Top critical review
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Promising idea but poor quality and disappointing as is. It's not a Lego alternative
on August 20, 2013
I love the idea behind this toy, but the execution falls flat. Here are pros and cons;
1) Great idea/concept of matching story with the toy
2) Manual toy - no electricity or batteries involved. Forces kids to be proactive
1) Poorly made - I don't know if this is a Q.C. problem (it's made in China) or just a bad design. The figures that you put on top of the yellow wheels do not fit snugly, so with the force of turning the wheels, they always fall off unless you pull the ribbon very carefully and slowly
2) Same problem with the handle - it does not fit snugly so cranking the wheels to wind up the ribbon is very frustrating process. The handle keeps coming off.
3) The story in the accompanying book is poorly written, contrived and frankly embarrassing to read out aloud. eg. The dog named "Nacho" who is not looking quite so "macho" squeals"Chorizo". Or when Goldie runs into a problem, she tries to solve the problem by thinking outside the box - "she even tries doing hula dances in hopes it will improve her chances" (direct quote from the book) This is no "Goodnight Moon" - Couldn't they have come up with better rhyme and stories...? I can't imagine anybody wanting to read this book more than once.
4) The actual toy is very limited in how to play. It is basically turning a wheel with a ribbon that is attached by a velcro. You get to choose the figures you want to put on the top of the wheel and the pattern you want to make by strategically placing the wheels on the board. In theory, you are suppose to be able to make various shapes such as crown, gingerbread man, lightning bolt,sand castle, happy face, mushroom, letter "L" and "G" etc. etc, but the board is about 10"x10" and the actual "play" area is even smaller than that (about 7.5"x7.5") There are only 5 wheels so most of the complicated shapes end up looking the same or indistinguishable. Also the more elaborate the shape, the more you end up using the ribbon (because of winding it through each wheels) and shorter the spinning time.
5) The spinning time is over in 3-5 seconds. (Yes it is that short!)
6) At over $30 (including tax) this item is way over priced for what it is. You are paying more for the novelty and the idea.
So with all the Cons outweighing the Pros, I'm still giving this three stars because I think the idea is good and promising. I think if they were to continue this series going vertical and horizontal (making Ferris Wheel for example with interchangeable parts and figures), it could become more interesting and maybe worth the price.
Finally, this is entertaining for my two year old daughter but I find it hard to believe that anyone over 6 years old can be entertained by this for more than 15 minutes, and come back to play this over and over again. Much as this has been compared to Lego, this is no Lego alternative.