Battroborgs, an electronic update of the old Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots toy, are a lot of fun, and hardly need the hype that the marketing team for the toy has thrown at it.
The advertising, Web site, and the free Battroborg Trainer app show animations that variously make the Battroborgs look as if they shoot sparks, use martial arts moves and have light-up eyes. They don't. They do two things: Throw a punch with the left, and throw a punch with the right.
And that's plenty enough to have fun.
You punch using hand-held radio controllers. Hold one in each hand, and when you throw a punch, the Battroborg does too. Alternating lefts and rights move the robot forward. Throwing repeated punches with one arm turns the Battroborg. It can take a little bit of practice just to get them in fighting proximity.
The toy also comes with a "fight arena," something like a boxing ring, which can be set up so the ropes restrict the toys to advancing toward each other, a help to wee ones impatient to get to the punching.
When a Battroborg takes a punch, a light on its backpack signals the level of damage until blinking red signals it's game over and shuts down the Battroborg.
There is also a single-play mode, "Auto Drone," that lets you play against a Battroborg throwing automated punches.
Some of the marketing hype is in good fun. The head of the Battroborg, where you aim your punches, is referred to invariably as the "Neurocranial-Optic Visor." The on/off switch is on the "Triton Processor." Cardboard cutouts you can practice punching with are "Training Drones."
The toy kept two adults entertained for a good 15 minutes, which would have been longer except for looming deadlines -- and the fact that the batteries need a recharge at about 20 minutes. A full recharge also takes about 20 minutes.
The Battroborg play set is $80 with the arena and two Battroborgs. Additional Battroborgs are $35.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.