This reviewing thing is a funny old lark. We can at least say no to the products that we will obviously hate. Who wants to review something that obviously isn't going to be great? Apart from not needing any more useless stuff in the house, I would resent having to spend an evening writing a review about a product I've hated. So I have said no to lots of review opportunities and only said yes to things we'd enjoy. As a result I've never really had to write a bad review. Until now.
The Scooby Doo Mystery Mansion Playset. It has all the ingredients to be a great toy. My boys LOVE Scooby Doo (now complete with his own Scooby Doo facebook page, so he is way ahead of me who is yet to get onto facebook at all). They also really enjoy playing creative games with figures, particularly when there is lots of secret nooks and crannies and special bits to the toy. The Scooby Doo Mansion Playset is full of these. A rotating staircase. Secret trapdoors. Scary skeletons. Spooky hands. It's all there and the boys love it. They really enjoy playing with it and it has caught their imagination.
So why do I have to write a bad review? Because, and there is no way to put this more delicately, the quality of the toy is awful. The plastic is very thin and fragile and barely holds the house together. As soon as the boys get involved it just completely falls apart. The roof detaches, the hinges come apart, all the little bits and pieces scatter. Now my boys are rumbunctious, but they know how to play with toys without destroying them. Their Playmobile sets are used for hours without collapsing. They are not subjecting the toy, already aimed at the 4 year old plus market, to anything that any other child of that age wouldn't.
Even if it didn't feel so cheap and didn't fall apart so frequently, this toy still wouldn't get my vote. It just hasn't been designed very well. You can close the house (good thing) but not without a lot of tweaking and twisting of the various bits. But most disappointing of all, the mansion didn't come with any figures. Not one. We've improvised (not as well as Patch of Puddles though) but it's a bit hard to get really excited about the Scooby Doo House without a Scooby Doo. Nor Shaggy too.
The boys do keep trying to play with it and, bless them, they are improvising well as the Mystery Mansion disintegrates around them. As the product seems to be retailing at around £45 I can't, in any honesty, put my hand on my heart and recommend this toy as value for money to anyone.
This is a review post for which we received the Scooby Doo Mystery Mansion Playset (retailing on Amazon for £44.99) to review free of charge.