Splash Games Twister | Source: Hasbro/WowWee/The Toy Book

For decades, WowWee has made a name for itself in the toy department through the release of innovative toys that are rooted in tech. As its name implies, the toys that WowWee produces are intended to bring the “wow” factor, but electronic toys tend to have a limited shelf life and come with a higher ticket price which usually means that if kids are getting a WowWee toy, there’s a good chance it’s for a birthday or holiday.

But that’s changing.

Following the success of the decidedly low-tech Pop2Play brand of heavy-duty, fold-flat cardboard slides and playhouses, WowWee is entering another new category, and they’re doing it with the support of an old ally: Hasbro.

Andrew Yanofsky, WowWee’s head of marketing and operations, tells the Toy Book that the move was a long time coming.

“There is a major need to deseasonalize the business. We have ongoing categories, but when we get into spring, the high price point products that we’re known for tend to deliver less,” he says. “So we’ve been looking for something meaningful and strategic that we can build on.”

In partnership with Hasbro — a company that once owned WowWee for a few years around the turn of the century — the Canadian toymaker known for Fingerlings and the Got2Glow Fairy Finder is doing a cannonball right into the uncharted waters of the outdoor play space.

Splash Games Operation and Crocodile Dentist | Source: Hasbro/WowWee/The Toy Book

This spring, WowWee is releasing its first wave of products inspired by classic titles from the Hasbro Gaming portfolio and the famous NERF Super Soaker brand. Splash Games will debut with Twister, Operation, and Crocodile Dentist while NERF Super Soaker will unleash the RoboBlaster.

“Game titles are endless and Hasbro has done a phenomenal job over the past 50 years by building a gaming portfolio,” Yanofsky says. “Consumers know these brands and titles and Hasbro is doing a great job building symbiotic relationships with licensees.”

To translate the games into a whole new realm, designers whipped-up yard-sized versions of the familiar games complete with integrated water play.

“We look forward to making a splash in families’ backyards this summer,” says Jess Richardson, vice president, licensed consumer products at Hasbro.

Related: Exclusive: The Making of WowWee’s Got2Glow Fairy Finder

Yanofsky says that the Hasbro Gaming portfolio provides “a really strong foundation for lots of new products and experiences” and that many titles lend themselves to “a real opportunity to cater toward outdoor and water play patterns.”

The key driver of the line is Twister Splash.

“Everyone knows the game and the play pattern,” Yanofsky says. “Here’s a new way to experience it.”

The reimagined version of Twister gets wet and wild as players press on the familiar colored circles and send jets of water blasting through the air. Similarly, Crocodile Dentist and Operation see an outdoor update with water sprayers in surprise locations and foam sponges taking the place of organs as kids play “doctor” using plastic tongs as a surgical tool.

NERF Super Soaker RoboBlaster | Source: Hasbro/WowWee/The Toy Book

And for families looking to amp up the competitive spirit, WowWee and Hasbro are planning to change the rules of combat when it comes to backyard water battles through their new line of NERF Super Soaker products led by the RoboBlaster, a product that Yanofsky is particularly excited about.

“It’s like a rotating turret — a sentry — and you shoot the targets to try to fill them up, and when they fill do, they tip and dump,” he says. “It’s man against machine, but you can get behind it and pilot it as a standalone soaker!”

As the first wave of Hasbro-inspired water toys makes its way into retail stores and backyards across North America this spring, development is well underway for expansion in 2023. Plans include new products for in and out of the swimming pool with ride-on inflatables, mega backyard inflatables, and additional summer toys.

“Hasbro and WowWee have a long history and I have to give kudos to Jess and the team,” Yanofsky says. “Kids get to benefit as we continue this collaboration because the products we’re creating — at the price points we’re delivering — are going to be must-haves.”

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.