'Immersive and wildly entertaining' - we put this Beast Lab set through its paces - but is it worth the money?

We review the Beast Lab Shark Beast Creator set - see how we got on, and if it might be the toy for a child in your life

Beast Labs Shark Beast Creator Playset
(Image credit: Future)
GoodtoKnow Verdict

Beast Lab Shark Beast Creator offers a really immersive play experience for kids. Not only does it involve a mystery reveal, but there's also a science experiment to complete first, along with fun sound and visual effects that really get the imagination going. When it comes to repeat play, the mist feature is exciting no matter how many times you see it, and you can run the experiment without the ingredients, so you don't need to have the refill pack unless you want to buy it.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Teaches delayed gratification

  • +

    Engaging play experience

  • +

    Sparks imagination and creativity

  • +

    Sound and visual effects are excellent

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Batteries not included

  • -

    Refill packs add to the expense

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We put the Beast Lab Shark Beast Creator playset to the test, with the help of a very enthusiastic (and curious) four year old.

Unleashed on the British public at the tail-end of 2023, Beast Lab is an immersive playset, where players conduct a science experiment to create a beast to help save the world. One of a raft of mix and make toys making their way to the market, Beast Lab is aimed at those aged 5 and over, and is easily one of the best toys for six year olds, but it's appeal is broader than that, if my four-year-old nephew's reaction is anything to go by.

There are a couple of variations of the Beast Lab set available in the UK (more on that later) - we tested the Shark Beast Creator set for this review. Following the experiment's instructions, we would 'create' one of two shark beasts - either the Havoc Hammerhead or Mayhem Megashark. All sounds pretty fun so far. But to really ramp up the excitement factor, the playset features a range of captivating sound and light effects, as well as a cloud of incredibly cool 'bio-mist'.

And when the experiment is over, the posable shark beast is ready for battle, with it's killer moves, light-up pandemonium crystal core and ferocious battle roar.

With an RRP of £89.99, the playset includes:

  • Experiment chamber
  • Electronic shark beast figure with weapon accessories (with batteries included)
  • A beaker
  • A one-time-use experiment kit, with a fizzing 'fossil fragment', oozy 'attack serum', dissolvable paper 'skin scraping', fizzing 'roar rocks' powder, and a fizzing 'pandemonium crystal'
  • Instruction manuals

Beast Lab packaging and set up

The Beast Lab playset is mostly packaged with cardboard which is recyclable, with the exception of a couple of plastic pegs, cable ties and packaging around the experiment ingredients. Make sure you check all of the cardboard before you throw anything away, I almost missed the beaker that was hiding in what looked like a cardboard support to keep the playset stable in transit, and it's a crucial part of the experiment, so it would be a shame to lose it.

There are four plastic pegs securing the playset to the base of the packaging, and some were easier to remove than others, and the cable ties securing various parts of the chamber were also a little tricky to remove - they were quite thick and tightly attached, so it wasn't all that easy to remove them with scissors

You'll also need to make sure you have six AA batteries and a small Phillips head screwdriver to hand - you'll need to add them to the base (while it is upright) before starting play.

If you want to maintain the mystery as to which Shark Beast is included in your playset, try to keep the chamber level once you've removed the sleeve, revealing the green liquid - if you tilt it, you can just about identify which beast you have.


When it comes to design, Beast Lab definitely has the wow-factor. It's colourful, engaging, with a hugely mysterious element, and that's before you even turn it on. Once you start the experiment, the playset becomes really immersive and a treat for the senses, there are flashing lights, sirens, roars, and magical mist.

What's great about the design of this playset is that it is a lesson in delayed gratification, as players have to complete a series of tasks before the beast is revealed.

It's also relatively mess free - the instructions advise you place it on a tray for easy clean up, but we didn't actually need that during our tests. The only time there was any mess, was when the chamber was turned upside down to refill the green liquid contained in the chamber, ready for repeat play. Even with the lid on tight, some liquid from the experiment leaked out the top, so I wouldn't say it's a water-tight lid. Just if you make sure you empty the liquid from the experiment out first, and hold it over a bowl or sink when refilling the green liquid, then you'll easily catch any dregs.

What's it like to play with Beast Lab Shark Beast Creator?

Once we were ready to play, it was all systems go. Sound and light effects start as soon as you flip the power switch into 'Creation Mode'. Then you press the finger print scanner, before adding an ingredient to the chamber. Then when the heat dial flashes, you turn it one position, and, repeat the steps until all the ingredients have been added, the heat dial reaches red and the sirens sound.

The instructions are really engaging - they don't just say to add the ingredients, they really buy into the storytelling which will engage a players imagination perfectly. For example, when instructed to add the 'fossil fragment', which is shaped like a shark tooth, the instructions explain that 'this tooth fragment is the core building block of the Beast and determines which species you create.'

About half way through adding the ingredients, the mist starts to appear, which was hugely exciting for my little nephew and assistant toy-tester. It's really atmospheric, especially when you start to hear roaring sounds too. Once all the ingredients are added, you hear a new siren sound, which means it's time to screw the chamber lid on tight and pull down the emergency level to drain the green liquid and reveal the beast. The first time we did this, the liquid only drained about half way, which was a bit disappointing, but it was still fun to see the beast appear. (When we ran the experiment a second time, the green liquid drained all the way, and that's a really dramatic reveal.)

Can you play with Beast Lab more than once?

You can definitely play with Beast Lab more than once, but unless you want to buy a refill pack for the experiment ingredients, you might have to get a bit creative.

We ran the experiment with just water, and you still get all the mist, sirens and the drama of the beast's reveal. You could also add 'ingredients' from your garden, like a stick, pebble or a leaf, but bear in mind that whatever you use might affect how easy the top part of the chamber is to clean between uses. You could even get your little one to draw some ingredients on paper and laminate with clear sticky tape to give them a bit of longevity when immersed in water. The mist will eventually run out, but when that happens, you get a replacement mist in a refill pack, which promised to last for at least 50 mist reveals).

Once you have revealed the beast and the green liquid has drained from the chamber, it's really easy to refill. Simply turn the chamber lid upside down (make sure you've emptied the experiment remnants first) and press the green button - keep it pressed as the green liquid fills up again, ready for the next reveal.

The only part of repeat play that I found challenging was getting the beast back into the chamber after my nephew had been playing with it for a while. I'm sure there is a knack to it, but the knack definitely evaded me for a good 10 minutes.

Can you buy refills for Beast Lab?

Yes, you can buy refills of the ingredients you need to redo the experiment as you did the first time. You can pick the refills up for around £13 from the likes of Very, Smyths, and Argos. The refill packs include the ingredients for two different experiments, as well as a replacement mist that can support more than 50 additional mist reveals.

The refill pack allows you to conduct a Pandemonium Blade Experiment, where your child attempts to stabilise the beast's rage with more fizzing and oozing ingredients, and a Blade Fusion Experiment, that will give the beast a new weapon to add to its arsenal.

Value for money

Beast Lab is an excellent and engaging toy, but with a recommended retail price of almost £90, it's not cheap (although at the time of writing, it was available for £44.99 so if you want to buy it, check various retailers to see if any of them have it on offer). If you're happy to get creative with the experiments when you've used the ingredients on the first play, then it's good value for money, but if you want to buy the refill packs regularly, then it could prove an expensive pastime.

Batteries for the chamber aren't included, which adds to the cost too, making it even more worthwhile checking for sales and discounts before you buy.

Is Beast Lab worth it?

From a play perspective, Beast Lab is undoubtedly worth it, it's engaging, immersive and wildly entertaining. Even beyond the chamber, the beast itself is really fun to play with too.

Beast Labs Shark Beast Creator Playset - Beast revealed

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to the price, it's worth the money too, as long as you are prepared to get a bit creative when it comes to repeat play. As long as the mist function still works, you can get away with not buying the refill packs, and if it's the same component that's in the refill pack, you should get at least 50 misty reveals before you need to replace it.

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Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.