I bought this game for very personal reasons. When I was in elementary school, my school library had one of these. I never got to play more than just a few minutes at a time with it, and I was completely obsessed with it. So, when I saw it at the book and toy store where I work, I couldn't resist it for long.
Actually, I did resist for awhile, but eventually I took it home, hoping the rest of my family would enjoy it with me.
What it Is
The Labyrinth Wooden Maze comes in a box just big enough to hold it very tightly. When you get it out, you have what basically looks like another box. The top of that box is a tiltable wooden platform. On two sides of the box there are dials to turn that tilt the platform up and down, or side to side, respectively. The game comes with 2 marbles (in case you lose one). On top of the platform there are a bunch of raised walls that make a maze, the numbers 1 through 36, 24 holes, and one solid, snaking black line that runs throughout. In the box are 2 metal marbles(one is extra in case of loss). Underneath the platform is a hollow area (evidently sloped) so that when a marble falls through one of the 24 holes, it comes out another hole at the base of the box in the bottom right hand corner.
How to Play
Before making your first attempt at this maze, practice a little bit with turning the dials to see how they move the platform. Then, tilt the platform back and to the left, and place your marble at the very top of the maze, in the upper left corner, near the number one. Now, using only the dials to tilt the maze up and down and left and right, send the marble through the maze, following each number in order (or the black line), and get all the way to the bottom right corner of the platform without letting the marble fall through any of the holes. When the little marble falls through a hole, wait a few seconds and it will come out the ramp at the bottom of the box. Then, take the marble and put it back at the beginning. You can use the numbers to keep track of your progress.
Who Can Play?
At my house, I'm the only one who has shown any interest in this game. My now 8 year old ought to be interested, I think, but he's not. At some point I think he will be. I think you need to be at least 6 or 7 years old to enjoy this game, and probably 10 or older to have any hope of accomplishing the task. I played with it as quite a young child, never getting very far, but enjoying it nonetheless. The maze is challenging enough for adults as well. So, depending on personality and interest, anyone from 6 to adult might enjoy this game.
How Does it Compare to the Old One?
So far as I can recall, the maze on this toy could be identical to the one I played with as a child. However, that one was heavy and solid and built to last. This one is made of very light wood and feels like if it were to be dropped from much of a height at all it would probably break.
I think I paid about $18 for this. It seemed at the time like a good deal for an all wooden game, but when I opened it up and realized how lightweight it was, it seemed like just a fair price, not a great price.
Is It Fun?
Well, I'm the only one in my house to think so, but I think this is fun. As an adult, it probably took me 5 or 6 hours (spread out over several days) to successfully get the marble from start to finish. It would take a child much much longer. Unfortunately, once you perfect the skill the interest in this game passes pretty quickly. Once I was able to make the marble go from start to finish several times, I was done. And, since my husband and my kid had no interest, it has since sat untouched in our closet. I'm hoping one day he'll want to try it out, but for now, we're pretty much done with it.
A Good Purchase?
Well, there was only one way I was ever going to satisfy that old childhood desire to solve this puzzle, so I can't really regret purchasing it. Since it doesn't have much replay value, and no one else in my house is interested, I can't recommend it very highly.
Unless you have a particular interest in this kind of challenge, or more than one person in your household or circle of friends who might find it fun, it's probably not worth the purchase.
THIS is a Superplexus, and it's a US$30,000 Labyrinth on STEROIDS... with LASERS and SHARKS TOO!
There is also the US$25 hand-held version, The Perplexus:
Or, for the ultimate challenge, the US$30,025 Super-Perplexus!