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Blog (Product Review): Go Grippers Bounce ‘N Zoom Speedway

Planes, Trains and Automobiles…no not the movie, I’m talking about the toys my little guy is playing with these days. We’ve tried (key word = tried), to minimize the amount of toys and ‘stuff’ MJ has, but 2 years later, somehow our house looks like Santa’s workshop and Toys”R”Us crammed into 1700 square feet! We’ve tried the “no toys for Christmas please”, but for some reason the grandparents and great-grandparents seem to have selective hearing. It also doesn’t help that MJ’s birthday is exactly one month before Christmas, so it just seems as though the house is jammed with presents for months on end.

That being said, it is really awesome to see MJ start to actually play and pretend with toys…yes the majority of the time he still likes to climb everything, smash everything, tear open every box he sees, and rip pages out of colouring books, but then he’ll play ‘head on collision’ with his trains, fly his plane around with different pilots and passengers, roll his cars through the hallway, or cut some vegetables and bring them to me on a plate from his pretend kitchen, and that’s what I love to see the most…his little imagination flourish.

So when we received the large box (it was literally as tall as MJ!) from Kids II, which was the Go Grippers Bounce ‘N Zoom Speedway, you can just imagine his little 2 year old reaction “open please, open please”. I waited a while to open it, for a few reasons, but most notably because I didn’t quite know what to expect when the box was torn apart (yes, refer to the above comment about MJ’s current play habits)…little pieces…lots to assemble…stickers…MJ eagerly trying to play with it while I hurriedly tried to snap pieces together and ward him off. Well, I couldn’t keep the box closed forever…so see below for my pros and cons, and a little video from our unboxing.

PROS

Assembly:
As apprehensive as I mentioned that I was, this ‘speedway’ was quite easy to assemble. A few things that I appreciated while assembling were that the pieces had letters on the back, which helped to identify the various sections without having to match their shape to the instruction booklet.  Another great thing – which you’ll learn to appreciate too – was that there were no tools required, no batteries needed and no decals to put on – #winning!

Size:
As you can see from the video, the ‘speedway’ is quite tall and wide. If it seems big to us, imagine what MJ and other little ones think when they’re playing with it! It’s as big as them! This is also neat, because MJ could actually stand up and play with it, rather than have to kneel or sit beside it.

Hydraulic ‘Claw’ :
The first thing that attracted MJ to this toy was what I call the ‘hydraulic claw’. This is the piece that you push down and in turn it grabs the car, lifts it up, and drops it so that it bounces on the mini trampoline. MJ loved pushing the hydraulic piece down regardless if there was a car on the platform…he liked the noise it made. This component of the toy was definitely a cool differentiator from other car ramp playsets, however, I’ve also listed it under the Con section too.

Play Value/Trampoline:
This was the first car ramp/speedway set that MJ had ever played with, and he quickly figured out that due to the laws of gravity and acceleration (yes there are lessons in every toy!), he decided it was just as fun to roll everything he could find, down the ramp, instead of just the car! Not only that, but it’s cool that no batteries are needed and that the car takes a different path each time (due to a barrier that toggles between both coloured paths).  The trampoline portion the car lands on after taking the orange path, is a cool addition to this set as well – however finds itself in my Con category when used with the hydraulic claw.

Price:
The Go Grippers Bounce ‘N Zoom Speedway retails for $54.99, which isn’t a terribly expensive price tag considering the size and play value. Its sheer size would make you the best gift giver ever (you’ll need a nice big roll of wrapping paper though!), and once assembled, the car it comes with provides lots of playtime right away. Don’t forget there are no extra costs for batteries and no fuss with tools. When and if this goes on sale, it would be a total score for a friend’s birthday party present!

CONS

Hydraulic ‘Claw’/Trampoline:
As mentioned above, the hydraulic claw is the piece of this playset that MJ goes back to the most. The issue is that when you push it down to grab the car, it doesn’t always clasp properly, and thus lifts up without actually grasping the vehicle. I can tell when MJ gets frustrated because he won’t let it rise and will continually push it down until it clasps the car – which sometimes takes at least 10 tries. The Oball cars used with this set have really cool holes on their hood, so that it’s not only easy for little hands to grip and hold the car, but for this particular playset, it should make it easy for the claw to grab a hold of the car too – but that’s not the case. Not only that – but when the claw finally gets the car, lifts it up and drops it, it doesn’t always hit the trampoline (which I’m assuming it should) and thus just slams on the floor. MJ doesn’t seem to mind (he loves when things go ‘smash’!), but I don’t think it’s supposed to miss the mark.

Final Verdict

Don’t let the size intimidate you. With MJ being just over 2 years old, I think he’s just the right age to start to explore, imagine and play with this type of toy. As mentioned he will roll anything down the ramp, and is constantly pushing the claw down. If the hydraulic worked more consistently then I’d give this toy a higher rating. The easy assembly, mid-range price point, size, uniqueness and lack of batteries raise the grade, so overall I give it 8 out of 10. Not that MJ cares about what I think! Take a look at the little video I put together of us assembling the set and then MJ playing with it for the first time. Enjoy!

The Go Grippers Bounce ‘N Zoom Speedway tested by MJ!

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