“Xia-Xia” is pronounced Shah-Shah, and describes an entire collection of lovable hermit crabs, their collectible shells, and some colorful playsets. “Xia-Xia” was released by Cepia LLC., which may be best known for creating the popular ZhuZhu pets in 2009.
The fun starts with the 4 principal “Xia-Xia” pets. There is “Bimini,” with a pink polka-dotted shell, “Trinidad,” grey and orange with spotted skulls, “Turks,” red with pink bows and “Tobago,” sporting a totally blue exterior. Each colorful hermit crab is approximately 2 1/2″ L x 2 1/2″ W and 2 1/2 ” H. They have a handy power switch, and when turned on, a simple tap of the claw activates the “Xia-Xia” pets. The pets move quickly, and change direction when the claws bump into another object. Batteries are included so they are set to go right out of the box.
In addition, the outer top shell of the “Xia-Xia” pet can be removed revealing a tiny friend inside. More collectible shells can be bought separately with different friends hidden inside. All of the shells fit any of the individual “Xia-Xia” pets.
The playsets add to the fun. The “Rio de Trio Village” includes 3 separate enclosed rooms, allowing the “Xia-Xia” pets to scurry from one to the other, bumping and changing directions along the way, while the “Confetti Cottage” is basically a colorful carrier for all of your “Xia-Xia” pets. The “Copacabana Playset” is much like a tree house for playing with all of the “Xia-Xia” pets and their accessories.
We assembled a focus group of children, ranging in age from 4-8 years old. We set up the three playsets described above on 3 separate tables, placing 1 or 2 “Xia-Xia” pets at each of the locations. We showed each child how to turn on the pets and how to turn them off. We explained and demonstrated the differences in the individual playsets and even popped off a few of the shells for the older kids.
We turned the kids loose and we watched along with their parents as the kids played with the “Xia-Xia” pet hermit crabs and all of the accessories. The youngsters loved the way the pets moved and switched directions. They seldom used the “off” button. Instead they just picked the pet up and ran to another table. The “Rio de Trio Village” playset was probably the favorite, as it seemed to have more play room and was a bit larger. We wish we had a few more of the pets available for the focus group, as several of the younger kids had to patiently wait
Several of the pets were dropped on the floor and seemed to recover without incident. One of the pets did seem to lose some battery life toward the end of the evening, but it was certainly put through its paces for a solid 30-45 minutes. The parents and kids were enthused about the “Xia-Xia” pets. There was certainly interest in the changeable collectible shells, and the price point of the actual pets was asked by every parent. The two small batteries (AG-13/LR-44) required by each pet was a bit of a concern, since constant usage would require regular
battery replacement. However, the staff at Toys Bulletin found that 50 of the batteries could be purchased for less than $7.00, and we mentioned that to the parents.
Overall, “Xia-Xia” pets should be a solid performer and popular toy line for many years. The entire line of “Xia-Xia” products can be seen at Amazon.com. Cepia LLC even offers a line of “Xia-Xia” gear, including apparel. Check out their website.
— RJ Cullen