Opening up this box gave me giddy flashbacks to my youth, I couldn’t believe they still used the same basic design and technology to make race car tracks these days, as they did when I played with one of these over 25 years ago. Bravo to Carrera and Spin Master for taking advantage of the ability to re-package the exact same product they already sell with cars made with Paw Patrol Characters on them. This made it a huge hit with my four year old who feigns a moderate interest in toy cars, but loves all those good pups.
As I begun to put it together I did start to notice the modernization of the product, the track plastic is more durable to abuse, and the pieces are a lot harder to get apart (and together). The design of the little stands to get the track elevated leaves a bit to be desired, they’re a bit tricky to get installed and the track seems poorly supported. My tune changed entirely when my 18 month old toddler leaned on it tryng to get involved. I cringed waiting for a cracking sound and having to come up with some sort of apology about why my daughter couldn’t play with the cars anymore. Much to my surprise, the track supports flexed out of the way and the entire thing was unaffected. After letting this happen a dozen or so times, I’m sold on the wonky looking supports.
Making it GO!!!
Another big surprise after assembling the track is a lack of a power cord, turns out this is sold separately. Even more shocking was that I actually had four brand new D size batteries lying around, so it was go time. Oh boy do these cars GO!!! I remember as a kid holding that trigger down and just watching the cars go around and around until the batteries died. Doing that on the Paw Patrol Ready Race Rescue track will earn either Chase or Marshall a one way ticket to your floor once they get to a turn.
It takes a bit of skill to get a car going around this track as fast as possible without flying off, you’ll be constantly speeding up and slowing down at the turns, which actually makes it a great challenge for kids. Unlike the old 90’s version where both cars went identical speeds around and around forever, it’s a real race where it is anyone’s game to win. This is especially impressive since it is running on batteries, which do not seem to show much fatigue after a lot of play. Clearly the motors in these cars have become nicely efficient over the decades.
The other interesting thing to note is that the cars are not identical at all. While most generic race car toys would just use the same mold, change the stickers and maybe the colour of the plastic to create two identical cars, this is not the case here. Marshall and Chase each get their own unique car, which means their weights are not identical, nor are their aerodynamics. Going full speed on the straightaway one car clearly wins (just don’t tell your kids that!).
Getting Some Air and Some Smiles
As for the rest of the toy itself, the guardrails are flimsy, they do nothing to keep a car from careening four feet across the floor and making you get up to go get it. The ramps/jumps are a really cool feature, I removed them most of the time, because they are almost a guaranteed way to get a car stuck or off the track with a kid behind the wheel. I did eventually get the hang of using them, and could send a car around the track three or four times to catch some air before ultimately screwing up.
Overall the Carerra GO!!! Paw Patrol Ready Race Rescue was a smash hit with both of my kids, the kindergartener got the hang of keeping the car on the track around turns after a while, and she even learned about how the little brushes work on the underside and how to reset them to get the car working properly. Our toddler loved watching them zoom around the track and he’d just stand there clapping and asking for more. if there is a Paw Patrol fan in your house, this is a great interactive toy for all ages that teaches some skills, some physics, and can stand up to abuse. It is up to you to decide whether to spend the extra money for the wall plug, or stock up on batteries so that you can use it in the middle of a room.