The biggest problem with any toy is when it’s not true to it’s main purpose. For example, a lot of the cars we’ve bought look really good, but don’t actually work as cars. They have shoddy wheels that don’t turn very well, or wobble when pushed, so they never travel very far in a straight line. You would think that the first thing you’d do when designing something like that is to make it work as a car first, and then deal with the branding second, but it seems not.
And that’s precisely the problem with Rocky the Robot. For all the flashy lights, sounds and movements this toy is capable of, it can’t actually be itself, which means it’s actually no good as a big truck. Kids are going to look at this thing and recognise that it’s a truck before it does anything else, and they’re going to treat it as such. That means they’re going to want to drive it around. The problem is that to do that, and especially if they’re younger kids, they’re going to push down on top of it. A major design flaw with the Rocky the Robot is that the front wheels collapse down into the ground when pressure is applied from the top, so then it goes nowhere. It’s such an obvious thing that you wonder how nobody at the toy company noticed during testing.
As for those flashy lights, Rocky the Robot is quite special in that regard. As well as sitting down like a truck, he can also sit up when his exhuast is pulled. He has over 100 phrases, dances to music (and plays his own), moves back and forth, and if you put something heavy in the trailer complains about the weight before dumping it out when the lever is pulled. All his phrases are also said with a good, easy to understand voice which is filled with character. This is no cheap Chinese knock-off.
So all in all, it’s not a total disaster. As Noah gets older I’m sure he’ll appreciate it more than he does now, so if you’ve got a 3 or 4 year old, there’s still the potential for this toy to delight. It has a lot of attitude and character, which is something often lacking on these things. I just wish it did it’s job better as a truck first, and a character second.