It says “ages 8 and up” but it might just as well be 80, the new Perplexus 3D maze games distributed exclusively by PlayMonster--if a few minutes trying to figure out the complex Q-bot entry in the just introduced Perplexus Micro line of smaller ball-in-a-maze puzzles is any indication.
Like the larger spherical versions of Perplexus—the Epic model, for example, is 8 1/2-inches in diameter, while the Original has over 23 feet of track and 100 barriers—the cube-shaped Q-bot is a handheld “playable sculpture,” to use the characterization of Perplexus rep James Packer earlier this year at Toy Fair in New York. In the Micro units, however, the playable sculpture is reduced to a three-inch size, and in the case of Q-bot, 33 barriers that are likewise breached by twisting and turning the 3 ½ by 4-inch cube every which way in getting the gosh-darn ball through them while staying on track in avoiding the dreaded “falure sound” of it bouncing on the bottom after derailing.
At Toy Fair, Packer also noted how the Perplexus pieces are “eyecatching”—and Q-bot most certainly is, what with its Rube Goldberg-like robot figure with winding and moving appendages, all encased in clear plastic. The companion Drakko is a 4 1/2 by 4-inch egg shape that contains a mystic, slithery dragon as its medieval-themed maze.
Besides the Original and Epic full-size Perplexus models, there are Rookie, Twist, Warp and the licensed Star Wars Death Star games, all also full-size. Also on display at Toy Fair was the new Great Perplexus, at 22 inches in diameter a giant verison of the original, and more eye-stopping than eye-catching. The $200 item was created for instore display and sale at Amazon and specialty retailers.
Perplexus, incidentally, was conceived by 3-D design teacher Michael McGinnis in the late 1970s as a project for an art class. He now sells commissioned large-scale wooden Superplexus art pieces, which come mounted on pedestals and with circular stainless steel handles allowing free movement, for as much as $40,000.
Of the smaller Perplexus product, Packer rightly observed, “They’re affordable, eye-catching, and engages you when you see them. You pick one up and play with it, and it does something.”