TOMY presents toys based on some of Disney’s hottest properties right now, just in time for the fast approaching holiday season. Lines include “Miles from Tomorrowland” based on the Disney Jr. animated series of the same name, as well as toys based on the summer blockbuster Pixar’s “Inside Out.” The following products are available at major national toy retailers, including Toys R Us, Wal-mart, Target and Amazon.com.
The “Miles from Tomorrowland Superstellar Blastboard” allows children to mimic Miles’s slick moves as he traverses the cosmos, right from their own living room. Kids, Ages 4-8, can put their balancing skills to the test practicing the game supported by lights and sounds. The difficulty increases with each passing level.
The game itself simply requires the player to lean in the direction suggested by Miles’s instructions. The Blastboard has four buttons on the bottom which register what direction the user is leaning to record their response to the game. The instruction is preceded by a corresponding light, so even if one is not sure of one’s left from one’s right or does not, initially, understand that “speed up” means to lean forward and “slow down” means to lean back on the board. The pace of the first level is certainly slow enough for beginners to get the hang of the board. However, it may be a bit too slow once a child has become familiar with it or is in the older part of the suggested age range. The game can also be played without Miles’s directions, relying only on the lights. Of course, one can avoid the game altogether and ride the Blastboard however their imagination directs them. Those are the three “ways” to play the Blastboard as described on the board’s packaging, which is slightly misleading. One can play the balancing game with or without Miles’s voiceover or one can “freestyle.” A far cry from the “three fun balancing games” referenced in the product description. That said, it is still a fun game and a great accessory for fans of “Miles from Tomorrowland.”
Additionally, the board has a weight limit of 81 pounds (37 kilograms). However, older kids (or adults) can still test their mettle by going “Simon”-style and using their hands to lean the board in the appropriate direction. The board is lightweight and even kids in the lower end of the age range can comfortably move it. It is also about the length of a children’s skateboard, so can fit in many toy boxes or storage bins or rest atop a shelf. It does not take up the kind of space as many other “ride-able” toys.
Also, from “Miles from Tomorrowland” is the “Stellosphere” vehicle with Miles figure. The Callisto family’s home base is a large spaceship which can divide into 3 separate ships. In addition to the main Stellosphere, there is a Mini StarJetter and a Zip Ship. The Cross Vehicle Rocket System (XVR) is a pair of rocket boosters, complete with lights and sounds, that can be attached to each component of the ship, as well as a number of other separately sold “Miles from Tomorrowland” vehicles. The main Stellosphere also opens up to show living quarters, complete with computer station and chairs. Towards the back is a “charging station” complete with a black light that plays off of the coloring of the figures to give a “glowing” effect. This is one of the cooler special effects for a toy that has come around in some time.
The Stellosphere comes with a Miles figure, with the rest of the Callisto family sold separately, and despite the images on the box, this Miles figure does not have a space helmet. While the entire Callisto family is unnecessary, it would have been nice to have another figure with this playset, even if it were a non-family member. With so many options, between the three ships and the living quarters, it is difficult to maximize with only a Miles figure. Is he even old enough to drive the Stellosphere by himself?
The Stellosphere is recommended for Age 3 and up. There is a lot of playability within this one set. This would make a great single playset for households with multiple children as there are various options for simultaneous play. Just keep in mind there is only the one figure included, but “Miles from Tomorrowland” has a broad enough cast to accompany both boys and girls when looking into additional figures. The separation of the ships and transforming of the living quarters does take a certain level of particularity, so it may prove frustrating or breakable for some children. For those children it may be best to leave the main ship grounded as the living quarters and utilize the other ships for space exploration.
For the parents’ perspective, there is no assembly necessary for the Superstellar Blastboard and only minor assembly required for the Stellosphere. It is limited to pushing in a few chairs in the living quarters and affixing a dozen decals to the various ships. However, one may be frequently asked to assist in changing the XVR from vehicle to vehicle as it takes some mastering. In general, there is something to be said of the lack of specificity in TOMY toys’ instruction booklets. “Remove XVR System from Stellosphere’s base” does not actually convey any information as to how to remove XVR System from Stellosphere’s base. That is not to say the instructions are not without value, however. The instruction sheet contains helpful hits such as finding where within the packaging the bag containing the removable chairs is located, as well as that the Stellosphere should be held from the bottom, not the top.
Next up from TOMY and inspired by the emotional characters from Pixar’s “Inside Out” are the “Inside Out Talking Plush” toys. These medium sized plush toys feature Riley’s five emotions from the movie. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust each have their own plush and, with the press of the hand, say one of several of their catchphrases from the movie. Kudos to Pixar and TOMY for so aptly capturing these base emotions in these characters. The personalities and phrases of Joy and Sadness, in particular, perfectly convey the feelings in which they are meant to represent. Which is all well and good when dealing with an emotion such as Joy with her inspirational messages, including, “Be positive,” “Another perfect day” and “I’ve got a great idea!” However, a few presses of Sadness’s hand may legitimately affect a child’s mood in an adverse way. That is how on point these talking toys are. After hearing “That’s Sad,” “Find the fun? I don’t know how to do that” and “I don’t think that’ll work” a few dozen times, it could actually make a person feel sad. If one is planning to pick up the Sadness talking plush, make sure to get Joy as well to help balance out these emotions. All of the “Inside Out” plush toys are recommended for Ages 4 and up.
Disney Jr.’s “Miles from Tomorrowland” and Pixar’s “Inside Out” toys are available now from TOMY. Suggested retail prices range from $19.99 to $49.99. They can be found at Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.com.