Top critical review
Good quality product but with far too many design flaws
on 22 March 2016
This feels like a well-made, quality traditional toy when you first take it out of the box. The packaging is quite luxurious and it definitely feels ‘premium’. It’s nicely made, from good quality wood with no defects or issues. I really, really wanted to like it.
However, once you start trying to play with it with your kids, the number of quibbles and grumbles about it start mounting up, so much so that I ended up writing a list.
It falls over far, far, far too easily. If you reach over to pick up a marble and brush your arm against it, it falls over. If it’s on a wooden floor and somebody jumps up and down too near to it, it falls over. Since we’ve had it, we’ve spent half the time playing with it, but the other half of the time rebuilding it because it fell over *again*.
It is not designed for anything other than *absolutely* flat surfaces. If you try to build it on a surface with even the tiniest slant or curvature, the marbles won’t roll properly, because the channels they’re meant to run down are flat and totally dependent on the marble’s momentum, rather than gravity, for the horizontal movement.
There is nothing to collect marbles at the bottom. Essentially you are building a very elaborate machine for spilling marbles on the ground- there’s no bucket or collector or anything that you can get the marbles to run into. We have a very young son who’s too young to be picking up marbles yet, and having marbles rolling all around the floor where he might get them is just not safe.
The colour-coding of the different cube(-ish) blocks is good, except that the aquamarine and the green ones look too similar in the manual
The curvature of the horizontal sections is a bit limiting design-wise, and there aren’t really all that many sections included in the box, so the number of possible design variations is actually quite limited. There’s not enough pieces in here to be able to build a marble run of any great height (which is probably just as well, because if you did, it would just fall over anyway.)
The red blocks which can send the ball in either of two different directions end up getting stuck too much, as the marbles manage to balance in the middle and you need to poke them to come out. (Don’t shake them though- the whole thing will fall over. AGAIN.)
The see-saw is too heavy, and won’t flop from one side to the other until it’s weighed down by three or four marbles as a result. If you just drop one marble down, it stops in the see-saw and just sits there doing nothing until you put more marbles down.
The plastic Galt marble run we already owned, which was much cheaper, has many advantages- it’s sturdier, there’s more versatility in the building, there’s a marble collector at the bottom and so on- and although I’m all for the idea of traditional wooden toys in principle, I can’t recommend this expensive flawed option over the cheaper, more child-friendly plastic option.