03/08/2010 13:24 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

GoGo Hamsters - They're Back, And This Time They've Brought Reinforcements

They were the toy sensation of last Christmas - parents hunted for hours and paid over the odds for battery-powered hamsters that liked nothing better than hiding under the sofa.

But GoGo Hamsters are so last year - nowadays you'll find them under their international name of Zhu Zhu Pets. And now the little critters have a new incarnation specially designed to appeal to boys - say hello to Kung Zhu Hamsters.

The range comes in boy-friendly battle colours, with a black nose instead of a pink one. There are eight new hamsters in total, with two styles - Ninja and Special Forces.

Accessories available include special armour, assault course training grounds and a Giant Battle Arena. Though the floor will do just as well.

Buying the armour (around £7.99) gets you access to the 'Tablet of Zhu' - a special code that puts the hamster into battle mode, and triggers new sounds and behaviour. So unfortunately this is a toy where you need to buy something extra in order to get full play value out of it. Or you could be mean like me and not mention the extras to your child - wonder how long that will last?

Though these toys are marketed as a tougher cousin to the original hamsters, they may not necessarily lead to rougher play. Little boys I showed them to loved the hamsters, but wanted to keep them as cuddly pretend pets, rather than use them as battle fodder.

Aesthetics aside, there isn't a huge difference between Kung Zhu and the rest of the GoGo family - they all make weird noises and hide under the sofa. So if you have a boy with a sensitive side, who likes toys you can cuddle and play war games with, this is the one for him. But catch them while you can - these are clearly going to be a runaway success.

Kung Zhu Hamsters are widely available now, priced around £9.99

Other toy crazes that had the toy shops wishing they'd ordered more:

  • Rubik's Cube - I could do this, but then I didn't have many friends and a lot of time on my hands
  • Tickle Me Elmo - Er, no thanks
  • Cabbage Patch Dolls - A face only a mother could love
  • Furby - Stuff of nightmares
  • Beanie Babies - From collector's item to car boot sale stalwart in less than a decade