Sonic Search Review
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Players: 1 or more (ages 5+)
Playing Time: varies

Now that we’re more than a month into summer vacation, for most kids, the same old games are starting to get a bit dull. Even floating around in the pool all day is starting to lose some of its appeal. So now’s the time to try something new—like Sonic Search.

Sonic Search is a pretty simple device—just a small plastic ball with a few buttons on it. When you set it, you get a couple of seconds to toss the ball into the water—or hide it, depending on the game you’re playing. After it has a couple of seconds to sink to the bottom of the pool (or lake), it starts emitting electronic blips that will help you find it under water.

The object, then, is to find the ball as quickly as possible by following the sounds. Once you find it, you push a button, and it tells you how long it took you to find it. If, however, you just can’t find it, an alarm will eventually sound, making it easier to find.

Sonic Search comes with suggestions for a number of different games. For instance, you can play on your own, trying to break your own speed records. With more players, you can race against opponents—or you can play hide and seek.

Thanks to the variety of game-playing possibilities, Sonic Search is a flexible family water game. The whole family can join in—but it also works when you’re swimming solo. It’s more challenging than you might think , too—because the ball blends into the bottom of the pool (or even the lake), so you won’t be able to see it well. And with all the underwater echoes, it’s not exactly simple to find—especially if you happen to be in a lake, with boats and jet skis nearby.

There are, however, a few limitations—most significantly, the ball’s depth restrictions. According to the package, it works in up to six feet of water. In most cases, that’s probably best—since it’s not easy to search around in deep water while holding your breath. The problem, though, is that many pools are more than six feet deep—and, when it comes to swimming around at the beach, it limits your range of play (and it was especially disappointing for my friend Dan, who wanted to take it along when he went scuba diving).

Despite its limitations, though, Sonic Search is still worth checking out—especially if you’ve got a couple of kids and a pool. It may not keep them busy all afternoon, but it’s a fun underwater diversion.

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