The holiday season is upon us, which means holiday shopping. Particularly in the pop culture world, it can be hard to figure out what to get someone. LA Fan Cultures Examiner has compiled a list of some of the fan-friendly merchandise available on the market this holiday season, whether it’s an established toy brand that’s bringing new product to the shelves or some new licensed gifts that might be of interest to the fan in your life.
Read through our list for a variety of capsule product reviews. We’ve included toys for boys, girls, and adults. There are products that can be used alone, or shared with family and friends. Some are inexpensive suggestions for the holiday season and others are for those who might want something a bit bigger. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, hopefully we’ll help you find something that you or someone you love will enjoy this holiday.
For more merchandise buzz, check out our recent review of Loot Crate’s newly launched Loot Anime subscription box service.
Radio Flyer Battery Powered Moto Racer
The Radio Flyer Battery Powered Moto Racer should appeal to all young kids who want to be race car drivers (which is a lot). With its racing livery and bright colors, it’s kid-friendly and fun to drive, but more importantly parents will love it. A top speed of 2 MPH and a wide footrest mean that it’s far less likely for a child to go too fast or to fall off, and the fact that it’s plastic means the racer can take some wear and tear. If you’re looking for a first riding toy, this is the one. ($89.99, RadioFlyer.com)
DohVinci Spotlight Spin Studio
Hasbro’s DohVinci product line is one of the better known names when it comes to arts and crafts toys on the market. Their newest addition is the Spotlight Spin Studio, which is sort of like a pottery wheel without the mess of clay. Kids load a tube of color into the Styler device and then use that plus the motorized platform to create art projects. Includes 1 device and 5 art projects, plus can be used freestyle. ($29.99)
Jurassic World Sound & Action Figures
Universal’s Jurassic World was a huge hit this summer, so Hasbro rolled out another branded line of dinosaur toys to go with it. The more expensive ones have sounds and/or actions, whether it’s the Indomitus Rex that chomps (pictured) or the stomping Tyrannosaurus Rex. If you remember past Jurassic toys, these are more of the same and are a solid go-to for dino loving kids. ($34.99)
‘Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers’ Board Game
Magic: The Gathering has to be one of the most enduring fantasy brands. Hasbro Gaming has turned the long-running collectible card game into a tabletop strategy game, to strong success. Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers will appeal to the old-school fans who love the CCG, but you don’t have to have played it to enjoy this game. Think of it like Risk, only with magic. There are some extra steps because of the fantasy element, but it’s a quick study and a great party game that will keep you busy for hours. ($29.99)
‘Monopoly: Here and Now’ Board Game
It seems like every year there’s at least one new version of Monopoly. With Monopoly: Here and Now, Hasbro Gaming has replaced the old standbys with current cities and properties. Otherwise, there’s not much difference. Railroads are now airports, and players now must fill plastic passports to win. Unless you want to argue with your friends over who bought New York, you can stick to your original edition of this classic game. ($19.99)
Nerf N-Strike Mega Series Rotofury Blaster
NERF guns never seem to go out of style, and the company has launched a few more new ones this holiday season. The N-Strike Mega Series Rotofury Blaster (try saying that three times fast!) is the biggest of the bunch, with a rotating drum to hold ten darts. Its major plus is that unlike some other large play guns, it’s not that heavy to lift and move around with, which is the entire point. It’s not as manueverable as others, but you’ll be able to carry it with ease. ($34.99)
NERF N-Strike Thunderblast Launcher
For those who prefer a few well-aimed shots, NERF has created the N-Strike Thunderblast Launcher, which takes larger foam “missiles” instead of darts. The major con? It only comes with two of them, so while your shots may pack a bigger punch, you’ll have to reload in a matter of minutes. This is a good idea, but it doesn’t work so well in execution. ($24.99)
NERF N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster
Here’s the best NERF gun you can buy all season. The N-Strike Modulous ECS-10 Blaster is more expensive than your standard NERF gun, but that’s because you can actually use it as is or disassemble it to make several other, smaller weapons. In essence, you’re purchasing multiple guns in one package instead of having to have a whole arsenal clutter up the closet. The Modulus is easy to put together and take apart, and the most fun of the bunch. ($49.99)
Play-Doh Cupcake Celebration Playset
For those kids who like building rather than breaking, another holiday stand-by is Play-Doh, which has added the Cupcake Celebration Playset to its food-themed roster. The ferris wheel part is basically decorative, but it does come with various other tools including a sprinkle crank and a circus tent-themed mold. A small, simple playset for younger audiences. ($19.99)
Playmation Starter Pack
Playmation is Hasbro’s entry into the toy-plus-video-game market made popular by Disney Infinity and Lego Dimensions. Ironically, it’s in co-production with Disney, which has lent Hasbro The Avengers for its starter kits. At $120 for the starter pack plus $14.99 for additional figures, this is the most expensive item on our list. Like its competitors, kids use the included products to sync them up with the software, and pretend to be superheroes – which is fun, but it can get pricey. Some components require additional purchases, so it’s up to parents to decide if their kids would play this enough to justify the investment.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game
We previewed this at October’s New York Comic Con, but Cryptozoic Entertainment’s Ghostbusters: The Board Game is now available on the open market, and it’s the best game out there this season. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or have never seen the movies, you’ll have fun co-operating with your friends and maybe competing a little bit with them, too. For more information on this title, check out our earlier preview.
As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, Roominate is a building toy oriented for girls – sort of like a more advanced female Lego, as not only are you building but the rPower line allows you to control various features from your mobile device. The RV set we reviewed allows you to make the finished vehicle actually drive, and is aimed at teaching girls mechanical engineering skills. It’s comparable to the price of other products in the building genre, so if you’re looking for something that’s female-themed but isn’t the usual craft project, this will appeal to you. It’s the same price point but much more engaging. ($29.99)