OWTK Toy News & Reviews

NYC Toy Fair 2012 Recap: Xia-Xia Hermit Crabs, Zhu Zhu Puppies & DaGeDar

One way to judge the popularity of a toy is to hand it, as a complete surprise, to a child who’s age and gender are smack dab in the middle of the product’s target demographic. If you’ll allow me to extrapolate the reaction of a single 6-year-old to Cepia’s colorful Xia-Xia crabs to the entire population of young girls; this could be the most popular non-licensed toy in the world.  Imagine a bright mix of Hexbugs-lite and Zhu Zhu Pets with the adorableness of that cute crustacean from The Little Mermaid.  That’s Xia-Xia in a, um, crab shell.

It being 2012, there is a collectable element (the interchangeable shells) and a surprise factor too (the Kooky lil’ character inside), meaning that Xia-Xia features two of the most popular methods for generating excitement in modern young children’s playthings.

Cepia launched Xia-Xia last Fall but not at the expense of their bread & butter brand, Zhu Zhu Pets.  The once must-have line up hamsters has grown significantly since taking the toy world by storm several years ago, and the color palate and animal offerings are even more precious now.  How so?  Two words: puppies & kittens. I mean, c’mon who can deny Mr. Cozy a spot in your home?  Zhu Zhu Puppies and Kittens, who move in unpredictable ways, will be meowing and barking on toy store shelves this summer.

The look of the entire Zhu Zhu Pet line will be getting a refresh this year.  Thanks to a new color scheme and a more animated appearance, the Zhu Zhu packaging should have more pop on the shelf and peg. See the boxes of the new, larger Pets below:

DaGeDar, the weighted racing balls OWTK covered at length last year, is back with a new twist for 2012.  The packaging for the updated version of the collectible game for boys (and girls too!) isn’t finalized, so no pics, but I can tell you that the gameplay is going to be subtly different with new balls weighted differently than current DaGeDars, new tracks, and new ways to compete against your friends.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, check out the robust DaGeDar site for comic books, videos and more.

*OWTK attended a Cepia sponsored Toy Fair event in NYC and come away with a bag of freebies, including a couple of Xia-Xia crabs and a pair of collectible ’33’ DaGeDar balls.  The opinions above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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