Review: Maze Pens, Smiggle

Three ballpoint pens sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pens are clear plastic shafts with clear plastic biro-style caps, but the ink channel is housed within a coloured plastic maze–one green, one purple and one blue. Two small silver ball-bearing-style balls sit inside each pen shaft and can be directed through the maze. The mazes have several holes for the balls to fall through as well as curved walls and dead ends, meaning the pen must be tipped in various ways to work the balls through the maze.

Price: $2.50 AUD.

Variations: blue, pink, purple, green, black.

I found these in the clearance section of the Smiggle store in Melbourne Central at 5 for $5 AUD, so I recommend checking your local store before ordering these online!

I’ve had a few of these maze-style stim toys before: I’ve got a rectangle maze from Daiso and a cube maze (that’s also a tiny self-inking stamp) from a dollar shop. I find them quite hard to use, as they require very precise turns of the maze toy to direct the balls. I rarely have the ability to make these subtle movements, meaning the balls go everywhere but where I want them, making for a frustrating stim. I like them better in theory than in practice.

Because these are pens, resulting in a less-complicated maze, they’re so much easier to use. There’s fewer dead-ends to catch the balls and fewer mistakes to make in turning the pen so the balls go the right way. There’s just enough dead ends to catch me but not so many to make navigating the balls impossible. The rounded shape of the pen, too, is easier for me to turn and tilt.

This isn’t as engaging as a Tangle or a squishy in terms of longer stimming, but as a break between toys it works for me, plus it also works decently as a pen. For folks who struggle to grip things, the pen’s being so much wider than a traditional ball-point makes it easier to use, too, so it has utility as well as stim.

The only drawback to these is that they do rattle. I’ve got one in my main stim basket and another in my travelling kit, but I do hear them move if they bounce around in my bag. They’re not a silent toy to use around other people and can distract others in the classroom or library. This said, the rattle may be a feature, not a drawback, for many stimmers!

If you want a maze-style stim toy, though, that isn’t too hard to use, this. I absolutely love mine.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 24, 2018.