So, out of the blue, today I will do a quick review of the Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) by MGA Entertainment! I want to thank Amy and Lilium for suggesting these toys to me. Each mystery doll, packaged in a softball-sized blind box, has seven accompanying surprises to uncover. They're the perfect little Sunday treat:
|Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) doll by MGA Entertainment, $7.99.|
The basic idea here is that each doll is packaged in a ball-shaped container that's wrapped with several layers of plastic. Each layer of plastic hides a different surprise. It's like that party game where you sit in a circle and pass around a package wrapped with multiple layers of tissue paper. Each person unwraps one layer and then passes the package to the next person. Have you guys ever played that game? It's super-fun. Pieces of candy or little toys can be tucked into some of the layers of wrapping. Then, there's a larger mystery present at the very center. So, the person who unwraps the last layer of tissue paper gets the big prize. I loved this game when I was a kid, but very few of my friends included it at their parties.
Anyway, the outermost wrap of the L.O.L. toy describes some of what will be found inside:
Apparently one of the surprises will involve adding water, which seems especially mysterious and fun!
The back side of the ball has a list of all of the different types of surprise:
The rounded edges make this part a little hard to read, so I'll list all of the surprises for you here:
1. A secret message
3. A bottle for the baby
5. An outfit
6. An accessory--like a smart phone.
7. The doll!
There's actually an eighth surprise, too, that will be revealed with water somehow.
That's a lot of surprises for one ball!
Judging by the picture, above, the secret message comes in the form of a picture puzzle. The example shows a crown and a bee, so I'm guessing the message is "queen bee." That's more of a phrase than a message...but picture word puzzles are fun regardless.
Apparently there are more than 45 different sets to collect:
Variety is key with these blind toys.
There's a picture of a zipper marking where the plastic wrapping is perforated for easy removal:
|I love how the bar code is inside a baby bottle design! Very cute.|
It's easy to "unzip" the packaging. Maybe a bit too easy. I wonder if these toys will suffer from sitting on the shelves in big box toy aisles?
The first layer of plastic did not reveal a surprise. Bummer.
The second layer of plastic looks a lot like the first--it's the same pale blue color and even includes the baby bottle bar code!
I unzipped again...
And something was hidden underneath!
|It looks like a big Band Aid.|
The surprise was attached to a layer of plain, slightly opaque white plastic:
The surprise is a little chart showing the different water tricks that the baby dolls can have:
It looks like the doll will be able to change color, cry, spit or tinkle. This does not sound very appealing, to be honest. Babies have a lot of amazing, precious qualities, but crying, spitting, peeing and turning strange colors are not among them. Oh, well.
After a minute or two of looking at this sheet, I realized that it's actually a sheet of tiny stickers!
MGA was wise to make the labels separate from the actual stickers. Can you imagine sending your kid off to school with a sticker on her binder that said "tinkles?" Yeah. Not a great plan.
The next layer of wrapping had a cartoon picture of one of the dolls saying "are you excited yet?"
|Yes! Yes I am!|
There's a clear resemblance between this cartoon and the box art on the Bratz Lil Angelz baby dolls (I like the L.O.L. art better):
|Bratz Lil' Angelz box art.|
I'm not aware of these L.O.L. dolls being specifically part of the Bratz line (the word "Bratz" is not on the packaging anywhere), but the dolls might be a nice replacement for the discontinued Lil Angelz.
The next layer of plastic has another cute picture, but no hidden surprise:
When I unzipped the next layer, though, I uncovered a little hidden compartment in the plastic ball!
The compartment was holding a pink plastic bag:
I got a little over-eager at this stage and charged ahead to strip away the next layer of plastic:
I mean, the baby was telling me that I was almost there!
The next layer of plastic was hiding another chamber:
|This is exciting!!|
There was no stopping me at this point. I had to unwrap the whole ball. The last layer had a really cute baby announcing that she was ready to make her entrance! Kapow!
Here's what the ball looked like with all of the plastic wrap removed:
|It's like a neon pink Death Star.|
I removed the two secret bags from their chambers:
The first bag was translucent enough to reveal that it was holding the shoes:
I cut open one edge of the bag...
And tipped the shoes out:
They looked like boots to me at first:
But I think they're actually athletic socks with a Converse-style sneaker on top? Or maybe toeless sandals?
Let's go with sneaker. I don't think it'd be very trendy to wear athletic socks with toeless sandals. Just a hunch.
The next bag had a larger item inside...
It has a handle and is mostly orange...
It's the bottle!
I like the color combination here.
The top of the bottle doesn't come off, but there's a hole in the nipple:
I was really eager to open up this
Death Star ball and see the doll! However, there was one more chamber on the outside, covered with a circular, disc-like panel:
I pulled the disc off and another plastic bag fell out!
This must be the outfit...
The colors on this outfit match the colors of the shoes and the bottle, so I'm guessing that the combination of accessories in these sets is not random:
The outfit is a little orange onesie with a pink and white varsity jacket!
The little outfit is made out of flexible (not sticky) vinyl and has slit openings across the back:
To reveal the final surprises, I opened up the plastic ball:
There were two plastic bags, two paper pamphlets and a plastic handle inside:
I looked at the colorful pamphlet first. This has a fun cartoon featuring lots of the different L.O.L. characters:
This picture also shows how the plastic ball can be used as a purse, a bathtub, a doll stand or a "hangout."
Sure enough, the handle connects to the top of the ball to make a handle for the purse:
And the interior of the ball has molded seats and an ottoman--so the dolls can hang out:
On the pamphlet, there's also a small paragraph describing the L.O.L. concept:
I definitely LOL at the thought of babies running the world, so I guess the brand is well-named!
The opposite side of this pamphlet has cartoons depictions of all the available characters:
In this picture, I like Teacher's Pet best.
Here's the next panel:
Here, I think I like Lil Center Stage best.
Here's the last panel:
From this group, I definitely like Baby Cat best! So cute.
Judging by the outfit I got, I think my baby is 1-019, Hoops MVP:
So I guess if you want your L.O.L. baby to be a surprise, don't look at the character sheet until you've opened everything!
There was also a long, skinny black and white instruction sheet included:
This sheet gives more information about the water surprise. The baby bottle can be filled with water and fed to the baby...
And then the baby will be able to cry, spit...
...or pee all over the place:
Some babies can also be immersed in freezing water to change their color. I'm guessing they'll turn blue. Overall, it's a fun mix of abilities.
Ok! Time to open the last two mystery bags!
The first one was the accessory bag. It was really thin (it doesn't look like there's a smart phone inside, though):
It wasn't a smart phone, but rather...
Wondering if your doll will come with a pacifier or a smart phone is an odd dichotomy. The two seem about as different as two accessories can be. Still, smart phones can act a bit like pacifiers for adults, so perhaps the contrast is not as stark as it seems.
The last bag held the doll herself. Ms. Hoops MVP (I think):
I cut open the double-bagged package and saw some dark hair...
Ok, I really think it's gonna be Hoops, so let's pick a better name for her before we go any further. I don't want Hoops to stick.
The Baby Name Genie will come to my rescue. This site is especially great because I can use Hoops as the last name:
And her name will be...
Alia Kendra! That's pretty! I love these name generators.
Here come Alia...
I decided not to look at any online pictures of these L.O.L. dolls before I opened my own, so I was not sure what to expect...
Here she is:
I guess my initial thought was that Alia is a nicely-sized doll for a blind box toy. Well, ok, my very first thought was that she has crazy-big eyes, but then...well, then I was impressed by the size and articulation of this doll.
She has a highly movable head (it's ball jointed and can move in all directions), and four simple limb joints:
The vinyl on her legs and torso do not match very well, but she has a cute little chubby body.
Alia does not balance well on her own, so after a few seconds of standing up, she toppled over...
...and I got a peek at my first clue that she might be a baby who tinkles. She has a stragegically-placed hole for that particular trick.
However, I popped Alia's head off to investigate how the peeing mechanism might work, and discovered that there's no connection between her head and her torso:
This made me really curious, so I filled Alia's bottle with water, squirted the water into her open mouth, and then squeezed her head.
I didn't get a photograph of what happened next, but...
|She's a spitter.|
That was a real surprise. I was sure she'd be a tinkler.
Anyway, Alia has molded black hair with two ponytails and some straight bangs:
She stands best when she's wearing her
toeless sandals sneakers:
Her gigantic, circular eyes are jarring at first, but the paint on these eyes is nicely done, with a glossy sheen:
She has reflective white dots in the upper part of each eye, and then another pinpoint dot in the lower part of her pupil:
Alia is slightly larger than a mini Cabbage Patch kid (or at least her head is bigger...) and smaller than a Lil Angelz doll:
|From left: Cabbage Patch mini, L.O.L., Bratz Lil Angelz.|
She's also quite a bit shorter than a Littlest Pet Shop Blythe mini and Disney's mini Elsa:
|From left: Littlest Pet Shop Blythe, L.O.L., Disney mini Elsa.|
Alia's outfit is flexible and open in the back, so it can be bent and twisted to fit over the front part of her body:
It's a little hard to get this outfit on. The little section that runs between Alia's legs is the hardest to maneuver in place.
The front of the outfit looks good:
But he back does not look very good:
Alia does not move very well in this outfit. Her arms can't lift when she's wearing the jacket, and when she moves her legs to sit, the gaps in the back just get more obvious.
Alia's shoes allow her to fit into the doll stand, though:
This is a very useful accessory since Alia doesn't balance well on her own.
I wanted to try out some of the other accessories. One of the best accessories is Alia's pacifier. It looks cute on her:
The "hangout" base of the plastic ball is not such a great accessory. It's hard for Alia to sit in this space, especially when she's wearing her outfit:
And of course sitting makes her outfit gape horribly in the back:
The disc at the top of the plastic ball is supposed to double as a table or eating tray for Alia. This feature is described on the black and white pamphlet:
The directions seem clear: take the disc off the top of the ball, flip it over (to reveal a molded pizza slice) and then insert it into the hangout section of the ball. Easy, right?
This is what it should look like when you're done:
|Cute! I want to try that!|
I had no luck with this, though.
I couldn't make any progress while Alia was wearing her outfit, so I took it off and sat her in the lower section of the ball buck naked:
|So far, so good.|
But then, I could not insert the tray. It just teetered around on top of Alia's legs:
There are little slots at the side of the ball, and the illustrations make it seem like this is where the tray should fit, but I could not (even after several attempts) get this to work.
I even took the lower part of the plastic ball apart to see if I could slot the tray in that way, but no luck.
I settled for having Alia sit in the ball without her tray, but with her bottle secured nicely in the little grips that are provided for that purpose:
So, here's everything that I got in my L.O.L. ball:
I realized at this stage that I didn't get a secret message! I went back into the garbage to see if the message had gotten mixed up with the discarded plastic wrappings and...indeed...it had!
Here it is:
I blocked out the answer in the picture, above, so that you can figure out the puzzle on your own if you want.
When you're ready...here's the answer:
I was going to save my second L.O.L. ball for another day, but I couldn't resist it....I really wanted to to see what kind of variability there is in this line.
So...I opened the second ball.
So...I opened the second ball.
The plastic wraps all seem to be the same--i.e. the same colors with the same graphics--but the plastic balls are different. My second ball was a paler pink color:
I also got a different word puzzle:
Want to guess what this one says?
Here's the answer when you're ready:
|Best friends. Aw.|
Sadly, though, everything else in this ball was the same as the first ball I showed you. I got Hoops MVP again, with her same orange and pink outfit and bottle. That was a disappointment.
However, there was one little difference with this second Hoops...
Remember how Alia had little dots in the center of her eyes? These dots were actual holes in the second doll's eyes:
|She's a crier.|
Now remember, the picture of the the crying doll in the pamphlet looks like this--as though she's crying from the bottoms of her eyes:
In reality, the water comes squirting straight out of the doll's eyes at high velocity. I tried to get a picture of this for you:
She's not so much crying as squirting toxic venom out of her pupils. It's a little spooky.
This doll also has one eye hole that doesn't work correctly--or doesn't squirt water at high velocity, if you want to call that "working correctly." The second L.O.L. ball was a let-down, but I had a lot of fun unwrapping Alia and her accessories.
Here's Alia again, looking cute on her doll stand:
I love how she can tip her head endearingly to the side. I also like her minuscule pacifier. Coupled with those saucer eyes, she looks very babyish and sweet:
Bottom line? As blind box toys go, this one is especially fun. Not only is there refreshing creativity and suspense in the packaging, but the doll itself has some staying power. Alia is a nice size, seems solidly-made, and has good articulation. As an extra bonus, her water play feature makes her an excellent bath time companion. Many doll lovers (myself included) are growing tired of oversized eyes and heads, but it's hard to deny that Alia has a ton of character and her own strange, stylized appeal.
My biggest complaint about this toy is that I don't really like the design of the outfit. The flexible vinyl is not sticky, which is nice, but it's hard to put the shirt on the doll...and even when the outfit is on, it leaves huge, unsightly gaps in the back. The shirt sleeves also limit the doll's flexibility. Polly Pocket does flexible vinyl clothing much better, if you ask me. I wish Alia had come wearing a diaper, because at least then I could leave her shirt off and not have her wandering around naked.
It's fun to fill Alia's little baby bottle with water and feed her. A lot of kids will absolutely love that. It's a great feature for such a small, inexpensive doll. I think it would be amazing to have the tinkling version of each character--especially if the dolls came with little diapers. I've always had a fondness for drinking and peeing baby dolls. They capture a hint of reality without being too gross. However, in my opinion, the crying and spitting gimmicks are not as good. As much as I love surprises, perhaps it would have been ok for MGA to leave out one level of surprise and make all of the babies tinklers. On the other hand, if that had been the case, I would have opened two completely identical dolls this afternoon.
That leads me to my biggest problem with any kind of blind box toy: the risk of getting repeats. The more expensive the toy, the bigger this problem becomes. If you're ok buying only one of these little dolls for yourself or your kids, you're in good shape. However, if you want to collect several of these tykes, the outlook becomes murkier. I suspect I just had a bit of bad luck here--getting two of the same doll in one day--and I'll certainly try my hand at getting a different L.O.L. character at some point, just not until it's easy to find them at normal retail.
From what I can tell, MGA has not experienced huge success with their newest Bratz dolls. A few months ago I hinted that perhaps the company should have put energy into rejuvenating their Lil Angelz line--or something similar--instead. Despite my criticisms of the Lil Outrageous Littles, I think this charming new series of surprise toys puts MGA back on the right track.