Monday, April 16, 2012

Summer Toys -- Creepeez!

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For about as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the bizarre dance that happens at every retail store across America. As a kid I found it interesting the way certain sections of the store seemed to constantly shift from one thing to another, and I am not just talking about the obvious Christmas or Halloween holiday sections. But those other here-today-gone-tomorrow sections that spring up throughout the course of a year.

Chief among them was the Summer Toy section, an entirely new toy isle that sprung up outside the confines of the normal toy section. Often times in the exact same spot that, a couple months prior, housed hundreds of red and green holiday items. Only now it has been replaced with loads upon loads of generic looking toys with strange names like "Force Squad" (which would be your run of the mill G.I. Joe knockoff line) or "52 Piece Dino Playset" (which typically would include about 5 actual dinos and 46 different types of rocks, trees, and at least one random volcano). And of course lots of different squirt guns and other accessories that either shot or exploded into water.

Despite the fact that the Summer Toy section very rarely had anything name-brand, I was always loved it and chances are you did too. So throughout the next couple of months I will be taking a look at some of the best toys that I have pulled from that specific section of the store and show everyone that just because a toy is considered kind of cheap and has a slightly generic sounding name attached to it, that it can be every bit of fun as its more expensive counterparts. Each toy will be ranked on a scale of 1-5, taking into account price, quality, and re-playability. The very first in an interesting set of sticky wall toys known as Creepeez! Lets take a closer look at the series...

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Creepeez fall into the category of a cheap toy that your parents purchase at the store to stop you from screaming your head off but as soon as you get home yell at you for using the way it is intended. It is almost a no-win situation. You see Creepeez are one of the many sticky feet toys that you are supposed to throw against a wall and watch as they tumble down to the floor. The only problem is that after repeated use 90% of these toys start to stain the wall with whatever color their feet are. And eventually they stop being sticky, but every kid in existence just tries to make up for that lack of stickiness by simply throwing them harder at the wall. Eventually this ends up leaving a Creepeez sized hole in the middle of your parents living room. Like I said, it is a no win-situation.

With all of that in mind, I still absolutely love these toys. For a generic toy line they are just oozing with charisma. For starters there is an entire set of Creepeez and you do not have to have rich parents to collect all of them. There are six figures total and at only $2.50 a piece you're only looking at $15.00 for the bunch. 

At that price they are still cheaper than what a single Transformer figure will cost and here you get six different toys. Each with its own unique badass sounding name... Gooby Bobby, Sam-urai, Wrapped Jack, Eyegor, Roboto,  and Scully McCully.  With names like that it is impossible not to almost immediately fall in love with this line of toys.

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Scully McCully is my personal number one draft choice out of the six Creepeez figures. Mostly because he looks so much like Captain America's arch nemesis, The Red Skull. There are certain things in life you do not pass up and one of them is an unlicensed knockoff of The Red Skull turned into a sticky wall figure with six limbs. Even if it is only by happenstance that it looks like him, I still love Scully just the same.

Beyond just simply looking vaguely like The Red Skull what I enjoy most about this toy is the fact that it just looks evil. Some of the other toys are made to look a little goofy or a little silly but other than his name, Scully is the clear cut evil leader of the group. I only wish that his body had a bit more yellow or black on it, to help make the redness of his head stand out a tad bit more.

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I also would like to point out typo on the back of the package. You'll find stuff like this quite allot when looking at off-brand toys such as these. Sometimes the initial idea for things get changed but unfortunately a package has already been printed... so things are not guaranteed to match up 100% of the time from the toy to the back of the box.

Point in case, the name of this figure is listed as Scully McCully in the "Collect Them All" section... but the sticker on the back of his head has a slightly different spelling, Scully M'Cully. I do not quite know what the reason for this is, but if I had to guess the cost for that sticker was probably 0.0001% cheaper without the extra lower case "c" and that small percentage multiplied  by however many thousands of these figures were produced was just enough to warrant the change. I prefer "McCully" over "M'Cully" ... and have officially put more thought into it than the company who made the toy in the first place.

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Coming in a very close second place is Wrapped Jack. I am a sucker for toys that remind me of the old Universal Horror films and if this guy was sold in mid-October I would be pounding my first on the table claiming him to be an unlicensed Mummy figure. However here in April, Wrapped Jack can slip by without infringing upon that territory. Especially within the context of the rest of the Creepeez line, which tend to range more towards the gross out / horror side of things.

Ultimately what really sells me on this figure is the awesome looking exposed eye. It is not just an eye... but a pissed off, bloodshot eyeball with specs of things in it. Because eyes with specs of things in it are inherently cooler than ones without. If it was not for the little details that have been added into this eye, I would almost call it a sort of bland looking figure. Something that tends to happen by default to most Mummy related items. As a matter of fact not even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could get away with releasing a Turtle / Mummy figure and not have it be almost borderline bland. It comes with the territory of having to cover 90% of your figure in white bandages.

Before we get onto the demonstration video, here is a little bit of information about the company who makes Creepeez. This is something I would like to do briefly for every Summer Toy that I post, because knowing a bit about the company will help me to decide if there heart is in the right place or if they are just doing a quick cash grab by releasing low quality, overpriced junk. Besides a lot of these companies tend to be pretty interesting.


Zuru is the company behind these toys and while there official website is under a redesign and does not have much information on it, thanks to the beauty of the internet I was able to dig up a bit of info on them. The company was founded in 1993 under the name "Guru Toys" and actually began life at the New Zealand Science Fair! It was here that thirteen year old Matthew Mowbray came in first place with a model hot air balloon. Proving that dreams do indeed come true, Matthew and the rest of the (recently renamed) Zuru Toys now have a company based in Ghangzhou, China. Matthew if you ever happen to run across this article, I think your story is awesome and you are an inspiration to us all!

Zuru Toys makes, among other things a Nerf like line of blaster toys that shoot foam darts called X-Shot. The Yoho, which appears to be a light up hula hoop with multi-color LED lights. And Shnooks, think of a cross between the 1980s troll dolls and My Little Pony... only no-place near as creepy as the description that I just wrote.  

Zuru seems like a respectable toy company and one that is intent on making toys that children will enjoy without blatantly trying to rip off name brand product lines. I particularly like the X-Shot line, I remember growing up with Nerf shooters as a kid but over the years... Nerf seemed to morph into something a little to serious for there own good. It is nice to see someone else step up to the plate and provide a cheap, fun alternative to Nerf. Alrighty, let's get on with a quick demonstration video:



As you can see Creepeez work exactly like you think they would. Design decisions aside, most of these sticky toys function exactly the same. Throw it against a wall and watch it work its way down. There are really only two things that matter. Does it stick and does it stain? They very clearly work as advertised and while I am not sure if I would advocate throwing it five hundred times against a freshly painted white wall... the couple of tosses I gave it left no lasting marks.

The toys themselves are made of quality material. They do not seem like something that would break after a couple uses. The sticky balls on the feet of each are bound to pick up every piece of dust or dirt within a five mile radius of your house, but once again that is just something that happens to toys like these and not a specific default of the Creepeez designs.

The head of each figure is made out of a foam like material, think Nerf darts. While the smaller body is made out of a piece of lightweight plastic. So in theory no matter how hard you throw these against the wall (and as you an tell by the audio in the above clip, I slung these suckers pretty hard) they shouldn't do any real damage. Not unless the protective foam head comes off, but by the time that happens chances are the sticky feet will have quit working and 99% of the kids will have lost interest in the toy. Let's do some overall ratings on the Creepeez line:

Price: 5 out of 5 -- At only $2.50 a piece, Creepeez are priced exactly the way a generic summer toy should be... cheap!

Quality: 4 out of 5  -- Lots of bright colors. Sturdy material that will hold up. Loses points for having cheap eye stickers and solid colors on the body of each figure

Package: 5 out of 5 -- Very well designed package with lots of big images that are sure to attract attention. A nice big plastic bubble window shows a clear front and back view of the toy. Easy to open.

Replay Ability: 2 out of 5 -- An unfortunate side effect of these sticky wall figures is they only work correctly a handful of times before the feet get covered in dirt. Then you are left with a pretty useless figure that will end up being tossed away.

Overall: 4 out of 5 -- Creepeez are an awesome 'instant gratification toy'. Every kid who gets one will have fun with it for a couple of days before it ultimately looses its ability to stick to things. Then it ends up on the bottom side of your toy box or thrown in the trash. But seeing as how the price is so low and the figures are so well designed, that does not really matter. The entire point of a cheap summer toy is to provide a little bit of fun for a low price. Creepeez does exactly that!

Edit: I've noticed that among the search results that are bringing people to this page one of the top ones was how to clean Creepeez. I will offer a bit of advice, for starters save the plastic bubble container that they come in. When you are not using Creepeez, it is best to store them in the package they came in. That will keep them from air drying out.

After you are done throwing it against the wall, it would be best to run it under some warm water and clean off any dirt or hair. Try not to let any gunk dry onto the feet of your Creepeez. Those are about the only two things you can do to prolong the life of your figure. Remember they are not really designed to last forever but with proper care you should get at least a couple weeks out of them. Hope this helps!


Be sure to check out these other Summer Toy Articles:
-- Wrist Copter

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