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For Christmas my son got couple of the Mario Kart branded k'nex sets. He loves to build things and although Lego is definitely his favourite he is also very good at building things with k'nex as as Mario Kart is one of his favourite games on the wii I thought these would be a good purchase for him. I bought him the Yoshi kart whilst my friend bought him the Mario kart and this review focusses on the Mario one.
The Mario kart came packed in a reasonable sized box which was almost triangular in shape as it had a thicker base which worked up to a flat point. The box showed the kart fully made and so you do get a good idea of what you are going to be getting in the kit just by having a quick look at the box. The box has the Mario kart wii logo on it as well as the k'nex name and we are told that this kit is suitable for those aged six and over. What is great with these kits is that the karts feature a pull back motor and so they can race across the floor and this was the main reason I made sure my son had two for Christmas so that he could set them up in little races.
Inside the box the pieces came packed in a bag and there is also an instruction booklet. There are 66 pieces to this kit and so it isn't too massive and over bearing for a child to tackle on their own really I think. I have moaned in the past about k'nex instruction booklets being poor quality compared to Lego ones and whilst I do still think this is true the fact that this is quite a small set did mean that the instructions weren't too tricky to follow for my son and he was able to build this kart without help from me other than when he wanted some of the stickers popping on the kart as he always says he can't get them on straight himself! What I would point out is that although k'nex to me is traditionally about cogs and sticks and pieces like that these karts actually use pieces which look more like Lego bricks. My son is confident with Lego and so it didn't phase him in the slightest and building a kart I suppose you need more "brick" like pieces anyway but it is something to be noted none the less.
My son probably spent around half an hour building this kart which I think was a reasonable amount of time to be building a set with 66 pieces. He didn't ask for any help other than with the stickers in this time and it was quite nice to sit and watch him working independently. When he had built it we were both impressed with the look of the kart as it was just like the standard kart on the Mario kart game on the wii. My son liked how it came with a banana on a brick as the Yoshi one came with a mushroom and he liked to use these as either trophies for the winning kart or as prizes to try and hit as you would if you were playing the game on the computer and so it was nice to see him with the kart in play. The pull back motor on the kart worked well on the laminate flooring in the hall and kitchen but isn't so effective on carpeted areas we found.
Fast forward six months though and this kart is pretty much done in. For some reason if you touch the kart it just falls apart and no amount of taking it apart and popping the bricks back on securely seem to keep them in place. It is really weird because the Yoshi kart has held together really well and they are basically the same product just different colours. I don't think it is about how well the kart was put together because we have both tried to fix the Mario one and it just doesn't seem to hold at all and so the bricks are going to end up in my son's large k'nex box for making his own creation I should think. It is a shame this happened as it was nice to race the karts but as it breaks when touched now it is impossible to do that.
Maybe we got a faulty bit of kit in with this set and this is why we have had problems as like I said the Yoshi one is still fine. If you were to be interested in buying this particular set it is on amazon for about £16 currently which I think is too much. I got the Yoshi one in Smyths before Christmas for about £9 and this is a much better price and one I would say is fair.
Thank you for reading my review!