Today’s “top toys of 2015” toy review focuses on the amazing new Zoomer Kitty Interactive Robotic Cat. She sings, she dances, and she sometimes even acts like a cat! Keep on reading for full details of this giant leap forward in the world of virtual pets.
My initial impression of the Zoomer Kitty went a little bit like this … “Hmmm, She’s nice, but I prefer dogs!” Not so enthusiastic huh?! Oh well, her subsequent impressions have raised her stock considerably. She behaves remarkably like a real, living cat, though I’ve never witnessed one of those playing music and dancing before. This cat does a number of cool tricks, has 4 different play modes, and she even comes with her own kitty toy to play with. Interestingly, though, she has no hand held remote (like the Zoomer Dinos have), which significantly limits her play value (more on that below). The other big difference from the Dinos that immediately stands out is that the Zoomer Kitty has 4 roller-ball feet (the Dinos, of course, only have 2). This impacts considerably on Zoomer Kitty’s movement and balance (in a good way). Much like a real cat (which always lands on its feet), Zoomer Kitty never seems to fall down (unlike the Zoomer Dinos). Overall, Zoomer Kitty is one fine (and fine looking) robotic representation of a cat.
Charting the Key Considerations
|How much set up time is required for Zoomer Kitty?||None! That’s right, Zoomer Kitty worked for me straight out of the box. Of course, this may not be the case for everyone. It’ll depend on just how long the individual kitty has been waiting to be purchased. But this is no big deal. Once Zoomer Kitty does start to run down a bit, simply use the USB charging cord to give her a 1-2 hour charging session and she’ll be ready to roll again.|
|What type & quantity of batteries does Zoomer Kitty use?||Zoomer Kitty has one built-in 3.7V/450mAh LiPo Rechargeable Battery (with an included USB charging cord). Since there’s no hand held remote to use with Zoomer Kitty, no additional batteries (the kind that are provided by you) are required.|
|What are the mobility (& range) characteristics of the Zoomer Kitty?||Zoomer Kitty rolls around on her 4 ball shaped roller feet and balances very well on pretty much any surface (hard or soft). She can do a number of tricks as well (such as following your hand with her eyes and playing with her kitty toy). As there is no hand held remote included, there’s no ‘Control Mode’ option here (i.e., you can’t make Zoomer Kitty go wherever you like via a remote joystick).|
|Does the Zoomer Kitty feature any special lights & sounds?||Zoomer kitty’s eyes light up in a variety of colours (which correspond to her different play modes), and she makes various cat sounds (such as meowing & purring) and even makes some other less cat-like sounds (such as playing music & barking like a dog).|
|What is the suggested age range for Zoomer Kitty?||Zoomer Kitty is meant for kids ages 5 and up. As she is a cute and friendly cat, even younger kids may also be able to appreciate her, though if they’re heavy handed (as little one’s often are), they could easily break their Zoomer Kitty. There’s a specific warning, for example, about not picking her up by her tail. Her kitty toy (ball on a string) is also described as being somewhat delicate. In light of these warnings, I would probably opt not to go lower than the suggested age range here. Those in the (roughly) 5-10 year old age range will probably find the most enjoyment in having a Zoomer Kitty.|
|How much of a WOW factor (on a 0-5 scale) does the Zoomer Kitty have?||
Zoomer Kitty scores a 3.5 out of 5 on the WOW scale from me. There’s nothing really wrong with Zoomer Kitty, but there’s also not much that’s totally mind-blowing here either. I think the most impressive feature is probably her touch sensitivity (i.e., rubbing her in certain places can cause her to purr, or even hiss at you). The Zoomer Dinos don’t have a feature like that.
Testing & Play
Testing my Zoomer Kitty was a relatively simple affair. You basically switch her on and begin by pressing the back button (a button on her back that gets her started playing, as with the the back button on the Zoomer Dinos). Zoomer Kitty’s default mode is called Auto Mode. In it her eyes are either green or light pink. While in this mode, Zoomer Kitty will follow your hand movements with her eyes (by turning her head). She can also be made to purr if you pet her head, cheeks, or ears in just the right spots. (I mentioned this touch sensitivity feature above, and I really am quite impressed by it. It’s a pretty big step up from the other Zoomers I’ve tested.) Zoomer Kitty may also wander off if you ignore her while she’s in Auto Mode, and she may even go to sleep if she’s left alone for too long.
In Play Mode (with her eyes blue), Zoomer Kitty livens up considerably and enjoys playing with her kitty toy. You basically just hold it a few inches from her face and try to get her attention with it. Sometimes she seems to be following it with her eyes, but it’s often difficult to tell if she’s really after the ball or if she’s just carrying out her other catlike behaviors. In other words, she sometimes seems to be ignoring what the user is doing—so she’s EXACTLY like a real cat! In Cuddle Mode (Purple or light pink eyes), Zoomer Kitty just wants to be snuggled. You can also pet her and she’ll settle down and possibly fall asleep or begin purring. Finally, in Pounce Mode (yellow eyes), Zoomer Kitty will pounce wildly at whatever gets too close to her.
Changing between modes can be achieved in various ways, such as by pressing the back button or using hand gestures. The behaviours in each mode can be pretty hit or miss as well. This is very consistent with the many other interactive toys I ‘ve tested. I suspect that given enough time to practice with Zoomer Kitty, one would eventually get used to her modes & abilities and maybe even become highly proficient at interacting with her and achieving the desired behaviours.
For & Against
Probably the biggest argument in favour of getting a Zoomer Kitty (aside from the touch sensitivity that I continue to be very impressed with) is the fact that she’s a very sweet and innocent toy. There’s no swordplay going on here! And, unlike the Zoomer Dino Indominus Rex, Zoomer Kitty is a 100% non violent toy. I suspect that this will appeal to some people very, very much. While I personally enjoy the more violent nature of swords and scary monster toys, I can also appreciate the very different dynamic that’s going on with Zoomer Kitty, and I welcome her as a refreshing addition to our list of the top toys of 2015!
Working against Zoomer Kitty (more-so than any other complaint) is her lack of a hand held remote. While the Zoomer Dinos can be driven around on their 2 roller feet anywhere you want them to go, this is not possible with the Zoomer Kitty. Sure, you can lead her about via hand gestures and by trying to get her to chase her kitty toy. However, these methods are not as easy as steering her around with a small joystick would be, and they both require you to get up close and personal to be able to lead her around. Of course, if not having a remote is the Zoomer kitty’s biggest offence, I think we can easily forgive her. After all, she still does as many cool things as the other Zoomer toys, and she’s sure to provide many hours of enjoyment to those in her target audience. I would tend to suggest little girls as the main demographic here, but I’ll allow you to be the judge of that.
Examining the Video Evidence
Please check out my short video supplement of the Zoomer Kitty Interactive Robot Cat…
Had this series been about the top 10 toys of 2015, I’m not so sure that the Zoomer Kitty Interactive Robotic Cat would have made the list. She does make the list of the 25 best toys, however, and I see no reason to leave this kitty out in the cold if you (or the child you’re buying her for) fall within the specified target demographic. She’s a very sweet kitty and a great first pet. And she won’t even cost you a dime in cat treats!
To see more of Best Buy’s selection of smart, fun, & interactive toys, just click HERE.
Mini Gallery of Additional Photos