Test Tube Aliens return, apparently. I must have been out of the loop first time round, as I had never heard of them, and nor had my son William, eight.
Not that that bothered him one bit, as he pounced on the packaging and shrieked out the slogans and phrases plastered across it: 'We will attack' he growled in a suitably horrific voice shortly followed by an astounded 'They're electronic!'
Indeed - and according to the box the better you treat them, the longer they live. Feed them and they will grow. Ah! So they're like those other toys you feed and (don't) take care of...
So, as enthralling as the box was (and we'd both been oohing and ah-ing over it for five minutes by this point and shouting 'We will attack' in silly voices') we opened it up (usual kerfuffle with one of those plastic cartons - you know - severing at least one finger, ripping off one hang-nail and uttering three expletives). Inside was a test tube with what appeared to be a plaster encased something or other, a set of instructions, and a packet of 'sloog'.
William took charge and followed the instructions to the letter, removing the plug in the top of the test tube and filling it with water until it stopped fizzing...
Days passed, and still it fizzed. OK, so it was only about five minutes, but when you're 8...
'It hasn't lit up' William fumed, consulting the leaflet, 'It says its head will light up as soon as it emerges! Its heart is in its head! It HAS to light up.'
But our alien's head was resolutely matte.
'Is it broken?' William asked me sadly, 'You read the instructions.'
I did as I was told, and yes, sadly, it seem our alien was suffering some kind of malfunction. Oh dear.
'Never mind, ' I said brightly, 'You can still do all the online stuff.' And so he did, logging on to the website to register his alien. More trouble. Our alien, was, according to the little card he came with, Zurc. However, his registration number had him down as Urg. William was NOT happy about this. Not happy at all.
The website, however, did hold his interest; apparently it COMMUNICATED with his alien, the screen flashing and sizzling during a 'brain scan' - despite our alien not actually working. Do I suspect trickery? er, (whispers) yes)...
But trickery or not, William spent a good hour browsing round the website, 'interacting' with his alien and endlessly calling me to come and have a look at the various 'interrogation tools'.
Sadly for me, I can see this being the hottest new playground craze - my son has already - and with great enthusiasm - informed at least three of his friends about the aliens via Skype (pressing the actual alien up against the screen and shouting 'and PROPER ones have heads that light up'...)
I can see a trip to the toyshop for a 'proper one' and more for the collection very soon.
There are six Test Tube Aliens to collect and they cost around £12.99 each. Suitable for age seven and up.
See the promotional video here: