Wednesday, August 15 2018 23:23

Toy Review: Ryan's World Toys Hit Walmart, But Do They Live Up to the Hype?

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If there's kids in your home, there's a solid chance that you've found them tethered to a device at some point, and if that device led them to YouTube, there's also a good chance that they've discovered Ryan Toys Review. Despite the awkward phrasing (shouldn't it be "Ryan's Toy Reviews?"), the six-year-old toy reviewer is a global phenomenon, and with the guidance of his parents, his channel has become a benchmark that has spawned thousands of imitators, eager to pump-out colorful, kid-focused videos for the masses. Now things are getting really meta as Ryan himself has become a toy thanks to some crafty dealings by pocket.watch and the folks at Bonkers Toys. Previewed in New York City back in July during The Toy Insider's annual Sweet Suite, The Rock Daughters™ and I got an early, albeit brief look at the first wave of Ryan's World toys. Unfortunately, they were under embargo (not a fan) at the time and couldn't be shown officially, but now the toys are out there in the wild, having launched exclusively at Walmart (an affiliate) with more retailers set to jump on-board this October. So the big question... do the new Ryan's World toys live up to the hype? 

Ryan's World Mystery Slime

We brought a few samples back with us from NYC, and the first thing that was cracked open was a capsule of Ryan's World Mystery Slime. It's slime - there shouldn't be much else to say about it, but ours was pretty watery. A few days later it was shot as our oldest daughter likes to "experiment" by adding additional ingredients to her slime. In this case, she tried to thicken it up and instead dried it out. A short life cycle is certainly the plight of slime.

In the mix was a single Ryan's World Mystery Squishy, and little Finley (our youngest) was very happy to find what I called "Super-Ryan," but soon discovered to be the "Red Titan." Very cute, these are on-par with what you'd expect from a liquid-filled squishy, right down to an issue that plagues nearly every squishy brand we've come across: the ink in certain spots is prone to rubbing off pretty easily. The eyes are a particular point of concern as they were showing wear after just minutes of play.

Ryan's World Toys - Quality Check

Finally, the real winners in our sample assortment were a couple of Ryan's World Mystery Blind Bag figures. If you can find these in-store and not being scalped on the secondary market, the price is right at just $3.88 a piece. These little figures are cool, and there's a variety of "professions" you might find, like a race car driver, mad scientist and more. We discovered a construction worker and a metallic robot in ours (I said he was "Ryan as Twiki from Buck Rogers"). Again, I'm a little iffy on the quality here as the plastic used is of that rigid, brittle variety - like what you might find in a McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

Ryan's World Mystery Figures

These figures are articulated at the neck, and while the arms move, they're connected to one another so they'll forever be raised or lowered at the same time. My real concern are the hands, which feature a "C" design that kids will find familiar from LEGO Minifigures and PLAYMOBIL. The difference here is that they're fixed with no articulation, so a quick twist might lead to some broken wrists and a visit to the Super Glue toy hospital that many of us have (I keep Loctite in business). 

Other toys seen at Sweet Suite but not reviewed include vehicle packs (which actually look very cool), Mystery Putty, Giant Mystery Eggs and an assortment of plush.

Overall, Bonkers Toys has been really good in the blind bag and mystery box space, so they're a good partner for this, but the initial offerings are hardly innovative. Still, Ryan's World presents exactly the type of fodder that Ryan built an empire reviewing, and just what kids want to see and play with. They're simple, fun, but ultimately, cheap. 

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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