Reviewed by Jo Tebbs
It’s that time of year again, Christmas is fast approaching and us parents are having to think about what exciting presents we should be purchasing for our little cherubs! If your little one is desperate to have a small, cute and entertaining companion, but you think the ‘novelty element’ may wear off quickly, plus you aren’t looking forward to cleaning up after a real life animal… then the Happy Hamster Marble Run Deluxe Set might be just the addition your family needs.
This marble game combines 5 extremely adorable, little furry hamster marbles and a whole host of modular track with additional features and stunts, that result in the game providing hours of fun and entertainment as your child builds new and exciting marble run courses to let their little hamster companions run riot around.
The Happy Hamsters Marble Run Deluxe Set is aimed at children aged 3+ (due to small parts that could potentially be a choking hazard). However, I do feel that this age of 3 is a little optimistic for the game. The track is very fiddly to construct and certainly hard to keep together when little hands are busy playing and pulling on the sections. 3 year olds don’t often have the delicate finesse (and patience!!!) required for handling and placing the track pieces together. They also can’t read the instruction manuals, so parental supervision and assistance will certainly be required when setting this game up!
In all honesty, I know I’m not the best person when it comes to following instructions, but it took me nearly an hour to assemble all the pieces and create a track for the hamsters to get ‘let loose’ on. Unfortunately, my ‘little helper’ ended up being more of a hindrance than a help when it came to constructing the track, so I ended up making it when she was in bed and then she could play with it in the morning once it was all assembled.
If your child is a little older though, this game will encourage your child’s imagination to run wild as they design and build new courses and adventurous challenges from which they can set their hamsters to roll around on.
This particular Happy Hamsters set is made up of 75 individual pieces (once certain pieces are placed together, it forms 45 usable games pieces to play with) including 5 hamster marbles, an array of track pieces and stunt sections i.e. a hamster wheel and elevator. The game comes with an instruction manual for building the particular pieces and along with this, it also provides a few ideas of courses that can be created, but ultimately, the world is your oyster and you can create a whole multitude of different hamster marble runs. As long as there is a ‘downwards’ principle adhered to for designing each course, then the hamsters will provide lots of fun as you watch them ‘scurrying’ along the track and carrying out the stunts provided.
The track also provides an interactive element requiring your child to manually operate particular parts and stunts, such as the elevator and running wheel, in order to ensure that the hamsters keep moving along the masterpiece of a course that they have engineered. There are also parts that act as speed boosters which can strategically get placed along the courses to keep your furry friends running along nicely and not coming to a grinding halt.
Something I also like about this set, is that it can also be used (and is compatible with) other Happy Hamster kits. Therefore, you can create even bigger and more stunt filled courses and have even more cute little hamsters ‘running’ around them!
Each hamster marble has a soft, fuzzy (almost velvet like coat) coming in an array of colours and they also have slightly different ‘markings/patterns’ on each one so if more than one child are playing with the game, they can each choose a distinguishable individual hamster marble to each play with. You could also add a competitive element to the game and get your children to time their hamster as they run through the course to see who’s hamster goes through it the quickest.
This is a very unique idea for a marble run and would certainly make for a fun and novel Christmas present, especially if your child is a very keen animal lover too! As mentioned earlier in my review, my only criticism with this game, is that I think adult assistance might be required when setting up the courses, otherwise you may find that your child gets frustrated if they struggle putting the pieces together and if the track doesn’t stay ‘fixed in place.’ Overall though, the HAPPY HAMSTERS Marble Run Deluxe Set would make for a lovely gift!
Rating: I would rate this product 3.5/5
RRP: The RRP for this game is £39.99
You can buy the HAPPY HAMSTERS Marble Run Deluxe Set from Smyths here.