Gabriel may not say very much, but he does a mean rendition of the sounds in Jaws. He has, of course, never seen the movie but he’s heard the ‘duuuunnnn dun… duuunnnnnnnn dun, dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn’ refrain and knows it’s linked to sharks. He even comes out of his room in his shark PJ’s going ‘dun dun, dun dun,’, puffing out his chest, so the shark on his PJ top is front and centre and chases his sister around the house.
So it was no surprise that Gabe was jumping up & down with excitement when he saw me unwrap the new Hexbug AquaBots Shark Tank. To the accompaniment of the jaws theme, I opened up the box and removed the shark, the goldfish, the coral and the tank in which they all can live.
The set-up was straightforward; we just had to slot the shark (already mounted on its holder) into the channel on the side of the tank. We dropped in the coral and filled the tank to within about an inch of the rim. Luckily I had the foresight to put the tank onto a tray with a raised edge. This was useful later when excited splashes were caught without soaking the kitchen.
Both the goldfish and the seahorse ( which is sold separately) come to life when you drop them into the water. Their bright LEDs light up, and they begin swimming around the tank with a very realistic motion from both the fish & the seahorse. Dipping your hands into the water keeps them on the move, as does tapping the tank or trying to catch them with the shark. When you have not interacted with them for a full five minutes, they power-down and float in the water until they are woken up again.
If you have two in the water at once, make sure you drop them in at the same time otherwise he first powers-down while the second is still swimming. Then the swimmer bumps into the sleeping one & wakes it up again. The two of them then repeat this cycle until 2:37 am when you are lying in bed trying to work out what that very faint ticking type noise is that’s driving you mad, get out of bed and find them still swimming around in the tank. It would also appear that they have an excellent battery life!
The tank mounted shark is very easy to use, it starts with its mouth open, and once you slide it down the ramp, it gets to a certain point and snaps its mouth closed. Having said that, the snap is very gentle and controlled by the speed with which you slide the shark. Even sliding it very fast for maximum snapping, it is no danger to little fingers. I know, both Evey & Gabe attempted to make the shark bite both their own and each other’s fingers and failed. And trust me, if there is any danger element to anything these two will find it!
Without exaggeration, I cannot remember the last time both of them play together with one toy for so long. Many hours were spent at the kitchen counter watching the fish & seahorse swim, but the main attraction was definitely catching them with the shark. This is just hard enough to be a challenge but easy enough not to become frustrating.
The Final Word
I would recommend the Shark Tank without reservation. A toy that I had imagined would have a limited amount of play value proved me wrong – and then some! The little ones spent, literally hours over the course of a couple of days playing both together and on their own. I had to top up the water three times because of all their splashing and I never tired of hearing them laugh & giggle when they took turns to be the shark, trying to eat up the fish.
If you are considering getting one – go for it, you won’t regret this fun purchase.
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