(This post originally appeared on GeekDad here.)
Cars are a big deal in my house. My three-year-old son has more Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other assorted cars than any other kid I know. My mother never parted ways with all of my toy cars, so he now has all of mine in addition to a growing collection of his own. (It doesn’t hurt that individual Hot Wheels cars make perfectly reasonable impulse buys.)
In short, if it has four wheels, my son will play with it. Therefore, it was with some fascination that we saw Max Traxxx Tracer Racers. Despite the surplus of Xs in the name, these cars and track sets immediately grabbed his attention.
Promising “glow powered racing,” the sets (put out by Skullduggery) include glow-in-the-dark track and cars with small lights on the bottom. In a darkened room, turn on the lights, let the cars race down the track, and you’re rewarded with cool green streaks of light in their wake.
The sets themselves come in a variety of packages, but you’ll probably get the most bang for your buck with the ultimate dual loop set, which includes 24 feet of track, a loop connector, two cars, a light-up finish gate, and accessories necessary to hang the track from a doorknob or wall. It’s definitely enough to get you started.
The cars have three different light settings: constant, “rapid fire,” and “distant” (which is really just a slower version of the rapid-fire blinking). In reality, only the first two give a good result. The constant setting leaves behind a continuous streak of light on the track, and the “rapid-fire” setting leaves a more-or-less dotted pattern. Depending on how you set up the track, the third setting doesn’t really do much. The cars move too fast for it to have a chance to leave a good pattern.
Here’s a quick peek at what it looked like in our family room for a few days on end:
It should be noted that the cars are not powered or remote control. (There are a few RC kits, but even the starter set is fairly expensive, and I didn’t get a chance to test it out.)
So how does one set up the track? It’s all gravity controlled, so you need to hang one end of the track from a doorknob or use suction cups to hang it on a wall somewhere. Set up the cars, let ’em loose, and off they go.
The cars themselves are standard 1:64 size, so everything is compatible with other cars you may have lying around. (They just won’t leave light trails, obviously.) The track also kinda sorta connected with some orange Hot Wheels track we had. It wasn’t ideal, but we were able to extend the track, and it all worked.
There are two types of cars available in the Max Traxxx line: Tracer Racers and Marble Racers. Tracer Racers are cars with the lights on the bottom that leave the patterns on the track.
Marble Racers are slightly different in that they have a marble in the middle of the body. They come with a bunch of decals you have to apply, and the whole car lights up all blinky and colorful. They’re certainly cooler to see when switched on, but they don’t have an effect on the glow-in-the-dark track–no light trails.
Cars come included on some of the bigger track sets, and they’re also sold separately. There are several different component track sets available you can use to enhance the play zone, including a tunnel, a dual loop, dual corners, and extra track.
The Max Traxxx line is available at Toys R Us and select online retailers. The selection available online at TRU seems to be a bit limited, so, if you’ve got an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store near you, you may want to pop on over and check out their stock.
Verdict? If you’ve got a car maniac in your house (as I do), this will be a hit. Sure, getting the cars to go requires a bit more time and patience than it does with one of the fancier battery-powered tracks that propel the cars automatically. But, y’know, “back in my day” and all that. Don’t make me break out my curmudgeonly old man voice.
My little guy loves it, and he had a ton of fun setting up the track, dropping the cars onto the track, and watching them either wipe out in the loop or race to the end. Plus, “glow powered racing with light trace technology.” How could that be a bad thing?
(Disclosure: Skullduggery provided me with the above products for review purposes. All opinions remain 100% my own.)