I just recently reviewed most of the other Egyptian Playsets, now available from Playmobil. They are amazing, but if you thought those sets were incredible, wait till you get an eyefull of this Pyramid and tomb! Check out my review and tons of pics below…
The pyramid is the centerpiece of the Egyptian line. Just like the Egyptians themselves, this is a magnificent monument to playmobil’s achievement, it’s the dominant Wonder of the playmobil world. They actually designed a flip up panel on the packaging so that you can see all of the action features it does before you buy. But this toy is nothing short of awe inspiring. You know I love to gush and gush about playmobil, but this set single handedly raised the bar for years to come. I get to review these sets gratis, but I’ll lay out the costs and let you know what’s actually worth what. I’ve been a playmobil customer for more than ten years.
I love the playmobil roman line. The figures are steamlined but detailed, elegant yet violent. That theme’s center piece is the Roman Colosseum. There are a few features such as a trap door here and locking gates there, but for the most part, it’s a big open circle. I love how you can’t help but be inspired to stage your own miniature chariot races and gladiator battles looking at the spectator stands… but to quote the Tao, the real value is what’s not there… it is a wall surrounding a big open space. I love that Colosseum and the play it inspires, however playmobil went in a different direction here and packed this pyramid with more trap doors, booby traps and hidden chambers than I’d ever expect. Before, less is more was the winning feature, but with this playset, you’ll be constantly amazed with how much they pack in.
There are at least 2 levels of intended play in this set. You get a few Egyptians, who can play in and around the Pyramid, but you also get a grave robber, whom you can activate booby traps and tricks upon. You could also grab your archeologist playmobil people (like from the Dino sets?) and have them in the modern era exploring this wonderous tomb. I have one that resembles Indiana Jones, and Hasbro’s Ark of the Covenant playset that recently came out, fits just perfectly within the decor.
The Side Panels
There are three removable side panels (leaving one side open). Each identical side features a piece of break away wall that leads to a chamber on the inside, as well as a boobytrapped panel. This allows the child to easily play on the inside or outside of the pyramid. And for collectors as well, figures look great displayed in front of or within the pyramid. One more time I need to point out that this line is particularly playing child/ collecting adult friendly. There are benefits for both parties. . . anyway…
There appears to be a relief sculpture of a dormant pharaoh, however insert the now-familiar amulet into the turquoise square, and the bottom tile pops out. This should cause an avalanche of the tiles above spilling down to the ground. I found with most attempts, that the tiles needed a little extra nudge to get going. Not to worry, the tiles are numbered on the back to help you to reset them. So each of the three side panels has these two removable areas. What is revealed underneath differs on each side however.
On one side, a stairwell leading to the upper level is revealed. But watch out, it’s a trap! You can activate a trap that makes the stairwell swing loose, dumping potential grave robbers below. This is actually pretty funny. I forgot how fun it was inflicting torment on 3: high plastic men. I need to get the Egyptian little boy and reenact scenes from Home Alone 8: Lost in Egypt... then I need a playmobil Joe Pesci. Don’t we all?
On another side, behind the removable square, a simple sliding wall is revealed, however as you slide the wall back and enter the chamber, a panel of scorpions drops down on the head of the tomb raider. I think this is my favorite feature of this playset. This is almost my favorite playfeature in any playmobil set ever. The beauty and creativity meet an apex of pure evil. Classic! Below is a list of my top five favorite action-features from playmobil’s catalog prior to learning of the scorpions.
- Ka-Boom — Exploding volcano top from the Dinosaur line.
- I’m outta, he-e-e-ere — Jail-cell break away bars in the police station
- Gotcha! We’re pirates! —Pirate Ship that hides its skull masthead and cannons until it’s an effective proximity to its victims.
- Hush you! — Trap door in the Roman Colosseum that drops people straight into the Tiger’s holding cell.
- Is anyone out there? — Massive beer keg opens up so someone can hide in it.
On one of the sides the tile avalanche reveals a chute. If your grave robber makes it to the upper level, there is a turquoise panel you can press that drops the robber down the chute and into the avalanche pile. Hmmm, I didn’t try this, but I wonder if sliding down would knock out the bottom tile and land the avalanche onto the robber? I’ll try that out for the upcoming video podcast.
You can play with the front of the pyramid with the other panels on, but you may have more fun removing the panels so it’s a bit more open. There is a center chamber with several moving walls. The front wall spins a center section as it slides forward, this reveals the mummy (or robber) you hide within it. I like how a lot of the interior walls have some brightly decorated decals, so no space feels like just extra space between two intended play areas. This set came with a lot of “artifacts” that you could place all over the place to decorate; but for my photos I left it a bit bare so you can get an idea of how it’s laid out.
I also want to acknowledge the talented playmobil artists who made this pyramid look fun and beautiful, even with the side panels removed.
But here’s where I want to bring up an important note for parents. Playmobil toys are recommended for children 4 & up. Mainly due to their small pieces which can be choking hazards. Also some of their accessories require a little bit better hand-eye coordination. But in regards to this Egyptian Pyramid, it struck me that its more appropriate for ages 6 & up. Its not fragile, but the tiles do pop down (as intended) with minor tremors. A lot of the play features require “hidden” motions, which is part of the fun, but not so much for young kids that don’t follow recommended play. I think your 6-10 year olds will love the complexity, but your 4 and 5 year olds may get frustrated. (I have a two year old, and he loves playing with Daddy’s playmo dinosaurs.)
The People and accessories
You get three Egyptian (dignitaries??), one grave robber, and one ex-Egyptian king (mummy, haha). I love the dude with the King Tut hat and the tubular beard. I also like the guy with the annubis helmet (which can be put on any playmobil person for fun and laffs). At first I didn’t like the grave robber until I started posing him in all kinds of pratfalls, now he’s a big-time favorite. I’d like to do a Plastronaut-style series of photos of this guy getting into hijinks all over town. Seriously, l love this little grave robber now.
I wish this set came with a few more people, however Playmobil has answered the collector’s need for “army building” and there are several sets of just Egyptian soldiers, or grave robbers, where your money is going to buying playmo-people, not elaborate playsets with one or two figures. This allows you to buy multiple sets to flesh our your playmo-population, without having five or six temples (or whatever) lying around. There is even an Egyptian family available through the Add Ons catalog (and online). There’s also a set online that comes with a modern era archeologist and a whole ton of loot for him to find.
There’s tons of treasure and a handful of (ceremonial?) weapons. They are all beautifully sculpted and have lots of detail. You even get another smokey pipe like from the Pharaoh’s temple. You also get four of those little jars, I love these jars. In the Temple set they were turquoise, these are a nice gold. You get some baskets for carting all the loot around, and some other “treasure” such as lamps and pottery.
Playmobil just started including these little baggies of gemstones and pebbles. They look great, and add to the play value, however I have a 2 year old in the house, so I opted to keep them sealed in the bag until he’s old enough to know they’re not candy. You’ll see a nice picture of the bag below, but I didn’t open mine. I also dig the cobra and scorpions.
There’s also a huge sarcophagos that is wonderfully detailed. Pop it open and the mummy fits inside. Pop that open and there’s the skeleton. Sweet! The back corner is rounded (near his “heels” so it was a little tricky to get him to stand upright, but that’s really only the movies, right?
Ok, so lets break it down. I received this playset free for review. However I have bought (and justified the cost of) many big-ticket playmobil sets in the past, including, but not limited to the entire Roman line of playsets, the Pirate ship, the Incan Temple, one of the castles, and the old west saloon. So don’t go thinking because I was provided this set, I’d gush over it automatically. The price on their web site is $105. This is very much in line with their pricing scheme The pirate ship (you can read my review) is $109. The Incan temple was $90 when I bought it 8 years ago. If you ask me, the pyramid is “bigger” than the pirate ship.
Here are some important issues to consider. Most playmobil is a safe “investment” in that once the initial recipient grows out of it (cough cough cough, ok I’m an adult collector and will never “grow out” of playmobil, but let’s get back to talking about the kids) since it lasts forever, you can pass it along to other children/families and it’s still got a high play value. There is a highly disproportionate number of pieces that can get lost with this set (the tiles and wall panels, as well as loose trap door covers) that may highly affect how much fun this set is to the secondary recipient. (There’s always the Parts Dept for ordering replacements)– if you lost all of the wall panels and half of the tiles, you box it up and pass it along to the next kid or family, I don’t think it would be as much fun (in my mind) as the Pirate ship having lost one sail… does that make sense? Note, this would not affect my purchasing decision.
It is large and has hours of fun in it (and is a great display piece for collectors). I think the kids that love Egyptians (but don’t know playmobil) will go nuts over this set. I think the kids that are nuts about playmobil, and kind of like history, will love this set.
After all this, want some more convincing? Playmobil in general is good at this, but this set really takes it home: A) it’s gender neutral and age-broad… both boys and girls of different ages will dig this set
B) Half of it is teaching about history, the other half encourages interest in archeology and engineering
C) There’s nothing really violent about this set (unlike the gladiators).
I’ll tell you how nutso I am about playmobil. I had family in Germany send me the Roman line as soon as it came out. I paid for shipping from Germany on that set (it was 5 or 6 sets too). So I’m even willing to spend 150% retail price to get my hands on this. Don’t say I’m not honest, or can be bought off.
The pyramid is available now in stores, and online at the Playmobil web store.
At first I thought this was an Egyptian house in the catalog, but its actually another tomb. It’s beautifully sculpted. I will tell you however, after playing with the Sphinx and this Pyramid, this set comes up a little short on play value. I almost wish it was a dwelling. The roof comes off easily, and there is a hidden panel on the outside wall. You get a (husband and wife?) grave robber team, a camel, and some treasure for them to plunder. Hmmm, I kind of like this tomb robber more than the one that comes with the pyramid. He has a cool bow and quiver and an over-the-shoulder-holster. I like the well, and the plot of sand you get, but its hard to be impressed after the spectacle that is their pyramid. This is a cool set for collectors to use in display (especially if you don’t have the shelf space for the pyramid)… but at $40 (ehhhh) If you can only spend $X on playmobil, don’t let its $40 come out of being able to afford the pyramid. If you want a small piece of Egyptian to test the waters, I recommend the Sphinx or Pharaoh’s Temple first.
Wow, I didn’t mean to dump on that playset. I like how its a weathered building, victim to the elements, but again, its a tough act following the pyramid. It goes great with the theme if you’re getting multiple sets. Its available in stores now, and online in the Playmobil web store.
The Egyptian line blew my freaking mind at Toy Fair this year. Then I got to play with it. It’s worth the hype. I think this line in particular may be better suited for slightly older children, like 6 or 7, especially with the historical significance and some of the sets’ complexity. I think there’s a perfect marriage of art and engineering, history and whimsey, play value and collectability with this line. I’d love to see them expand the theme and design new sets in the future.
Be sure to read the first half of the Egyptian review where I look at the Sphinx, the Royal Ship, and the Pharaoh’s Temple.