The Perplexus has been classified in the same category as the Rubik’s Cube, which is slightly misleading since a Rubik’s Cube can be solved by algorithm and the Perplexus is skill-based (in a pinball kind of way). I think the most apt description I’ve come across declares the new toy to be a “compelling spherical distraction contraption.” I couldn’t agree more.
It was invented by 3D design teacher Michael McGinnis (educational anyone?) and has gone through a few variations and battles with copycats, but the premier version is here to stay. Learning Express will be advertising it in our March catalog, so I thought it was high time for a proper review.
Here’s the skinny, broken down into the Toy Talker’s three Fs of toy quality:
The Perplexus is a bright and colorful 3D maze inside a transparent plastic sphere. If they made it bigger, like the museum-quality (right) this would be hamster heaven. But the size of the actual ball (7" diameter) is a nice balance—small enough to fit in your lap but big enough to see what you’re doing. Little hands should have no trouble maneuvering it. Each major “obstacle” is labeled with a small number, and overall the design is very appealing. (Everyone who sees it immediately asked what it is.)
Manipulating the sphere (turning, rolling, flipping, etc.) to guide the small, steel ball through the labyrinth of plastic tracks is not a task for the faint of heart. The easiest level (start in the slot labeled “1”) seems to be aided with some magnets, but by the time you get to obstacle #29 help is nowhere in sight. (Do I seem slightly bitter? This may be because I have yet to get beyond the infamous #29, but I am determined to persevere.) The game is by no means impossible, and there’s a pretty low learning curve—you’ll improve after just a few tries—but the toy is better suited to kids who are reasonably patient. If a child enjoys other kinds of puzzles or mazes, then this is a perfect fit.
The Perplexus is an incredible amount of fun, especially if you add a timer into the mix and start passing it around a group, but it’s definitely a challenge! (And I have a feeling this is one of those challenges where your kids are going to show you up, so prepare to be humbled.) I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!(www.perplexus.net)
The Perplexus is already in stock at many of our locations. Support a local business and buy it at a Learning Express store near you!
- Toy Talker