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One of my grandson Jack's favourite new toys was this Cybermat toy from the makers of Dr Who products, Character Options. If you need to look for Dr Who merchandise you can usually find it under this make. For those humans who haven't bumped (literally) into this alien then you can find it from series 6 of the present Dr Who, episode 12. It's also on one of the Dr Who online games, which is where Jack first saw it in action chasing Amy (the doctor's sidekick).
In the episode and the game the Cybermat is an offshoot of the Cybermen, fierce alien creatures that go about trying to 'delete' every human they encounter. Cybermat enemies can do a similar thing by setting a change in motion when they touch a human. They also patrol for the Cybermen and hunt out humans to change or delete.
The toy is a bit like an armoured worm to look at and has two beady eyes set at the front of its head. It's a bit difficult to describe since it's an unusual shape, with a blunt head, a moveable tail that swishes about. It's about 10 inches long and has a motorised action that enables it to zoom around when switched on although it needs to be on a flat surface such as lino or a wood/laminate floor. On a laminate floor it moves quite quickly and senses when it's bumped into an object, changing direction to hunt again.
Of course Jack knows it's only a toy, but he was thrilled with it and spent half of Christmas morning tripping up the adults as he set traps for his Cybermat to avoid. Since he already has an arsenal of alien figures, several Tardis's and all the doctor figures plus a Dalek who also shares the same capabilities it was a real obstacle course for us all. Poor old Nan had to get down on her dodgy knees to steer the Dalek in the right direction. Since the Dalek has a voice (The Cybermat is fortunately silent), then all I could hear for a while was 'exterminate, exterminate.'
Most modern toys are well made and this is plastic and sturdy. It requires two AA batteries and seemed to run well on them without running out within an hour as happened to another toy. Fortunately Dad had instructed Father Christmas to put the batteries in first (clever chap with a screwdriver), then the Cybermat was up and ready to hunt down the Dr and friends as soon as he got out of his housing.
A lot of modern games teach various things but this toy only requires imagination and room to patrol. One plus is that a child will play alone for a while with this and can double the fun with other characters. I couldn't remember much about the episode but have seen the game so I was once again chosen as Amy to Jack's portrayal of the Doctor, complete with all the Dr's sayings. I'm sure my grandson is going to be an actor; he does the doctor so well. It's quite cute to see him trying to ape Matt's 'cool' Dr image though I fall far short of a skinny Amy. It's all good fun and after a trip to the local park to let off steam we met some of Jack's school friends and having a Cybermat gave him extra status in the present stakes!.
As a long-term toy it will last only as long as Jack's imagination allows and will be put away until a new toy arrives. It won't teach him patience or co-ordination, but it will provide a few hours entertainment while the toy is still new. However, since I've seen many gadgets for adult Dr Who fans then I don't see why this shouldn't become a collectors item if Jack hasn't squished the bug by then. I only hope my knees stay up to the task of dodging bugs, aliens and daleks before the next fad arrives, I do hope it's less energetic for me!
I don't know how much his dad paid for this since dad is the purchaser of all Dr Who toys. But it's currently available on Amazon for £13.95 and that's a decent price considering most toys are around £10 for a bit of plastic. This toy is recommended for age 5 plus and is not suitable for young children, although its construction is sturdy and there isn't anything on it for a young child to swallow. I suppose it could trip a child up, we dodged it enough!
This gets four out of five stars from me, as it wouldn't be any use on a carpeted area.
Thanks for reading and until the next time watch out for the new generation of sophisticated bugs.