MGA Entertainment entered 2018 on a massive high, riding a wave of success fueled by their hit L.O.L. Surprise! line. As much as I champion gender-free play (let kids play with what they want!), the “surprise” toy market has largely skewed toward girls, and this is something that I’ve seen first-hand. Having already jumped into the action-aisle with their Awesome Little Green Men, MGA now has a “surprise” for that crowd as well with the release of Crate Creatures Surprise! I was initially contacted about checking these out just before Christmas but didn’t have time to take a look until after the holiday rush – which is fine since the availability is better now. This new collection of interactive figures brings the “unboxing” experience to life in a way that can be repeated again and again. Check out the video below, along with some detailed thoughts on this new line…
From the first wave, we received Sizzle – a young dragon with a slight temper and a taste for fiery marshmallows. Dragon enthusiasts might notice that Sizzle shares some kinship with Hasbro’s Torch: My Blazin’ Dragon (showcased here) from a couple of years back – particularly some facial features and the marshmallow feeding. I like Sizzle better for several reasons, but mostly it’s just a different kind of toy that offers a different play experience.
Packaged into a plastic crate atop an attached pallet, each Crate Creature comes wrapped in a plastic chain which can be released by unlocking its padlock with the included miniature crowbar. The same crowbar is then used to pop the top, at which time the Creature breaks free thanks to a spring-loaded platform below! Unlike most surprise/reveal/unboxing toys that are one-and-done, the crate is a part of the toy and can be re-used for an unboxing experience again and again.
Each Crate Creature features over 45 interactive sounds which can be activated simply by the various motions of play. They can also record up to 10 seconds of sound, and they play it back in a monstrous voice. They’re fun to play with, a great companion and they just look cool.
Recommended for ages 4 and up, it’s our youngest daughter (5) who really loves Sizzle. What I like is that these things are priced at $39.99 MSRP*(affordable), they’re a reasonable size (easy storage) and they have electronic features without becoming a full-blown tech toy or robot.
One interesting thing to note is that if you feel that these look a bit familiar, you are not alone! My friend Kaci aka The Homicidal Homemaker (check out her fantastic recipes on YouTube) mentioned that Crate Creatures piqued her interest due to the packaging (a crate with bars) being similar to that of Boglins, a series of monster hand puppets sold by Mattel back in 1987.
In the early 90s, Ideal released some Mini-Boglins figures, which could also be a clue as to where Crate Creatures Surprise! might be headed for a brand expansion. Much like Spin Master has had great success by translating their electronic Hatchimals into a series of micro-collectible Hatchimals CollEGGtibles, I expect we’ll see some blind boxed miniature Crate Creatures down the line… perhaps even at Toy Fair.
Learn more at the official Crate Creatures Surprise! website.
*Note: Because these were released so close to Christmas 2017, much of the early shipments were scooped-up by third-party resellers that were flipping these for up to $100. Some folks assumed that was the actual retail price, and they were sorely mistaken.