Special Edition coming soon. Followed by the Slightly-Altered DVD version, the Tweaked Again Blu-Ray and the Any Excuse To Change Things Again 3D release.
To expand on a few points…
I’d say the ideal age for this is 2-3. Older kids – as you saw – will happily use it, but they’re probably better off with something bigger. This does, after all, cost £200 so you’ll want to get as many years use out of it as possible.
Words can’t describe how was fantastic to see all my children and one of next door’s playing all together on this at once. They all loved it.
Regarding the bowing of the orange platform: All the pieces are made from hollow pieces of plastic. I’m not saying the platform is going to collapse under the weight of your child/Sith Lord, but the top bit does bent in as a child/Sith Lord stands on it. The blue platform is made of the exact same plastic, but due to the different shape of the surface it takes the weight better.
The slide is amazingly solid.
The tunnel is a bit annoying to put on every time you use it as it does involve someone (ie me) crawling underneath to stick the 9 bits of Velcro together. Of course you could leave it permanently attached but, you know, weather.
Regarding the ‘too many climbing-up points’: There’s no ‘safe’ point at the top of the castle where a child can just stand (and brandish his Cheap Plastic Sword) since there are 4 entrances/exits here. It’s a big vertical drop down the faux-wooden steps and my two year-old fell down here head first (don’t worry – he’s fine!). The children don’t even use the wooden steps, much preferring the green slope or coming up via the ‘fort’ section. I’d stick a horizontal bar across this section (like the green bit on the fort) which would a) give the children somewhere to stand and b) strengthen up the ‘castle’ uprights.
Personally, I’ve have liked the castle section to be more stone-coloured and the fort section more wooden-coloured. The upright sections are, but the platforms don’t really match. Of course this is just me being picky and the kids don’t care.
The (not-)secret story of how Darth Vader came to refuse doing this review can be found here.
Other Toyology reviews can by found in the Toys R Us Toy Box on Facebook.