Amazon ThinkFun Laser Class Logic Girls Reviews Review and Buying Guide from experts and users.
± Make sure you put the pieces away correctly!
Style: Laser MazeVine Customer Review of Free Product ( What’s this?)
I used to really be a sucker for any of the puzzle games like Rush Hour and the like. Logic puzzle types of games that would gradually increase in difficulty and be something all (or most) of the kids could work with to just force them to think differently.
But we were forever losing pieces and I just don’t have any of them left any more.
Laser Maze is a puzzle like that, only since it is more "game-like" as far as size, I think we’ll have an easier time keeping track of it. The basic idea is that you have various pieces with mirrors and angles, and one piece that emits a laser-light. The cards tell you where you must place various pieces (and sometimes exactly what direction the piece must be in, sometimes you have to figure out the direction to face it), and you set those up that way. The card also tells you how many and which other pieces you need to put somewhere on the board. You need to then position the pieces in such a way that when you depress the laser, it will light up the appropriate target.
It is far more straightforward than that description sounds, at least at the easy levels. Once you work up to the harder levels, you definitely need to be really thinking. Especially for spatially challenged individuals like me. Once you figure out a solution, you can flip the card over to see if you are right. So far, none of us have found a different solution than what is on the card.
As you work up in difficulty, you are introduced to different piece types. The base of the pieces are color-coded, so it is always pretty easy to figure out which one is which.
The only real complaint I have about this is with the storage. The box has a plastic insert that allows you to safely store all the pieces, and every tall piece fits into any of the little compartments. One compartment is a little bit deeper than the others, and that is where you are supposed to put the laser piece. The laser piece, however, will fit into any of the other compartments, but just sticks up a bit.
Which isn’t all that noticeable if you are, say, an 11-year-old. (The game is for ages 8+)
If (hypothetically speaking) you are 11, and you put the pieces back any old way, put the cover on the box, and put the box back on the game shelf… then the next person to come along and play with it is going to find that the laser piece needs a new battery. Because it has been stored with the laser-activator-button pushed down.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
I do really wish that either a) all of the little wells in the plastic were just a smidge deeper, so it wouldn’t matter which piece was put where, or b) the spot where the laser-piece goes would be far more blatantly obvious, such as the plastic being colored to match the piece types.
The good thing is that we discovered that it is really easy to replace the battery in that laser-piece, and it is a fairly common watch battery. At least, it is one we already had around the house, and we don’t have all that many of the watch battery types around.
± This is a great toy for an only child whose parents can’t entertain …
Style: Gravity Maze
My 10 year old son is obsessed with this game. He loves figuring out each maze. It makes him use problem solving skills and logic. This is a great toy for an only child whose parents can’t entertain the child every minute. He choses this over video games! Now that is saying something.
± Fun Single Player Game
Style: Gravity Maze
My son was very disappointed with the simplicity of this game, so we decided we would donate it to local hospital. I second-guessed my decision due to some of the positive reviews and took the game out again and read through the instructions more carefully. I tried a couple of the beginner cards, then a few intermediate cards and found the game fun and interesting! I explained the game to my boys (too impatient to read directions) and they were completely engrossed with the the game. Both boys tried multiple cards and found the game both challenging and very enjoyable. We often find different solutions for the puzzle than the solution provided, which also adds to the fun factor! Read the directions before you give up!!
± Buy this toy–it is fun.
Style: Gravity Maze
4th graders and engineers love this toy. Follow the cards, create your own, make it big, make it long–it’s all fun. It is the most sought after game in my classroom and it engaged two very serious young adults until they were told to put it away.
± Great concept; excellent learning opportunity; significant flaw
Style: Circuit Maze
Before I start, I want to say my three-star rating is not necessarily advice to avoid this product.
The concept is terrific. It presents challenges both in logic, and basic electronic circuitry, at the same time. The challenges become increasingly difficult. Do not think that this is easy kids’ stuff. I have puzzled over at least one of them for 45 minutes or more. The challenges are not just about figuring out the circuitry–how to get electricity to flow to where it is needed, how to set up both parallel and series circuits–but also about spatial relationships. You must use all of the pieces specified, and you must not have any loose ends. So in many cases, it is possible to come up with a solution easily, but you don’t use all of the pieces, or you have a loose end. Then you have to tinker and experiment and (if you’re really smart, which I am not!) picture in your mind how it should be.
Conceptually, this is one of the best learning toys I’ve ever seen. I would have simply *died* to have this as a kid. You would have needed a crowbar to pry me away from it. I should add, though, that I think it needs a bit of adult guidance, particularly guidance that has some knowledge of basic electronics. I discovered that there is no way you can light up all three of the LED pieces in series, and that is by design. It forces you, in challenges when all three LEDs must be lit up, to use parallel circuits. The instructions explain (and how) what series versus parallel looks like, but at no point do they say that you can’t light up all three in series. This leads to a subtopic, the fact that the LED pieces have resistors built in, and this is exactly why you can’t have all three in series. No mention of this, and to genuinely understand even the basics of circuitry, you must understand resistance.
So, as good as the learning is, it is even better if an adult is around to explain these things, when and as needed.
Now on to the flaw. The execution of this toy is lacking. In many, I might even say most, cases, there is no problem. You put the pieces in as they should be, and things light up as they should. In too many cases, however, there are one or two basic problems:
1. Pieces pop out. Just as you are pushing that last piece in, one of the already-placed pieces pops out. You push it back in, and yet another (or two, or three) pops out. This is worst when you have many pieces all placed into a small area, with no open spaces between them.
2. The contacts can be frustratingly weak. The pieces are in place, as they should be, but one or more of the LEDs won’t light up. You have to push and squeeze together various pieces to close the contacts between them. Sometimes you see barely a flicker; sometimes a weak glow; sometimes, just the right push will get all of them to light up brightly. But other times, you have to press firmly on two or three different places to get any light at all.
These are relatively minor frustrations for me as an adult. They can confuse and turn off a kid, who may look at the solution, find out that she or he did everything right, but the stupid thing won’t work. My freakishly gigantic Frankenstein hands* make it easier to push and prod at several spots on the board at the same time than it would be for a kid.
I have tried to tinker with the pieces. On some of them, you can try to bend the contacts out a little, at the risk of damaging the piece. This seems to help temporarily. But the contacts on the LED pieces are installed in a way that you simply cannot adjust them, short of tearing the piece apart and breaking it.
So, with these limitations, I would advise yet again that an adult be available for help and advice if trouble like this crops up. If a kid is the determined type, s/he won’t need or want any help, and will figure out how to deal with the product’s limitations. And will probably chase you away from the table, "Mom, Dad, leave me alone! I’m doing science!" Otherwise, a little encouragement, and a little, "Don’t be frustrated, you got it right" would go a long way toward making up for the missing two stars in my review.
*No really, they’re like lobster claws from some sci fi movie where radiation makes the lobsters hideously huge, and they go bald and have spare tires and why don’t these glasses work any more, what’s that, speak up, why are you whispering, oh right, now I remember, I’m destroying Tokyo, has anybody seen my glasses, oh wait, I’m wearing them.
± Fascinating for kids and grownups!
Style: Gravity Maze
I bought it as a gift for my grandsons, who liked it and began playing with it the minute they opened it, but it was just as intriguing for our sons, their dad and uncle!
± Fun game, highly recommended
Style: Gravity Maze
Great game but once a person figures out the basics the solutions/patterns become fairly easy to spot. They also make a laser maze which is also a lot of fun but even easier to figure out. This is a step up since the laser maze is 2D and this is 3D. The more challenging levels are not radically more challenging, however.
Kids love it and I am happy they are digging an educational game (just don’t tell them that 😉
All-in-all a very good game and happy with the purchase.
± but had a good time doing it
Style: Gravity Maze
My 14-year-old son solved all the puzzles in about an hour, but had a good time doing it. Afterwards, he began creating his own "expert" level challenges and drawing them out. The pieces are a little tight, but that’s necessary to ensure the marble moves as it’s supposed to…just makes it a little cumbersome to reconfigure. Definitely a brain teaser and worth the money.
± Gravity Maze Awesomeness
Style: Gravity Maze
This is a great brain exerciser for everyone, old and young alike. It’s a nice size for a desk and certainly an attention getter by its appearance. Think Fun products are well made and the Gravity Maze is a great example of that. The towers are colorful, precision built,and interesting to look at. The base has rubber non-slip pads for great traction and holds motionless while snapping the game pieces in place and when the bearing is rolling through them. The difficulty progresses at a comfortable level and it’s fun watching the ball bearing travel downward through the game pieces in the hopes of making it all the way to the goal, the red box.
± Great to teach problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Style: Laser Maze
I bought this to use in my therapy sessions with children to help increase executive functioning skills, specifically problem solving and critical thinking. It has 4 levels and starts at the very basic level which gradually increases difficulty in order for the individual to become comfortable with the technique. Also great for adults who like chess but do not have a partner. I relate it a lot to chess as you have to predict several moves/positions ahead of time, to visually picture the layout in order to win. I highly recommend this as not only a 1-person game but as a teaching tool as well.