The Imaginext DC Super Friends Batcave is a feature-rich playset based on the DC Super Friends, which is more appropriate for preschoolers than, say, the recent Batman movies. The set comes with the Batcave playset, a Batman figure, a Robin figure, a flight suit, a Batwing, and a Batcycle. To play, unfold the floor and extend the two feet on the back for stability. Then, kids can fold down the launcher platform to reveal the blaster that launches three plastic projectiles. Press a button to open the cell that keeps the bad guys in captivity. Place one of the figures on the bottom level disc and turn to open and close the Batcave door. On the top level, place a figure on the disc in the middle platform to move the walkways and open the command center. There is also a kid-powered elevator to move the figures between floors. There is another rotating disc on the top level that is supposed to move the Batwing, but it didn't work on our sample, and the set doesn't come with directions, so it's still a mystery to us as to how that is supposed to work.
There is also a free iPhone app that works with this toy. It can read some of the stickers on the playset to unlock different games, one keeping clowns from entering the Batcave and one about finding the joker's surprise pie. Both require simple touching to activate. There is also an offline version that is almost the same as using it with the toy and a concentration-style card game that kids can play. The app also includes a 15-minute DC Super Friends cartoon and commercials for other Imaginext toys.
For young Batman fans, this is a pretty good playset to inspire open-ended, narrative-based play. Kids can pretend to race off on the Batcycle or create any kind of scenario they want.
The app is harmless, but it does take the imagining away from the child. We think that kids can enjoy this set on its own without the app, and if they have other Imaginext figures with the figure packs that are sold separately, they'll have a great time.
The Imaginext DC Super Friends Batcave is for Batman fans ages 3 and up.
There are no instructions with this set, so it's a bit of trial and error to see where everything goes. Of course, there are no right answers when it comes to open-ended play, and kids will probably figure it out.
The app includes advertising for other products in the line.
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