Wednesday 29 February 2012

Xia Xia Interactive Hermit Crab and Confetti Cottage review

When we were offered the chance to review an Interactive Hermit Crab, my first thought was, "that's not very cute, I wonder what the girls will make of it" ! Well, I needn't have worried, the Xia-Xia crabs are incredibly cute and all three Madhouse Mini-Testers loved the one we received. "The what crab?", I hear you ask. Well, we weren't quite sure either - the girls started off with "kseea kseea", then went on to "exia exia" before I half-heartedly suggested "Zsa Zsa" but to be honest, none of us had a clue how it's pronounced ! In the end, I went to look online and discovered we were all wrong - it's pronounced Sha-Sha!

There are four Xia-Xia hermit crabs in the initial collection, each with its own detachable hermit shell which houses a micro collectable friend. I love the names of the crabs - you can choose between Trinidad, the orange one with the buggy eyes; Tobago, the smiley blue one; Bimini, the pink one with a cupcake-shaped shell; and - the one that we received - Turks.

 As luck would have it, Turks was the one that the girls liked the most, partly for her name, which reminded them of our holidays in Turkey for the last two years, and partly for her cute pigtails and the little hearts on her claws. See ? I was totally wrong when I said hermit crabs couldn't be cute. Who'd have thought it ?!

But that's just the beginning of the fun. If you push the crab's claws, it moves across the floor in a crazy  scuttling motion and, if it bumps into something, it changes direction. This had the kids in hysterics and they kept putting things - often their hands and feet ! - in the way and squealing in delight when it bumped into them and ran away ! The crazy way of moving around reminded me of Zhu-Zhu Pets so I was only half surprised to see that Xia-Xia and Zhu-Zhu are made by the same people (which is actually quite obvious if you think about the names !).

 Each crab has a secret hidden miniature toy/friend underneath their shell (a cupcake for Bimini, a little globe for Tobago, an alarm clock for Trinidad and a little Eskimo-like character for Turks) and the shells are interchangeable, so the idea is that you collect the whole lot and have fun swapping their shells and mini toys around to give them a new look. Each crab needs 2 x LR44 batteries but the good news (for once !) is that these are included.

We also received a Confetti Cottage to review, which is just one of the playsets that are available. The manufacturers explain : "Choose from the Confetti Cottage or experience the Rio de Trio Village with its kooky under-the-sea styling! Alternatively, try the CopacabaƱa Playset. It's big enough for a whole family of Xia-Xia to live in and has lots for these inquisitive little crabs to explore!"

I have to admit that, as a grown-up, I was initially slightly underwhelmed by the Confetti Cottage. It has a door, window and drop down front but that's it. However, the girls were very enthusiastic because it doubles up as a carry case so if they want to take their crab to their friends' houses, they can. It's also a great way of storing them safely so the little bits don't get lost.

As with all collectibles, the playsets are designed to fit together to create a big world and the crabs are more fun if you buy several to swap all the accessories around. It could therefore end up being quite an expensive collection to start, but the Madhouse mini-testers were really enthusiastic, finding the crabs cute and the movements really funny.

Xia-Xia crabs are being marketed as girls' collectibles but Pierre loves them too (although, at 2 years old, he's too small to play with the miniature toys inside the shells) so they could easily be marketed at kids of both sexes.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £9.99 for each Xia-Xia hermit crab, £9.99 for Cofetti Cottage

for more information :


  1. My daughter would like this, love all your toy reviews, gives me ideas for presents!

  2. What a pretty little crabs!


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