At first glance, Uberstix impress with their versatility. However, the shortcomings of Uberstix quickly became apparent when our 8-year-old tester got down to the business of construction.
At first glance, Uberstix impress with their versatility. These plastic building sticks and connectors are designed to integrate with a slew of other popular building toys, including Lego, K'Nex, Erector Set, Zoob, and Zometool. Uberstix also work with McDonald's drinking straws, Popsicle sticks, paperclips, paper cups, and standard water bottles (the latter can be used to float Uberstix "watercraft"). However, the shortcomings of Uberstix quickly became apparent when our 8-year-old tester got down to the business of construction.
For our Uberstix review, we tested the 76-piece Uberstix UberFrog set (starting at $11/ month, Amazon). Uberstix are designed to move in a joint-like fashion, but their rigid, linear shapes seem better suited to erecting the skyscrapers of the pricey architecture kits than to crafting animals like the UberFrog. The sticks are brittle and stiff, and two broke within the first few minutes. A couple of consumers who bought Uberstix Starter Sets (starting at $38/ month, Amazon) report the same issue in Uberstix reviews on Amazon. In fact, the Uberstix manual that came in our kit demonstrates ways to modify broken sticks for continued use.
Our 8-year-old tester had a difficult time maneuvering the small circular connectors onto the pieces that made up the frog's body. She was able to get the knack of the pieces through trial and error but needed some adult help starting out. The directions included in the UberFrog kit were thorough, though a little hard to follow. Because of the multidimensional way Uberstix lock together, it was challenging for our tester to put them together based on the 2-D illustrations in the instructions. It did help that the manual shows the steps of assembly from different angles.
User reviews of the Uberstix Starter Set on Fat Brain Toys echo our tester's experience, indicating that Uberstix can be "complicated" for younger children to use. On the plus side, most Uberstix reviews say the sets are a hit with kids and encourage imagination and creativity.
For young engineers-in-the-making and building enthusiasts, Uberstix offer unlimited possibilities and configurations. If you're buying for children who are rough on toys or have limited patience and dexterity, however, consider skipping this toy.