Looking for a satisfying building toy that’s not about stacking colored bricks? GraviTrax instead lets users create sprawling marble runs that send metal balls racing across elevated tracks and through obstacles like inverted loops. This fall, GraviTrax is finally getting electronic elements, allowing for more automation and tracks that, for the first time, can run forever—or at least as long as batteries hold up.
Ravensburger is a toy company probably best known for its puzzles and board games, but it also owns the wooden Brio train brand, and in 2017 it introduced its GraviTrax building system, which can best be described as a mix of miniature roller coasters and simplified Rube Goldberg type contraptions. Small, gravity-powered metal balls careen through a maze of elevated tracks as they make their way to a final destination, but it’s the additional elements that can divert the balls onto other tracks or launch additional balls at the same time that really make the building toy interesting. Ravensburger’s promotional videos do a good job at demonstrating why GraviTrax deserves to be your next addiction.
The 3D-printing community has taken GraviTrax to the next level with new and original elements that even introduce motors into the mix, but now Ravensburger is introducing its own electronic parts that go one step further by allowing some elements, such as ball launchers, to be remotely triggered.
Two new GraviTrax sets are arriving this Fall. The $100 GraviTrax Power Starter Set Launch comes with 123 pieces, including a Power Starter that can hold several balls and release them one at a time when a wireless signal is triggered. Those signals come from either the Power Finish element, which detects when a ball has rolled through it and reached the end of the course, or a wireless remote control that allows the user to launch additional balls from the Power Starter at the push of a button. It will be a Target exclusive starting next month.
The slightly larger, 138-piece GraviTrax Power Starter Set XXL comes with a considerably steeper $330 price tag, but includes all seven of Ravensburger’s new electronic elements that can be individually programmed to respond to one of three different color-coded wireless signals. A trigger element designed to detect the passage of a ball could be set to use the red channel, and only powered elements also set to the red channel would be activated. This includes switches that can change the path the next marble takes, as well as lifts that raise the balls to a higher course.
The XXL set also comes with a new motorized lift element called the Power Elevator that carries balls from the bottom to the top, step-by-step, without ever requiring a manual reset. It runs autonomously and isn’t dependent on wireless signals from triggers, and can potentially be used to create a marble course that runs indefinitely, assuming the balls eventually find their way back to the bottom of the lift. The GraviTrax Power Starter Set XXL will be an Amazon exclusive starting in October.