Reviewed by Louise Totton
We are massive fans of marble runs in our house, but at the age of 10, my eldest is starting to grow out of the standard ones that we have. Even though our ‘set’ now actually consists of several actual sets that we have combined plus a load of eBay bargains that we have added to it over the years, we are pretty much reaching the limit of what she can be challenged by. Fortunately, there do seem to be some toys on the market that are aimed at kids who like what marble runs do, but need an extra dimension or challenge adding in. We were lucky enough to be sent one of them for her to try out, and we have been having a great time with it over the past week or so. BoomTrix uses ball bearings instead of marbles and trampolines instead of chutes, meaning there is a virtually infinite number of runs, challenges and set up options.
Contained in the box is:
- 1 x start tower
- 1 x start trampoline
- 1 x booster tower
- 1 x stunt ring
- 6 x trampolines
- 4 x angled trampoline bases
- 1 x fireworks goal
- 12 x ball bearings
Setting BoomTrix up is pretty simple, and it’s playable straight out of the box. Setting up the towers was very simple and probably took about five minutes, then we were ready to start bouncing! In its most basic form, the idea of the game is to bounce the ball bearings off the trampolines and into the goal piece at the end. This is made more interesting and challenging with the stunt ring and booster tower, as well as trying to position the trampolines and angled trampoline bases just right, so that the ball can continue on its journey to the goal. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Nope, not at all – this is actually pretty challenging as well as great fun and incredibly frustrating!
The start tower and start trampoline give the balls a high-up starting point and a little bit of power so that they do have a good, strong bounce to successfully navigate between the trampolines and towards the goal. The tower holds all 12 balls and they are released one-by-one with the simple press of a button. They then roll down the starting chute and drop through a hole onto the start trampoline. From there, it’s completely up to you!
We started very simple and initially watched to see where the ball would bounce and tried to locate the goal piece in the right place. From there, we added a simple trampoline in, before moving the trampoline and the angle of the trampolines to try to get a more interesting route. Adding in the walls and stunt ring added to it further and my daughter got very involved in it, very quickly! The set can be as simple or difficult as you make it, and in the two weeks that we’ve been playing with it, we’ve progressed from a very simple floor-level game on the carpet to a version involving getting from the dining table to the windowsill, via chairs, toyboxes and piles of books! We even added in walls and obstacles to really ramp up the fun, and the extra sets that are also available can also add to the experience.
As well as being brilliant fun (and it really, really is!), it’s also a fantastic introduction to physics, projectiles and angle problems and really utilises critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. Lots of toys these days seem to call themselves STEM; it’s almost becoming overused, but BoomTrix is a genuine engineering set and the best bit of it is that the kids don’t even know they’re learning! It is a definite step up for kids who have an interest in toys like marble runs and I think it’s a great one for older children who think they are a little too old for toys, but who would actually be a bit disappointed if Santa only brought toiletries and clothes!
We loved the quality of the set; I had been a bit pessimistic as to whether the balls would actually bounce well enough, and that it might be a bit of a damp squib. It was neither of those things, and it all worked just as well as it does on the videos and adverts. It is super fun, and because there are basically an infinite number of combinations and set ups, it will keep the kids involved and interested for a long time to come: the only limit is their imaginations!
It’s great value and would make a superb Christmas present for boys and girls alike (suitable from age 8+).