K’NEX might be best known for building sets featuring Ferris wheels and different vehicles, but K’NEX Robo-Creatures takes the rod-and-connector building that K’NEX is known for, and lets you build weird little creatures. The K’NEX Robo-Creatures line currently includes three different creatures retailing for around $16 each, featuring a simple AA-powered motor with forward and backward settings and 155-165 pieces.
Of the three, Robo-Smash is easily my favorite. He’s some sort of gorilla-meets-gremlin creature with giant arms and ferocious teeth, and a more powerful motor than the other two. That usually meant his movements consisted of a motorized freakout with his arms gyrating frantically until his head fell off. Correct? Probably not. Entertaining to a child? You bet!
Robo-Sting, a walking scorpion with a stinging tail is the most realistic of the three K’NEX Robo-Creatures, and is able to crawl and flex its tail, but would have benefited from more fearsome claws. Of course, that’s nothing you can’t improve on your own:
Robo-Strike is some kind of insect/lizard hybrid with flapping wings and the ability to walk:
The sets are deceiving at first glance, and when you dump them out on your work surface, you might be like me and say “Is that it?” Because it doesn’t seem like this small pile of plastic pieces can build anything substantial. But once you start putting things together and building one of the Robo-Creatures, they really do take shape and turn into something substantial in size, and more importantly, sturdy enough to hold together for play.
Well, sturdy as long as we’re talking about the rods and connectors, which fit together snugly. The LEGO-ish pieces (which form each creature’s head) don’t hold together well at all, and are the most likely to come apart during even the lightest play.
If you buy all three K’NEX Robo-Creatures, you can also download a special set of instructions from the K’NEX website that teach you to build Robo-Combo, which uses the pieces and motors from all three sets to create a larger dragon-like creature.
Or, your children can experiment with their own designs, with or without the motors. K’NEX definitely provides a different building experience from LEGO or Mega Bloks, and while it won’t be for every child, it can be a great mix of entertainment and education for the right child.
It’s definitely worth noting though, that because we are dealing with very small pieces, you’ll want to keep K’NEX away from toddlers, and because of their small size, your kids will need fine motor skills to really make this work, unlike other building sets.
The GamerPops Recommendation
As I said above, K’NEX Robo-Creatures are not going to be for every child, as they have a different appeal than Mega Bloks or LEGO. But for the more engineering-minded child, these sets on their own, or combined together, offer a very different building toy experience that leans a little more towards science and math than other toys in the building block category.
Review sets were provided to GamerPops.
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