Mix the interaction and nurturing of a virtual pet with surprise reveals, physical transformations, and a little bit of music, and you’ve got Rizmo, a new interactive toy from TOMY.
Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Rizmo comes with a backstory: It is a creature from another planet that kids need to care for it. Kids must teach and nurture Rizmo, helping it progress from baby to kid to adult Rizmo.
In order for Rizmo to complete each of these transformations, kids must earn about 35 music points by playing with Rizmo in five play modes. Once Rizmo is awake (out of the packaging), kids can cycle through these play modes by pressing on Rizmo’s head button — its eye color represents its mood. Then, when you reach the desired play mode, swing Rizmo up and down to select the mode. It’ll say “ready, go!” Which means it is ready to play.
All of this is specified in the instruction booklet, which adults should encourage kids to read before playing (or help kids read before playing) to ensure they get the best experience playing with this toy. There are also instruction videos, like the one below, on TOMY’s YouTube channel.
The five play modes in the Baby and Kid phases are speaking, sleep rocking, make music (swing Rizmo through the air to hear musical instrument sounds), singing (roll Rizmo around to hear it sing in its language), and record songs.
If kids play in any of these five modes for long enough, they’ll hear a chime. This indicates that they’ve earned a musical point, which goes toward evolving Rizmo. The most important mode, however, is the record songs mode. In this mode, kids sing to Rizmo. It will record up to 10 seconds of audio, then sing it back. In order to transform, at least 15 of the musical points must come from teaching Rizmo new songs.
Kids do really have to sing — recorded music won’t do the trick — but it doesn’t have to be great singing or even a real song. Preschool music or songs from kids’ favorite shows and movies are perfect.
It’s important to note that earning 35 points will take a decent amount of time and isn’t necessarily intended to be done in one sitting. Like a real child or pet, Rizmo needs time and attention before it will grow, which teaches kids about working toward a goal. However, putting in the time and care will pay off as kids watch Rizmo physically transform before their eyes.
When Rizmo is ready to transform, its eyes will flash colors, then turn white. It’s very important to put Rizmo on a hard, flat surface and to encourage it by clapping and cheering. Neglecting to do both of these things will halt the process.
Once kids have a fully grown Rizmo, there is still plenty for them to do with it. There are two completely new play modes for adult Rizmo — dancing to music and a color game — and kids will discover the adult Rizmo’s unique musical style. It’ll even start singing back some of the songs kids taught it as a baby or a kid.
One thing parents may worry about is Rizmo’s volume as it sings, speaks, and interacts. While Rizmo can be loud, there is a way to set it to a lower volume — simply press its head button while turning it on for a reduced noise level. It’s also important to note that kids can turn Rizmo off when they aren’t playing. Turning Rizmo off (or even changing its batteries) will not reset Rizmo or lose kids’ progress in developing it.
Rizmo takes time and care to fully develop, but kids (especially those who love music) will have plenty of fun in the process.