. (said by Quasi.)
Last one to the GUP is a rotton fish egg! (said by Quasi.)
Overall, the set is a little pricey at between £28-35 pounds, but it is a good playset because it is high quality in its build and has a lot there to engage the children. It is not a cheaply flung together and ill thought out set. I do feel it is better for kids who have seen the show as they will get more out of it, and I would say it exceeded my expectations of how good it was.
Summary: A nice set that will get your kids playing nicely and recreating what they have seen.
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