If you’ve been reading GeekDad for a while, you may already be familiar with Blue Orange Games, the publisher of family-friendly titles like Kingdomino and Planet. Well, Blue Orange Toys (a division of the company) has just launched a Kickstarter for Loopy Loopers, a new line of fidget toys invented by Thierry Denoual, the owner of the company.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
I received a set of the Loopy Loopers to try out, so let’s have a look!
The Loopy Loopers were inspired by a marble rolling around in a round metal lid, and Denoual felt the spinning motion was nice to fidget with, but was a little noisy and hard to control. The final product is a case that lets you spin the ball around much more quietly, and some of them have a few fun tricks, too. The balls have a metal core and a rubbery coating, so they have a nice heft to them that gives them a good momentum while spinning but doesn’t clatter so much. (I will note, though, that it’s still pretty loud if you drop the ball on the floor.) Each of the toys is a combination of opaque white plastic and a translucent colored plastic, so you can see the ball inside through one half of the case.
Each Loopy Looper has a notch somewhere so that you can store the ball when not in use and not worry about it rolling away. They also come with small L-shaped plastic stands, though some of them stay upright better than others.
So, what’s it like to play with them?
My kids and I tried out the various versions, and what we concluded is that they’re fun to play with but definitely have a different feel from some of the other fidget toys we’ve seen before like spinners, fidget cubes, and the Thinket. Most of those can be used without a lot of direct attention on them (though certainly you can do some fancier tricks if you’re focused on them), sometimes without even actually looking at them. These, however, require a bit more focus, at least to get them started, because if you’re not paying attention or sustaining the rotation, the ball can just fall out. I wouldn’t recommend, for instance, taking a Loopy Looper to school and trying to spin it in class, because you may end up chasing the ball around every time you drop it. That said, once you get going, it’s pretty easy to maintain the spinning and it can have an entrancing effect. It makes a whirring sound, and you can spin it faster or slower with a flick of the wrist. Some work better as fidgets, and some are more like active toys.
I demonstrate the four versions in the video below, though you can see much fancier videography in the Kickstarter video. I’ve kept the original audio so you can hear how quiet they are.
Flow (green) is the simplest one: it’s a ring with wide, curved edges, and it’s the easiest to get going. With the Flow, you can rotate and change the angle while you’re spinning it, too. In the video, my daughter demonstrates the beginner method of starting it on a table, and then picking it up after you get the ball spinning.
Edge (purple) is an advanced version of Flow: it has a much thinner edge between two tubes, so there’s a little less room for error, but otherwise it works much the same way.
Hoop (blue) is like the Flow but with an added game: it has the wider curved sides, but the tube portion also has a hole in the top, so if you slow down the spin you can try to drop the ball into the top like a basketball. This one is probably my favorite, simply because it feels a bit more versatile—I can fidget with it, or I can see how many hoops I can score before I drop the ball.
Finally, Jump (orange) is almost fully enclosed, but has a gap that you have to jump. This one can only be spun in one direction, unlike the others, and makes a little more noise because there’s a “click” each time the ball clears the gap. The gap has rounded edges so that if you slow down just right, you can catch the ball in the gap. Of the four versions, Jump probably requires the most attention to maintain the spinning.
The Kickstarter campaign has a range of tiers: the lowest is $19 (plus shipping) for a set of all four; for an extra $3 you can add in a Kickstarter-exclusive silver-colored Hoop. Higher tiers let you get multiple sets, and some have free shipping. This being Blue Orange, I’m guessing that if the campaign funds and the Loopy Loopers are manufactured, you’ll eventually be able to buy them individually in stores, but I’m not sure what the retail price will be if that happens.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Loopy Loopers Kickstarter page!
Disclosure: I received samples of the Loopy Loopers for review.