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Loopz

Loopz game by Mattel


Mattel always uses SDCC as an opportunity to promote more than their collectible lines of figures. This year was no exception, and one of the main features at their booth was the booth babes playing the newest game, Loopz.

I'm a big fan of good old fashioned games, and we, like many families, have a 'family night' where we play them. Just like many families, we tend to miss family night more times than we actually hit it, but at least we try. Games like Yahtzee, Monopoly, Scene It, and others are always a highlight.

Mattel sent Loopz along to me awhile back, but I wanted to spend some quality time with it before passing judgment. My youngest kids and I (they're both nine) put it through its paces over several days, and tried out all the games and their variants.

You can pick up Loopz right now at most mass market retailers, like Toys R Us and Target, for around $25.
Loopz game by Mattel
Loopz game by Mattel
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Loopz game by Mattel
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Loopz game by Mattel
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Packaging - ***
The oddly die cut box allows for you to use the Try Me feature, and the exterior gives plenty of basic info on the game itself so you can get an good idea of what you're getting into before you plunk down your hard earned cash. It's definitely old school mass market stuff, but it does the job intended.

My one gripe is around that old school look - they are clearly going for a 'hip' feel to the marketing for this game, yet the packaging lacks anything resembling 'hip'. Yea, I hate that word too, but you know what I mean.

Game Play - ***
There are seven different ways to play, although this is the sort of game where you could easily make up your own variations on the basic games quite easily.

Each game has three levels, each progressively harder than the last. You are rewarded with a score at the end based on your overall performance.

Most of the games are designed for a single player. You can either follow the pattern created by the game ala Simon, or you can try to keep pace with the game as it quickly blinks through a continuous series of lights and sounds.

There are head to head games for two players as well. One version is the basic Simon game, but the machine keeps track of each players score so you can see who does better.

One of the more interesting two to four player games is a Follow the Leader design - each player lights the light previously picked by the other player, then adds one of their own. The next player must match the pattern, and then add another. This continues until one player fails three times.

One of the unique features is that the game can be used as an independent musical instrument. Since there are ten different combinations you can create (4 single light, 6 double light), it allows enough notes to play rudimentary rhythms. Several of the games employ this musical aspect, and one such game  is purely you going all freestyle on it.

If that sounds like it might not work, check out this video from the Mattel 'beat boys', a group of five guys that create a sort of industrial hip hop using just the Loopz. I've got some additional links to other videos of these guys in the Related Links section below.

Is it fun? Yes. My kids and I spent several days trying it out before I sat down to write this review, and they thought it was a blast. The simple light and sound memory game Simon was always popular because it is a highly addictive past time, and other games like Bop It have worked this same principle. If you've played those, then you have the basic concept of Loopz, but Mattel's addition of the musical aspect certainly sets this one apart.

The only down side is that games like this do get a bit old after awhile, and parents may find themselves going batty after the 100th time they hear the music. Thank God for the volume control!

Sound/Light Feature - ***1/2
Obviously, the game uses bright lights and changing sound patterns as its basis, and these work great.

The LED lights will last for ages, and the battery compartment is relatively easy to get to. You have to pop off the red feet on the bottom, but it's not too difficult. And as you'd expect, batteries are included.

There's a volume button on the front as well (the big red one) with four or five different settings.

The speakers for the sounds and voice commands is located in the center, where you see the Loopz logo. The speaker is clean and sharp, with no distortion.

To fit in better with the musical aspects, the game has a TON of different sounds. Again, check out one of the Beat Boys videos to get an idea of the multiple types of electronic noises this game can make.

Fun Factor - ***
Think Simon or Bop It, and add in the ability to use the game like a musical instrument - that's Loopz. It's solid fun, and something that's quick and easy to play. Memory games are always good, and the portable nature of the game makes it workable on the road as well.

Value - **1/2
Considering the electronic features, the game is priced about right with the current market.

Things to Watch Out For -
You have to place your hands in the loops flat to get the best response from the motion sensors, and you don't want to hover there, lest it picks it up as a double hit. 

Overall - ***
I love good family games, especially those that can be pulled out and played with little set up or time. It's well known that memory games add an extra brain boost no matter what your age, and Mattel has an interesting hook with the added musical feature. For me, the basic play is the best part of this game and the instrument add on is mostly fluff, but for kids with a musical make up, I could see this game getting double duty.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Game Play - ***
Sound/Light Feature - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Your best bet is your local Target or Toys R Us, where Loopz retails for $20 - $25.

Related Links -
I mentioned these earlier in the review, but check out one of these videos for some interesting Loopz action - video 1, video 2video 3, and video 4.

Discussion:
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Loopz game by Mattel


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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