We love this one. The Happy Puzzle Companies Roller Coaster toy is one of those toys you can watch for hours (almost) – transfixed and perplexed by the ball bearings going round and round the track under their own steam after being lifted to the top by a screw mechanism.
You may ask yourself why is this a “puzzle”? Well a fair part of the fun of this roller coaster track is that you have to build it first, and there are so many pieces which have to fit together perfectly in order that the balls stay on track all the way round it really is a puzzle of sorts in its own right. Your kids will definitely need help unless they are proficient with sharp scissors and accurate alignment, which makes it all the more enjoyable because adults can join in the fun aswell.
The track itself is a tough plastic tubular material which arrives in one long piece – this is where the cutting comes in. As far as the length of each coaster track section is concerned, getting it right is easy, as the instructions have pictures of each track section you will need – these are actual size so the long track is simply laid over each picture and cut to length as instructed. Care should be taken when fastening the cross sections of the rails, as the plastic connectors are a touch on the fragile side.
A D type battery is required to power the motor which is attached to a screw which rotates and drags the ball bearings up to the top of the happy puzzle company roller coaster itself. Once at the top, the balls are free to drop onto the tracks and off they go! There are two routes they can take due to a clever little divider which acts like a set of railway points, shifting the ball from one section of the coaster to another in an alternating fashion. A loop-de-loop at one end makes for an extra bit of excitement as the ball must drop sharply into this otherwise it won’t have the momentum to carry it through the loop without dropping off. Fiddling with the track to align all the stretches perfectly takes time and concentration, making this toy an absolute pleasure for budding engineers because if it isn’t done right, the balls won’t go round without leaving the track.
Nothing else is required for this toy – everything needed to get up and rolling is contained within the box (except the battery and scissors which must be bought separately) , this includes the base, motor, metal struts, plastic grippers, tracks, steel balls and a comprehensive set of instructions which guide you through the building process from start to finish using pictures and diagrams. We found the roller coaster by the happy puzzle company a pleasure to play with and it comes out from time to time even though the kids are getting older.
Its a great product in our view, let down only very very slightly by the cross members which can break if you’re not careful – apart from that 99%