With the toy industry more and more resembling a robotics convention it was about time the doll sector stepped up to the plate. Gone are the days of one trick pony dolls like ‘Baby All Gone’ and ‘Baby Wee Wee’ (did we really need the latter?) as Spinmaster’s Luvabella has pulled out all the stops.
Having spent quite few hours hanging out with Luvabella at Toy Fairs and launch events, I’m starting to get quite attached to the little tyke. She and her brother Luvabeau come in three different skin tones and come packaged with their ‘Lamby toy’, food, dummy and bottle. You can feed her, burp her, change her, tickle her feet, and play peekaboo! Once the little ones are tired out you can put Luvabella to bed and hear her heart beating as she snoozes away. All in all she makes for a very impressive package and it seems customers would agree as her availability is dwindling in the run up to Christmas.
Here’s the big question though, especially from someone outside of their target audience, is it creepy? The glassy stare of some dolls have a wonderful ability to cut deep into the soul of even the hardiest of individuals, and initially I was a tad concerned walking into a room full of them. Luckily, once the batteries are in and the countless motors are animating her face she becomes a very lovely companion and all worries about her plotting my demise melt away. Her animations are reactive and well designed meaning she can be giggling from a foot tickle one minute and demanding a thrilling game of peekaboo the next.
I quite like the ‘throw the kitchen sink at it’ approach to doll design, it brings a higher level of interactivity to a toy that is there to be a companion to a little one and Luvabella is exactly that. I can see why she is in most of the Top Ten Christmas lists.