Curious slice of nostalgia
Now this is a true curiosity, a bizarre but inventively original little edutainment title that is not exactly a real game, but rather a sort of computerised construction set that allows you to create your own mechanical models. There are plans for some twenty different models included here, such as trucks and cars, helicopters and carousels and even a replica of the legendary Spirit of St Louis aeroplane. You use the software to select the model you want to assemble, simply print out the pieces onto normal computer paper then stick them to card for extra support and strength before assembling them. All the models feature moving parts like propellers, wheels, pumps and such like so there is plenty of fun to be had here as you put them all together. Some skill is required in the putting together of the models, so this is the sort of thing that makes for a perfect alternative to traditional edutainment titles like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Eagle Eye Mysteries or Headline Harry as families can look through the software together, deciding which models to build then printing them out and assembling them together for a nice bit of old-time entertainment (but which still manages to involve a computer!). While The Toy Shop certainly isn't for everyone, if you have some youngsters around who want to get creative with their hands, or just fancy revisiting your own childhood, then this is a great little package to check out. The models aren't overly fiddly to put together but are challenging enough to give a good sense of satisfaction when completed, so for budding engineers and designers, it's worth a look.