LEGO GWP 40596 Magic Maze – It’s harder than you think! [Review]

As the spending season kicks into high gear at the start of October, LEGO has turned out quite the interested “Gift with Purchase” to help keep us entertained. Unlike any other GWP I’ve encountered, 40596 Magic Maze is a gravity-powered ball maze seated on a 24×24 stud square. Read on to get my thoughts on quite a novel concept. 40596 Magic Maze consists of 332 pieces and is available until October 9th from LEGO stores or their website with qualifying purchases of US $150 | CAN $200 | UK £130.

The box and contents

This brightly-colored GWP arrives in a a pink box with standard “Gift with Purchase” iconography, such as the present in the upper right corner and the “Limited Edition” banner at the bottom. Be warned that this is only for ages 12+, so too bad all you 11-year-old maze-lovers! The back of the box shows some of the play features of the set, with a close-up of the pink ball section and the teeter-totter.

Cutting the tape and pouring out the contents reveals four numbered bags, an unnumbered bag of large pieces, and the instruction manual. It’s all pretty typical of any LEGO set nowadays.

The build

Bag 1 contains the parts for a simple base, held together with System and Technic connections. I like the clear hand-grabbers (technical term) on the sides of the square, and the open center with a few rails inside leads me to wonder where this maze is headed. At the south end, a small claw is added to hold an extra ball.

Bag 2 builds out the first few sections of the maze, including the Turquoise Question-Mark Track, the Tan Humps, the Sand Green Zig-zags, and the Cave of Blind Maze-ery. A lime green triangle plate marks the start of the maze, where a ball is held in place with four quarter tiles.

While not intended to be removed, I grabbed a shot of the secret maze cave hidden underneath the turquoise question-mark. Plenty of panels and tiles help to keep the ball on track as you blindly rattle it inside this box, hoping it pops out the other side.

Bag 3 leads to the Hill of Red Boxes, the Beehive Turn, the Teeter-totter, the Rail of Death, and the Turnstile of Terror. Here we get our first real taste of themed sections, with loads of honey on the track as we pull a U-ey around the hive and some kind of mechanical concept for the teeter-totter. While not leading to some overarching theme, I do appreciate the sectioning of the puzzle. It reminds me of the board game Mouse Trap or other similar maze games.

Bag 4 closes out the maze with the Bridge of Impeccable Balance, the Wall Runner, the Pink Balls, the Fields of Victory, and the Dolphin of Doneness. From my several playthroughs of the game (none of which were recorded for the sake of my fragile ego), that yellow-orange bridge gets my goat more often than not. Frequently, my patience would get the better of me, leading to a ball on the floor. Again, the themed sections are outstanding! And I really enjoy the dolphin into the clamshell “splash” at the end, even though it took some time to figure out exactly what it was. I’m sure there’ll still be much debate about it in the comments.

Conclusions and recommendations

This was a terrific, surprising GWP offering from LEGO. It’s an interesting assembly of parts, providing a real smattering across a lot of themes. And it’s a great jumping off point for designs from the community. I can see so many Great Ball Contraption builders beginning work on their own gauntlet for these brave orange orbs in the 24×24 stud space. Most importantly, this maze is a real challenge! The ball doesn’t just sail through all parts of this maze, and I’ve only been able to get a perfect run once or twice since building it. All that being said, given the other GWP offering at the same time, I have a feeling this won’t be the kit motivating sales through the 9th. But I hope you enjoy it none-the-less!

Made of 332 pieces and available until October 9th, the gift-with-purchase 40596 Magic Maze comes with purchases from LEGO stores or their website of US $150 | CAN $200 | UK £130 or greater.

Here’s all the pics of this great GWP: