I’m always a little wary when I’m approached with a toy or game that is touted as “the next big thing.” This is partly because I am, generally speaking, only vaguely aware of the current big thing, and partly due to a belief that you can’t always anticipate the desires of the public. Still, when something drops into my inbox that seems genuinely interesting, I try to follow up. (For my own sake as much as yours.)
Earlier this month I was approached with the latest from Cepia LLC, the same company responsible for last year’s robot hamster craze. This time around, however, the product proved significantly less cuddly. The distinctly camelCased DaGeDar are ethereal creatures in their native Dimension 33, but when they pass through the veil into our world they become… big, ugly marble-things.
Admittedly, the premise is a bit hokey, but the product itself has proven quite entertaining, particularly for my six-year-old son. Combining the character-based combat of Beyblade and the track racing aesthetic of Hot Wheels, DaGeDar is a proper next-gen toy mash-up.
The balls themselves (referred to as Supercharged Ball Bearings in the promo materials and packaging) are boldly colored and highly stylized, and each bears a monstrous face relating directly to its back-story within the fictional world. This information can be uncovered by entering the code on the back of each DaGeDar into the product website, which adds both an interesting interactive element and the potential for a rather annoying level of collect-ability as kids attempt to “unlock” all 100+ Dags.
Of course the bearings themselves are only one of the products. There are also accessories ranging from the carrying case to the Rapid Fire Power Launcher. While the former proved a novel way to transport the DaGeDar, the latter was a bit of a disappointment. True, it does allow you to shoot a half-dozen spherical fighters across the kitchen floor in rapid succession, but the spring mechanism proved so tight that my kids were hard-pressed to do so on their own.
The perfect companion piece, however, is one of the series’ stunt tracks. My own preview set came bundled with the High Speed Score Zone Raceway. On the surface it’s a fun (if somewhat flimsy) gravity-driven track where two DaGeDar are dropped down an elevated ramp and race through a loop to the finish line. But in this case that finish is a series of small side-by-side boxes with a point total printed on the bottom of each. This adds a more competitive gaming element to the proceedings, the finer points of which, to their credit, Cepia leaves entirely up to the players themselves.
Though not exactly a game-changer in the toy market, the DaGeDar line makes for an interesting enough diversion for geeklings looking for collectible racers with a dash of whimsy. Sure, not all of the accessories hit the mark, but my kids have had ample fun with these rotund rollers alone. And the fact that I caught my son explaining to his younger sister how to adjust the angle of the race ramp for optimum speed and jump trajectory — a truly delightful piece of summertime problem solving — is certainly an added bonus.
With the bulk of the DaGeDar line priced between $5 and $25, these toys don’t break the bank. Likewise, their minimalist design and open-ended play structure have led to some rather inspired feats of creativity in my household. While I’m not ready to call DaGeDar the second coming of LEGO, I will encourage interested GeekParents to check out this new toy line, especially if your kids, like mine, were built for speed.
Review materials provided by Zeno Group/Cepia LLC