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My seven year old was pretty vague about his Christmas wishlist this year, but one item that he had set his heart on was this Screature, an interactive dinosaur that squirts water!
The Screature was heavily advertised in the weeks before Christmas but didn't seem to be stocked in many places. I managed to pick one up from Argos for the standard RRP of £34.99, although the option for home delivery was out of stock for several weeks before Christmas. There was the usual pre-Christmas profiteering on eBay where this relatively small little dinosaur was listed (and selling) for anything up to the £80 mark!
The Screature is smaller than I expected from the TV adverts. After releasing it from the usual excessive packaging, it only stands around 20cm tall. It takes 3 AA batteries in total but comes supplied with 'demonstration only' batteries which we haven't needed to change as yet.
Despite a somewhat sinister appearance, the Screature is pretty cute and endearing for a 'predator.' (Although my two year old is a little scared of it and its unpredictable behaviour and says 'I don't like Screature!') When it is first switched on, it will give an authentic little yawning noise and if left undisturbed for any length of time he will start snoring and send himself off to sleep. The Screature has quite an impressive range of different noises and actions for a little dinosaur. It has three main sensors which activate its various responses. There are two sets around its nose which are cleverly disguised to appear part of the dinosaur's markings as well as 'petting sensors' on its back.
The dinosaur reminds me of a Gremlin both because of the naughty sounding laugh that it makes whenever it has either snapped at a potential enemy and because of its split personality. If you have the knack and treat the Screature in the right way, it will respond with genuine purring and murmurs of contentment. It particularly likes its back being stroked gently. Approach it in a threatening manner (face on so that the sensor recognises movement) and the Screature will either snap its jaw or, worse, release a long jet of cold water to scare the enemy away! I have to say, it is extremely clever and well-designed and did prove a talking point with all visitors over the Christmas period!
As a boys' toy, the Screature appears to be suitably durable and all of its limbs and connections seem secure and unlikely to suffer any real damage during typical play. There is a small compartment under one of its feet which is where the water is stored for Screature's surprise attacks. I was a little surprised to notice that the battery compartment is actually under the other foot meaning that water and batteries are going to end up being in close proximity, which is not always the best of combinations! Fortunately, we haven't had any mishaps as yet.
As mentioned, the water compartment is very small which means that Screature can only manage two or three water jet attacks before it exhausts its supplies. If your child is particularly found of this feature, it does mean quite a few trips to keep refilling the water up. I'm quite grateful that the water compartment is so small, being on the receiving end of a fair few soakings from Screature!
I have to say that, for the price I paid, the Screature is a fairly endearing and entertaining little toy that will delight the age group it is aimed at. I would say little boys from around 4-10 years old would most appreciate this toy, although all of the adults that see it have also been fascinated and either delighted or horrified by it, dependent on whether or not they have been on the receiving end of a good soaking! Had I paid much more than this, I would be more than a little disappointed. This certainly isn't a toy that will keep children occupied for any real length of time. It's only a couple of weeks since Christmas and, already, our Screature is lurking in the depths of the toy box, its novelty value quickly forgotten about.
That essentially is what this toy is. It is cute and entertaining and the added excitement and amusement of also being a water pistol makes this great fun, but it isn't something that will be played with on a regular basis. I certainly wouldn't recommend paying over the odds for it but it is a harmless and entertaining toy (albeit for a limited time.)