Furby Connect

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Pros

  • Pure fun, no hidden edutainment agenda
  • Can be put into sleep mode
  • Regular app content updates

Cons

  • Bluetooth disconnects on occasion

Key Features

  • Review Price: £99.99
  • 4 x AA batteries
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Available in Pink, Teal, Purple or Blue

What is the Furby Connect?

Furby Connect is the latest incarnation of the hugely successful interactive toy that took over the world in 1998 – and has been annoying adults ever since.  
 
But where past models of the Furby could be silenced only through removal of the power source, annoyed adults will be pleased to learn that the Furby Connect can be quieted far more easily – via a sleep mask.
 
My advice to all parents out there who decide to part with their cash for the Furby Connect: guard the sleep mask with your life.

 
Furby Connect – Unconnected

Alongside the near-instant send to sleep mode, the Furby arrives with Bluetooth, LED eyes, a multitude of under-fur sensors and a smart beak. There’s even app support in the form of Furby Connect World. However, among its key demographic the Furby Connect will prove entertaining even in offline mode.
 
Tickle, hug, rub, pull its tail (for childish yet amusing backside burps), shake it or hold it upside down, and Furby will respond. The more you interact with the toy, the more its personality will evolve. Treat Furby Connect well – with plenty of tickles and hugs – and the friendlier it will become. Treat Furby with disdain – turning it upside down or by poking it – and it will be more banterous. Either way, alter your treatment and Furby will eventually adjust.

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Furby Connect

Furby Connect – Connected

Hasbro has spent much time developing the way you can interact with Furby via the app.
 
Connect via Bluetooth and the Furby becomes part of the app environment: Furby Connect World is its playground and it’s an immersive world in which to play.
 
First, choose a name for your physical friend and then exploration of this world can begin – from the fishing area and theatre, to the feeding station, there’s plenty on offer.  
 
To feed your Furby simply load up an on-screen cannon with various foodstuffs; as you fire the animated cannon, the connected Furby recognises that it’s being fed and responds as to whether it’s enjoying what you’ve delivered.
 
You can even take Furby to the toilet. Hold the physical toy over the on-screen lavatory and it will take its turn on the throne and, with some coercing, make its deposit inside – anything from a burger to a pineapple. Its all very good childish fun, and will induce a grin from kids of all ages.
 
By interacting with connected Furby together with the app you can gain prizes, all of which build up to create a virtual egg which will then hatch in the app. The more you play with the new Furblings, the more egglings you can potentially hatch. And the more Furblings you have on-screen, the more activities you can open up.
 Furby Connect
 
The app includes a video/theatre area that’s populated with content, more of which is added daily by the development team. Furby’s antenna will turn blue to indicate that new content is available in the app, prompting you to pay a visit.
 
It’s really a quite compelling virtuous play cycle. Play with the physical Furby to gain in-app rewards; play in-app only and receive more of the same. These rewards enable more activity, the creation of more potential Furblings on-screen, and therefore unlocking further activities still.  
 
Hasbro has even done well to add an element of the unexpected, timed perfectly to engage a child whose interest in the toy might be waning. A surprise action such as being asked to turn physical Furby upside down or open its mouth to stroke its tongue to produce a new in-app action had me playing for far longer than I’d expected at the outset.
 
More importantly, my kids were entirely focused for long periods with the Furby Connect, enjoying both the physical play and in-app action. These elements combine brilliantly – and ultimately make it tricky to take Furby away without some promise to them of how much time they could spend with the toy on another occasion.
 
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Keeping track of your content
 

As I played with Furby and the app, a register of the skill level achieved for each Furbling (there are 71 to collect) is updated. Furblings fall into one of several categories such as Youthful, Super Hero, Outer Space and Seasonal. Kee Kah, Doo Doo and May Tah were among my crew, each one exhibiting distinctly different personalities.

 
This Furby Connect has real depth

While conducting this research I did have a work call come in, and Furby suddenly went quiet – I was stunned. This Connect kit has had some low-level AI inserted and now has a polite mode – or was that a fluke? Furby allowed itself to become second priority to any other media activity on my smartphone.

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Furby Connect

Should I buy a Furby Connect?

Although skeptical of the Furby Connect at first, I have to say that I’ve been converted. Offline play alone is impressive, but add to this the online content – which is set to grow – and Furby Connect is sure to deliver hours of fun for its £100 price.  
 
If you do decide to part with your cash, you can be pretty sure that the Furby Connect won’t be relegated to the back of the toy cupboard come the end of January.   
 

Verdict

Furby Connect is a true all-round toy, delivering hours of fun for kids and grown-ups alike. 

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