Furby is the "animatronic friend" that created a sensation in 1998—and the original sold more than 40 million units when it first came on the scene. Hasbro has brought it back, and while we were a little skeptical at first, we have to say, they did an incredible job. The result is a new version of the toy that uses advanced technology and humor to make the play experience seamless and fun—and the toy more sophisticated and responsive than ever.
Looking like a large croquette with a beak, ears and animated eyes—and soft fur in eye-popping colors, Furby responds and becomes more responsive as it's played with. Out of the box, Furby speaks a language called "Furbish," and the more you play with it, the more English it learns and speaks. Furby has an updated attitude and contemporary vocabulary, and the new electronic, animated eyes let Furby be more expressive than ever.
The toy comes with an instruction sheet that provides an introduction to Furbish, and coming later are a web site and an app that will include the entire Furbish dictionary. In addition, Hasbro promises that the app will interact with Furby so that kids can feed it. At the time of our review, the app was not available.
What makes Furby so much fun is how responsive it is. Hasbro has clearly benefited from more advanced technology and voice recognition chips. It's astonishing how well the toy seems to understand the Furbish you speak to it, and responds appropriately.
Furby also responds to music, dancing and singing along. It responds to the rhythm of the music, we think, and different types of music elicit different reactions.
The high level of interactivity really adds to the play experience. And, when two or more Furby's are together, they respond to one another. (We had one that spoke more English, and when put with one just out of the box, the "more experienced" Furby started teaching the other English. Hilarious.)
You can't ignore the silly quotient either, and we've seen people of all ages burst out laughing when Furby starts to do his stuff.
Furby is recommended for kids ages 6 and up, but its appeal, and history, mean that many people of different ages will probably get a kick out of it.
Remember, kids who may fall in love with Furby weren't born the first time around.
People who do remember the original will be impressed by how much more responsive and sophisticated this has become.
Furby doesn't have a shut-off switch. So leave him alone for a while, and it will go to sleep. You'll know it's about to shut down when it starts to snore.
You have to remove the bottom plate to remove Furby from the package and insert the batteries. Do not rip it out of the box.
4 AA batteries required
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