Sliver the T-Rex
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Switch & Go Dinos is a toy line that debuted in Fall 2012, produced by educational toy manufacturer VTech. They promote it as taking advantage of two things which boys (ages 3-8 years) like: vehicles and dinosaurs! In addition to an inviting and simple multi-step conversion process between Dino Mode and Vehicle Mode, each Switch & Go Dinos toy features a battery-powered sound function and one and a half inch LCD display screen for unique character animations. Multiple buttons let you control not only how the toy responds but also choose what expression/pilot the toy has. In addition to action sounds in both modes, when in Dino Mode the character will speak about fun dinosaur facts!
Sliver the T-Rex
The entire toy is made of hard ABS plastic. The LCD screen is protected by an additional plastic window over it.
Sliver rolls on four wheels beneath his feet and torso, and has a free-rotating jaw. Because of how he changes, his neck can flip upwards, and forearms can flip downwards. Ironically while his tail does have joints in the right place(s), it changes by splitting in half, so this really isn’t an option because one half of the tail will always still be there (unless you favor a little King Ghidora two-tail action).
No parts of him move in this mode except for his freely-spinning wheels, though you can cheat a little and drop his jaw down a bit (though you won’t be able to roll him with his jaw down).
There are four buttons located around the eyes/cockpit, and pressing any one of them will turn the battery function on.
- Sound Button (top left) – the Vehicle/Dino Mode will make action sounds appropriate to the mode it is in.]
- Talk Button (top right) – the dino or driver will speak a variety of phrases or fun facts.
- Style Button (bottom left) - select the driver or dino eyes depending on which Mode the toy in. There are three options in each Mode, and each of those comes with its own unique animation.
- Volume Button (bottom right) – control the volume of the speaker with three settings. (The LCD will show a slider switch indicating which setting it is on.)
While pressing any of the four buttons will turn it on, if you hold down either the Sound or talk buttons for a few seconds, the battery will turn off. Additionally, if left alone for a minute, the toy will turn itself off automatically to preserve the battery.
If neglected, however, it will make some prompting noises (“Obey your King!”, animal sniffing, “This is my road!”, engine revving, etc) to remind you that it is still powered on.
Sliver is a ‘smart toy’, in that he knows which Mode he is in, and will react accordingly. When you convert him, the screen will flash and the eyes will swap for the driver (or vice versa).
Additionally, when you roll Sliver in Dino Mode, his eyes will bounce up-and-down and you will hear heavy footsteps. When in Vehicle Mode you will see objects fly past the driver and the engine will roar at high speed.
My motivations for picking up this toy were not that dissimilar from the first one I got, Tonn the Stegosaurus. I knew what I was getting myself into now, and really it boiled down to whether to get this one or Horns the Triceratops. This time around, however, instead of getting the one I couldn’t figure out how it transformed on sight, I instead went with the more complex converting toy. I just felt I needed a second one. So how did I come to choose this one over Horns? Simple: Sliver was funnier.
The personality has more bad-ass this time around, and doesn’t suffer from as much… what did Josh call it, “poochie”? This toy goes to the derp well sometimes too (“I’m fast, and furious!”, “I’m angry!”), but not as badly as Tonn did with the whole surfer “dude” persona. While this one speaks slowly, he’s not perceptibly stupid, and he does it with a growl that isn’t entirely over-the-top. As the resident predator of the Switch & Go Dinos line, he speaks like it- “Obey your king!”, “Cower in fear!”, and “Rub my feet! Massage my tail!” are among some of my favorite lines, though he does sound awkwardly dominating sometimes.
The multi-step transformation is more complex this time around, but still well within the realm of a child’s problem solving abilities. …Except for maybe the feet, which are kind of tricky to figure out the first time because it doesn’t look like they should change at all. The forelimbs flip up and down fine, but it’s difficult to get them out of their respective slots without fingernails or some serious pinching.
Now, I know these Dino Modes are a bit distorted proportionately, and that’s fine. But I don’t recall a Tyrannosaurus rex’s skull being quite that flat. It’s like his eye sockets are reclining a bit for a nap in the sun. Additionally, his jaw doesn’t have nearly the range of motion that Tonn’s did, and t-rexes are well known for their gapping maws. (To be fair though, the vehicle mode does have a mouth instead of an intake grille as a result, so that’s funny.) And despite his long tail and wide stance, I’m surprised this guy can keep his balance as well as he does because the wheels are really close together.
Honestly, I’m surprised they called this one a Tyrannosaurus rex, because it doesn’t really look like one all that much… even a baby t-rex sitting on its butt, which this one very much looks like. (With some very careful positioning, the toy can be posed with his legs under him and his body straightened out a bit in the classic standing posture, though this is obviously not in the instructions.)
While keeping all the buttons close to the LCD screen was very good on Tonn, the two main sound-activating buttons are placed on his back, and whenever I pick him up I often accidentally turn him on. But if the buttons had remained around his head, I imagine it would have looked more like a parasaurolophus. Maybe they could have put all four buttons across the top of his muzzle instead…?
This toy is way too cute to be the purported King of the Dinosaurs. (My mother, upon first examination, said it was “freaking cute”.) I’m honestly surprised VTech didn’t try to make the T-rex a bigger toy. But the vehicle mode’s front has a decent imitation of a wide-mouthed snake or a hammerhead shark. (I wonder if that was intentional…?) Though not a strong representation of its 65million year-old predecessor in the visual sense, Switch & Go Dinos’ Sliver the T-Rex is nonetheless an adorable and smart toy for the 3-8year demographic it aims for.
|Posted 29 December, 2012 - 23:03 by EVA_Unit_4A|