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Moshi Monsters Moshling figures (starting at $6, Amazon) are more than just another cute collectible craze. These tiny, plastic creatures are the newest merchandise extension of the wildly popular Moshi Monsters online game. Developed by the British media company Mind Candy, the Moshi Monsters site allows kids to adopt, raise, and tend to virtual monster pets. By completing puzzles, players earn Rox, in-game currency that can be exchanged for clothing, food, and even furniture for the not-so-scary critters. Monster owners also collect little animals called Moshlings by planting seeds to grow the flowers that attract them -- or by visiting the local toy store and bringing home three-packs of Moshling mini-figures, a more tangible version of the online experience.
Our 8-year-old tester regularly plays the online game, so she squealed with delight as soon as she spied the toys. The packs include three randomly chosen Moshlings, one of which is hidden from sight and marketed as a "mystery Moshling." Immediately our tester turned to the enclosed pamphlet to identify her acquisitions: Chop Chop the ninja monkey, Stanley the seahorse, and an ultra-rare purple glitter Honey Bunny as her mystery prize. She then pulled out her Moshling collectors guide from a nearby drawer and seemed exceedingly pleased with her new collection. However, despite getting a rare Moshling in her pack, she noted that the transparent, sparkly plastic was too hard to see and said she kind of liked the regular version better. She also said she wished the plastic figures were squishier, like Squinkies, the tiny toy collectibles.
While Toys R Us has the Moshi Monster figures on its list of hot holiday toys, online reviews are rather scarce, because the product is new on the market. All three comments posted on the Toys R Us site are positive. Two reviewers enthuse about the enclosed Moshi Monster codes, which get players free merchandise and premium membership trials. The codes excited our tester as well. As far as durability is concerned, one parent posting on Amazon warns that the painted details wear off over time.
Moshi Monsters toys are a budget-friendly gift hot among kids who play the online game. Both the game and the characters are designed for children ages 7 to 12, so it's best to avoid gifting these little bitty pals to the very young.