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When Xmas came around last year we were a bit stuck as to what to buy our daughter as most of our best ideas had been donated to relatives and we weren't sure what else we wanted to get. Then I saw this, reduced from £30 down to £14 in ToysRus and thought we would be getting a bargain! It looked pretty sturdy on the box, resembled a cheaper version of something from the Hot Wheels range, had lots of adjustable ramps for cars to go down, made a wide variety of sound effects and came with eight vehicles!
I was given the job of setting it up and, from the moment I opened the box, had my doubts as to the quality of the product. The plastic ramps seemed a bit thin and fragile and, despite instructions, the whole thing was a bit tricky to fit together ~ only going together one way. As well as the ramps, you also need to assemble the control tower and though this wasn't the hardest bit, still I had a few teething troubles slotting the plastic scaffolding together.
On the control tower are 4 buttons that make, in descending order, the sound of a helicopter (one of the vehicles supplied); the sound of a car alarm along with the blip-blip as someone switches it off; the sound of a car horn and the sound of a car engine starting up. There is also a lift in the Control Tower that takes cars to the three different levels.
The ramps go all around the multi-storey car-park in two ways which can be controlled by two barriers that block off the direction you don't want the cars to go. There is also a third spiral ramp that takes the cars down to ground level and slots on the far end of the garage. Underneath the garage, on the bottom level, there is a further short ramp that can be closed or opened to give the cars extra access to ground level where strategically folded pieces of card seperate the ground level into what is supposed to be a repair bay.
This is a not bad toy but I do have issues with it. You get stickers to go on the garage to decorate but these don't all stick very well and soon begin to peel after only a few weeks play. Fair enough I suppose ~ they're not going to last forever after all. But the ramps are joined together by small connections that are very easily broken and if you even move this garage a little bit about your play area, some of the ramps are going to come apart. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to re-attach the end spiral ramp to the main garage proper. One last criticism is that because where the ramps join the garage they are sometimes slightly raised, the cars do not always travel down smoothly like they should! This can be quite annoying!!
The cars are of a fairly standard size and seem pretty much like any other toy cars which is good because it means if any go missing under the sofa or find perhaps some new nook or cranny to hide under then they can be easily replaced with other similar toy cars. We had a couple of toy cars donated to us by my nephew and I found these were about the same size and travelled down the ramps at least as well as the ones supplied!
Overall, this is not a bad product but I do not think it is paticulary well designed and the fact that I have had to sellotape a couple of the ramps back to the garage already because their connections have snapped after only a few months of play suggests to me that this is a toy that is not going to last years! I think it will be amazing in some respects if it is still in a reasonable condition next Xmas and my daughter is no more rough with it than she is any other toy!
If it was me, I would reccommend paying a little more and getting a better product for your money. Certainly I wouldn't pay full price for it and even £14 seems a little too much in hindsight!
Still, it is not bad ~ just not as good a quality as I might have been expecting!