ToysBulletin.com reviews a great construction toy from MindWare.
The Toys Bulletin staff was truly captivated when they visited the MindWare booth at the New York Toy Fair, and first laid eyes on a “Q-BA-MAZE” demonstration. The toy name has a unique meaning, which we believe stands for “Cube Amaze.” Pronounce it quickly and you will get the idea. In any case, the “Q-BA-MAZE” is a very advanced type of marble run with several features we had not seen before.
We got a hold of the “Q-BA-MAZE” Big Box, which contains 72 cubes and 20 marbles. There are 3 types of cubes used to assemble the mazes. There is a single-exit cube, a double-exit cube and a bottom-exit cube. The cubes are attached to each other by simply sliding the lip on one cube down into any adjoining piece, or they can also be stacked on top of another cube. As the cubes are used to build a structure, the mazes can grow as high and wide as desired. Once a maze is built, the marbles can be dropped into any of the cubes to get things rolling.
Because the cubes each have an exit for a marble, no marbles can get stuck in the middle of the maze. A marble must either drop straight down, or move to the side. Thus, if multiple marbles are dropped into the maze from the highest point, they will be forced to make their way down the maze until either reaching the very bottom, or dropping out of a side cube. Careful placement of cubes within the structure will force all marbles to the bottom of the maze. Also, because of the plastic walls surrounding the bottom-exit cubes, the marbles can accumulate in the lowest bottom-exit cube and not fly off the table.
It is also worth noting that the marbles never follow the same path down the maze. Because of the double-exit cubes, the marble has two possible directions it can go when encountering a cube of this type, so you are never quite sure which way the marbles will go.
The “Q-BA-MAZE” cubes allow kids ages 6 years old and up to build a wide selection of different maze shapes, including fish, parrots, flowers and trees. The cubes come in multi-colors, and there is even a website that provides layer by layer plans on how to build some of the more complex structures.
It is also worth mentioning that the full line of “Q-BA-MAZE” products includes new expanded sets with a 4th type of cube design, a quad-exit cube, which provides 4 different exit paths for a marble. There are even new accessories such as a marble catcher, coaster tube and spiral sphere featured in the larger sets. The “Q-BA-MAZE” is simply one fun toy, and the Toys Bulletin staff spent many hours playing with this one. The “Q-BA-MAZE” Big Box retails for just $39.95 and can be purchased at the MindWare website.