The "toys-to-life" category has seen some ups-and-downs over the past few years, but the reality is that it's still an evolving thing - and probably always will be. Until now, it's been dominated by a mix of console video games paired with real-life figures, with Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions and the late Disney Infinity being the biggest players in the realm. This year, there's starting to be a shift toward mobile, with titles like TOMY's Lightseekers ramping up, but then out-of-nowhere comes Hasbro with a totally different spin on things. The Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio bridges traditional, hands-on imaginative and creative play with the digital world, allowing kids to craft real Play-Doh creations, and then scan them into the accompanying app. The folks at Hasbro (via Family Video Network) recently sent us one for review here in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, and you can see our hands-on video below...
The Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio comes with seven cans of Play-Doh, an assortment of tools and shapers, and the studio base. As the MSRP is just $24.99, it's affordable and on-par with just buying a Play-Doh set on its own, but by downloading the free app for iOS or Android, the digital world opens up with an intuitive open-world virtual experience.
They say to "open a can of imagination," and that's completely true. I'm notoriously apprehensive when it comes to tech play in that there's too much of it. Everything is great in moderation (this coming from a kid who grew up with video games in the Atari and Nintendo era), but I absolutely despise the notion of having our kids forever tethered to their digital "devices." With this, Hasbro has found a relatively simple way to pair classic play with a digital element, and that's something I can consider "Rock Father-approved."
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur.
He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a writer for Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.