Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Hyperspeed Hangtime Roller Coaster Building Set

Hyperspeed Hangtime Roller Coaster Building Set

Fall 2014 Toys
Ages: 9 & Up
Manufacturer: KNEX Brands
Price: $69.99

The K'NEX Hyperspeed Hangtime Roller Coaster takes the popular K'NEX roller coaster designs to the next level with a motorized launcher that hurls a hanging coaster car around the 18-foot track in the blink of an eye. Kids assemble the track from rods, connectors, and track pieces into a spindly 2 1/2-foot-tall by 4-foot-long creation.

The instruction manual is not always easy to read, with what seems like many steps crammed into each page, and different but similar rods and connectors having to be identified and correctly angled at every joint; it is easy to misalign a piece, though usually by the next step the error can be identified. There are no spare parts, so if a wrong piece is used, the back-tracking when the piece appears to be missing later can take some clever sleuthing skills. So this set is a good challenge for determined children but may lead to frustration in younger or less patient builders.

The resulting coaster will most certainly impress. It is huge (so don't plan on leaving it permanently assembled unless you have plenty of storage room or like an unusual conversation piece in your living room), and the track loops upside-down twice and twists sideways a good portion of the rest of the time. This ride would be a terrifying thrill in real life. And the "hyperspeed" moniker is no joke -- the coaster car flies up the first ramp faster than the eye can follow, and the entire trip is over in just a few seconds. We found ourselves wishing we had a second or even a third car to see if we could successfully pace them apart to have them on the track all at once. The developers provide a second set of instructions on their website to rebuild this coaster into a different style, the "Meteor Madness," with an even steeper launch path that puts the loops right up front, so when you tire of watching the car fly around this grid, a new building challenge awaits.

Emily Crawford   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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