My eight-year-old loves technology and all things cute. He often asks to search the web for “kawaii” pictures of big-eyed cartoon animals. So, when I heard about Bitzee, I knew it was a toy he would love. He’s also attuned to memes, trends and new technology and was keen to try the toy he had seen in commercials and online videos.
I remember the digital pets of the past and was looking forward to seeing the new version made for Generation Alpha. I was also excited to expose my kids to high-tech toys that don’t have a screen.
Brought to you by Spin Master, the company behind PAW Patrol, Hatchimals and many of your child’s other obsessions, Bitzee is an interactive digital pet in a cute purple pod that fits in the palm of your kid’s hand. With 15 digital pets to collect in 1 pod for only $39.99.
When you open the jewellery-style box (the inside of which has a velvety finish), a floating image appears. It’s created by a rapidly moving flexible display and the result is pretty impressive. It’s like a computer-generated image without a screen.
Bitzee is a toy that offers kids 15 digital pets to take care of. The pets need to be fed, cared for and played with. The best part? Kids aren’t just tapping a button to play with their pet, they can actually touch them, and the pet will actually respond.
When you first open your Bitzee, you’re led through a brief lesson on how to use it then you get your first pet. Each pet sends needs messages when it requires love, food and sleep. Kids provide this through gentle touches, rocking motions and a swipe along the bar in front of the display to choose snacks to feed their pets. As the pets' needs are fulfilled, their love meter fills up and they grow from baby to adult to super Bitzees. As kids evolve their pet to Super Bitzees they get to unlock mini-games and are rewarded additional treats to attract more Bitzee to the pod.
The pets range from common (cat, bunny hedgehog, snail), to rare (butterfly, chameleon) and legendary (mercat, unicorn), with adorable features and accessories added as they level up from baby to adult and super Bitzee.
Bitzee is great for ages five and up. The digital display requires a delicate touch and fulfilling your pet’s requests requires patience. The good news is even if you ignore your pet’s needs messages, you won’t lose your pet; it may hop in its digital car and zoom away, but you can always coax it back using its favorite treat.
Both my eight-year-old and my 11-year-old tested Bitzee and although my older son is outside the target age group, he also loved the toy. To start, we watched the official How to play with Bitzee unboxing video and followed along. Not only did this help my kids through the tutorial but it made the experience of opening the box and finally testing the toy even more exciting.
They caught on quickly and exclaimed when their Bitzee grew and showed each other the cute things their pets were doing. It didn’t take long for them to have a few pets each and I was surprised at how long the toys held their attention. The first day they probably played with their Bitzees for two hours straight.
“I love it so much,” said my eight-year-old. “It’s hard work because the pets have a lot of requests, but it's also fun.” He added that he thinks his friends would like Bitzee because “it’s cute and fun.” He loves the cat because it does a little dance when you pet it and best of all, he said, “Some days I’d play with my Bitzee instead of my tablet.” No shade to screen time, but a willingness to part with it is pretty huge.
My 11-year-old shared his more experienced point of view: “I really like the games. They’re probably my favourite part. They give you a reason to level up.” He also liked how each pet has its own personality.
Bitzee is a small toy with lots of potential. It doesn’t have the same zoned-out effect that video games can have and it seems to encourage at least a bit of social interaction and sharing. My kids loved laughing together when their pets pooped and showing each other what their animals looked like when they became Super Bitzee.
It seems like a great alternative to a tablet to bring to a restaurant or another setting where you want your kids to be entertained but you would still like their company. They can open and close their Bitzee as needed and even if they’re in the middle of a game, the games are short, so there’s no whining over losing progress or waiting 10 minutes for a level to be over. Once Bitzee is closed, the pets sleep and don’t make any requests until you open the box again.
Our Bitzees are still played with regularly and my eight-year-old enthusiastically shows his pets to friends. Once he got all 15 pets, he reset the game and happily started again.
Bitzee is a cute, affordable toy that offers hours of entertainment. It looks really high-tech and impressive and kids love the animations and sweet animal sounds. Bitzee is a fun digital activity that isn’t screen time. It falls within a reasonable budget for birthday party gifts and would delight many kids as a holiday present.
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