Review: Gravitrax Pro Starter Set – black, larger and higher. Better?
The hills for the descent are getting higher and higher and it is still not enough for the spectators. Nobody cares that our competitors are sick of the cliff. They say we have to get used to it. They prepared obstacles for us, swings, big jumps, all just because of the drama and a few more seconds, which we rush down at an uncontrollable speed.
But in our case, the racers are metal balls. Would you make an exception for them, or do you long for more and more tracks in the Gravitrax kit? We are not surprised! And Ravensburger listened to all the wishes not only with interesting extensions. It is launching a whole new starting box for the 2020 Christmas market, which this time is all black and is called Gravitrax Starter Set Vertical. How is it different? Is it better than the original? And is it worth buying? We will look at these questions in our review.
The news starts with the packaging. The box is huge. Its height corresponds to two boxes placed on top of each other. And that’s basically the case, because the inside of the bottom is lined with a cardboard frame that connects the bottom to the lid. Otherwise, they lie only on top of each other and thus create enough space for all plastic bags, in which the building material is hidden for the creation of the most frantic ball tracks.
Gravitrax is a kit in which players create tall structures and with the help of rails, jumps and sinkholes create a track with several paths. At the beginning of everything is a starter that can shoot up to three balls at a time. These are then gradually moved forward along the prepared paths and obstacles. Some do not go all the way down, but act as triggers for other balls or switch switches. And at the bottom there is a cup part, in which all the balls end.
Most of the basic components are the same as in the original box. There are starting cardboard boards that serve as a base and into which players must anchor all towers and other components. But although the box and its contents look the same at first glance, this is a deceptive first impression. In fact, the construction of the new black Gravitrax Pro box looks completely different.
Builders will have to learn new tricks. The first of them is a brand new system of large columns, which will be assembled during the first construction and then will only be used. These are really high pieces, which consist of an inner part and a shell. The upper section provides that any standard plate from the entire Gravitrax can be attached to it. In addition, some of them have a hollow interior, so the rails can pass through them and the ball can pass through, which looks really stylish, but above all it opens up a lot of new possibilities and combinations.
Creating these columns is easy because all components are nicely labeled with letters. So it is clear what pieces belong where and the preparation before the first construction is done quite quickly. Although we still believe that children will need the help of their parents for this assembly.
But the new columns have another function. It is possible to insert transparent walls from the side into them. They connect two towers, and so far they have unprecedentedly strengthened the entire structure. Their connection is simple and they are two easy clicks.
Equally great ideas are hanging eyes, which are attached to a transparent surface or as one of the building pieces of a classic tower. These eyelets also need to be prepared and the buttons snapped into them, which then hold them in place. Thanks to this, a separate tower no longer has to be built for each of the connecting windows and bends. Thanks to this, it is possible to create even stylish spirals around the strut.
The overall impression of the built building is better. The kits look more airy, more spacious and the builders have much more freedom to combine everything, and not everything is so significantly dependent on the number of boards. That was probably the biggest problem of the original white box. When you ran out of building blocks for columns, you had no chance to continue. Now, even with a smaller box, you can create stunning tracks for metal balls.
The three letters Pro make sense in the name of the box. Combining new pieces puts much more emphasis on the imagination and abilities of the builder than the original. Here, you often need to have at least some idea of what the result will look like in advance. You can’t easily build and wait to see what comes out of your efforts. If you do, you will often find yourself having to remake some parts from the beginning.
With the new Gravitrax Pro kit, all lovers of ball tracks can reach much higher heights. They do not have to be afraid of instability. All they need is their towers at good distances from each other and they simply connect and strengthen them. So if you should start with Gravitrax, then it should be this one. Just watch out for its difficulty. Do you buy a kit for children between the ages of eight and ten? Then you better go to the original box, which is not so difficult to build.
Combining this box with other, older ones is completely natural. So if you already have a set, then you will definitely not go crazy buying a novelty. All components are sufficient for these cases, only then the builders must learn to take advantage of both boxes together.
But we are very happy to recommend the new Gravitrax Pro Starter Kit to everyone else. It’s not just an attempt to change the box into a new guise without any change, but instead you will get a really different experience. Bravo Ravensburger, this is how the kit is made!