Frame Pyraminx

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It's been almost 40 years since the invention of the original Pyraminx by Uwe Meffert. This puzzle not only inspired countless others designs, but it's still one of the best Twisty puzzles of all time. The Frame Pyraminx is one of the best-looking variations I've seen so far, but does it live up to the original design?

This is a really cool design, made by Fangshi, which also produces many other Twisty puzzles. The body is entirely hollow, only supported by a 3x3 core, which by the way, glows in the dark. The frame is made by attaching two triangles perpendicularly. The material for the frame is made from this bright and colorful plastic, adding to the overall beautiful design.

(Click to Enlarge) - Glowing in the Dark
Contrary to what you'd expect, the Frame Pyraminx is an edge-turning puzzle, unlike its predecessor, which is a corner-turning. So, the solution will obviously be quite different if you're used to the original Pyraminx mechanism. I'd say the Frame Pyraminx's movement is a little more complex, so the difficulty is definitely higher.

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To really mix the puzzle you can't just turn it on its edges, or you'd never be able to fully scramble it. You need to align the edges in such a way so that the 3x3 core can turn on its axis. This creates patterns that you can't see in a normal Pyraminx, which is really interesting. Not bad for a variation.

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Closing Comments:

I can highly recommend the Frame Pyraminx to any Twisty puzzle fan. It was a novelty for me, in terms of movement, but also the design is really eye-catching and original. A real stunner.

Availability: You can get your Frame Pyraminx at PuzzleMaster for $32.99 CAD. Check out other interesting puzzles by Fangshi.


Honey Copter

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It's been a while since I've reviewed one of these Twisty puzzles. After all, I'm rubbish at solving them, but I really do like the variety of designs available, compared to when I started my collection over 10 years ago. The puzzle featured here is called Honey Copter and it's a real beauty.

The puzzle is made by LanLan and it's a shape-mod variation of Oskar's Redi Cube. Each of the six faces features a four-leaf clover and you turn the puzzle not by rotating the faces but by rotating the corners. It makes a real cool effect. The colors are the 6 standard ones you see on most puzzles of this type (blue, red, yellow, white, orange and green).

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I couldn't comment of the difficulty since I won't dare shuffling it, unless I get a second copy to mess around. But judging by PuzzleMaster's classification of 8/10, I'd say that for an experienced puzzler, this won't be much of a challenge, but definitely a fun solve.

The movement is smooth, but not speed-solving smooth. Then again, it's not like I'll be speed-solving it any time soon... I like almost everything about the puzzle, but the stickers are just a notch below what I'd consider good quality. They're already showing signs of peeling off from the edges, which is unfortunate. Other than that, it's a great looking puzzle.

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Closing Comments:

What more could you ask for: a Twisty puzzle with four-leaf clovers. Feeling lucky lately?
The Honey Copter is before anything else, a gorgeous design and one that surely be the delight of any collector, even if you don't plan on solving it.

Availability: The Honey Copter is available at PuzzleMaster for just $23.99 CAD. Also, check out other puzzles by LanLan.


Cast Hourglass

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The sands of time will torment you with the new Cast Puzzle, the Hourglass. There's no time limit for this hourglass, but will you solve it in a timely manner?

The new Cast Puzzle was designed by Korean JinHoo Ahn and was launched in September 2018. The elegant shape of the puzzle is what gives it its name, but don't let its beauty fool you, because this is a very difficult puzzle, rated as level 6/6. It's not the most difficult Hanayama puzzle, but it will certainly put your solving skills to the test. Once you take it apart, a harder challenge awaits you, as putting it back to its original shape is even more difficult.

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There are four interlocked pieces, which at close inspection revels two groups, each with identical pieces. The goal is to separate all four pieces, one by one. The puzzle is small and the details even smaller, so you need to pay close attention as to where the pieces connect with each other and where exactly is the exit point.

Getting the pieces loose is not a difficult task. What's difficult is to find the correct sequence of movements that allows you to put the pieces where you want them. I found the puzzle a little confusing at first. I didn't know how to position the pieces for the next movement, so I had to use some trial and error until I felt I was close to the solution.

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Sometimes the expression "trial and error" is not very well received, since it's not logical thinking, but think of it this way: if you're trying to solve the puzzle for the first time, and you don't know how to solve it, you need to explore various routes and outcomes to see which ones point you in the right direction. This is not a puzzle to use logical thinking, it's more about dexterity and experimentation.

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Solution: If you get stuck, you can download the solution here.

Closing Comments:

The Cast Hourglass may not be for everyone due to its level of difficulty, but if you like a serious challenge with little to no clues about how to solve it, then this is perfect for you. The design itself is already a good excuse to add it to your collection.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Hourglass at PuzzleMaster for $15.99 CAD. If you like Cast Puzzles, check out Hanayama's collection.


Loyd's 15 - Block & Roll Puzzle

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Loyd's 15 is one of the most popular sliding puzzles of all time. Comprising 15 sliding tiles across a 4x4 grid, the missing "16th" number provided an empty space to move the tiles around the frame and solve the puzzle in a variety of solutions. Ever since its first introduction at the end of the 19th century, countless designs of the 15 Puzzle were created. One of such designs was made by Doug Engel, and I love its originality. It's made by BrainWright and it's called The Block & Roll Puzzle, and instead of numbers, you'll be playing with colored marbles.

So, how does this work? Is it just a simple exchange of numbers for colors? Well, not exactly. At first glance, there seems to be very few similarities between this puzzle and the classic version, besides the fact that you'll be sliding your way around a 4x4 grid. And indeed, the two puzzles couldn't be more different... and that's a good thing.

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15 marbles make up the four groups of orange, yellow, purple and green colors. Unlike the original 15 Puzzle, here you'll be constrained by two barriers that will prevent you from freely navigate the marbles from one row to the other, just like a labyrinth. This is clearly seen in the photos, where two of the rows (one in the front and another in the back) have been cut in half and no marble can pass across it. This will, of course, raise the difficulty to a higher level than the original version.

One thing that I always like about puzzles is the ability to create patterns or to have multiple solutions. Here, The Block & Roll Puzzle does this in great style, as it offers you 44 different challenges with patterns to reproduce exactly as you see them. The challenges will be quite difficult, as the first two challenges seen in the photos took me around 30 minutes to solve. Not a bad thing, though, since I like a good challenge.

(Click to Enlarge) - Left: Challenge 1; Right: Challenge 2

Closing Comments:

Loyd's 15 The Block & Roll Puzzle is yet another great sliding puzzle that I'm happy to add to my collection. The concept is different from what I'm used to see in sliding puzzles, and the high difficulty will certainly test your patience and solving skills. Definitely recommended.

Availability: The Block & Roll Puzzle can be found at PuzzleMaster for just $14.99 CAD. Check out other cool puzzles by BrainWright.


Cat Stax

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Over the years I've come to really enjoy puzzles made by BrainWright. They always have these original designs that are quite fun to play with, but also rather challenging. And that's what I look for in a puzzle, really. Cat Stax, created by Bob Ferron, is such a cute and nice puzzle that will delight cat lovers around the world.

The puzzle comes in a travel-like package, which is light and small so you can take it with you to kill some time on a long trip. Inside, 12 different cats await for you to start playing with them. To get you started, 48 challenges divided in four difficult levels promise to keep you busy for quite a while. You can also put your creative skills to the test and create your own puzzles, since there are almost infinite combinations to stack and nest the cats in all sorts of arrangements.

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The goal is to choose a particular card and arrange the cats so they fit inside the grid provided in the challenge. You must nest the cats in a way so that they won't go outside the grid. Depending on the challenge, you could be solving a 2D puzzle or a 3D puzzle. Each card will tell you how many layers a specific puzzle must have in order to be solved.

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As expected, the 3D puzzles are much harder and complex to solve than their 2D counterparts. Nevertheless, if you solve the puzzles in the correct sequence, they are introduced gradually in difficulty, so it's not like you're thrown an impossible challenge. Since I'm more of a fan of 2D puzzles, I naturally like them better, but I also had fun with the 3D challenges. The only drawback is that, because you don't have a box to place the pieces inside when solving a 3D challenge, it's much more difficult to visualize how to stack the cats together. Other than that, this is a great puzzle.

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Closing Comments:

Cat Stax is a really cleverly designed puzzle. As a cat lover myself, I found it very entertaining and challenging enough for my solving skills. If you're not that fond of cats, don't despair, there's also a dog version and a farm animals version.

Availability: You can find the Cat Stax puzzle at PuzzleMaster for $21.99 CAD. Check out other puzzles by BrainWright as well.


Tower Puzzle

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Ah, Sliding-Piece puzzles! My Kryptonite... Every time I can get my hands on one of these I feel like a kid again. This is the type of puzzle that I knew of way before starting my puzzle collection. They always fascinated me somehow.

The Tower Puzzle is a superb puzzle, in the sense that it not only has you slide the pieces from the classic arrangement of A to B, but also from A to C and A to D. A slide puzzle with multiple solutions, you say? Count me in...

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 1 (26 moves)
This is what Russian puzzle designer Vladimir Krasnoukhov came up with for the 37th IPP in Paris, France, in 2017. This is quite an original design for a slide puzzle, and I was excited to have a try. As you may know, the classic slide puzzle has an usual arrangement of 8 pieces laid in a 3x3 grid with an empty space so you can move the pieces around. This time, you do have the same number of pieces, but instead of perfectly square tiles, the Tower Puzzle has three different sized pieces. And this is where it gets complicated.

So, first of all, the design: I really love the design and overall look of the puzzle. The dark color of the tiles contrasts beautifully with the yellow contours of the images of the Eiffel Tower and surrounding buildings. It looks like a nightscape where you only see the silhouettes and nothing else. Really stunning. It measures 10.1cm x 9.3cm (4" x 3.7").

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 2 (61 moves)
Since the pieces are not the same size, you need a slightly different approach from the usual 3x3 sliding puzzles. But the idea is the same. Get the pieces from one location to the other. If one challenge wasn't enough already, you are given three different tasks, each one moving the Eiffel Tower farther away from its starting position. The first challenge is easy, with only 26 minimum moves. However, the third and most complicated challenge involves a total of 115 moves, so a lot of planning is necessary in order to solve it.

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 3 (115 moves)
Closing Comments:

I did find the last challenge a bit difficult, but nothing extraordinarily hard or frustrating. If you know how to solve sliding puzzles, you're pretty much in known territory and only a few minutes will separate you from the goal. Nevertheless, it's still great fun to solve it and I highly recommend it for sliding puzzle enthusiasts.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Tower Puzzle from PuzzleMaster for $26.99 CAD. Also, check out other great puzzles by Vladimir Krasnoukhov.


Cast Arrows

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St. Valentine's Day is still a couple of months away, but that doesn't mean there's not enough love to spread around at Hanayama headquarters. An original design by Russian Andrei Ivanov, the Cast Arrows will be a difficult heart to conquer.

This is quite a captivating and intriguing design, one that truly manages to puzzle even the most brilliant minds... Well, not quite that hard, but still challenging enough to scratch a few heads. This is rated as a difficulty level 3/6 by the manufacturer, but to be honest, I'm more inclined to classify it as a level 4.

The puzzle is comprised by a set of four arrows piercing the central heart-shaped piece. They all look identical, but a close inspection will show you otherwise. There's an opening in the heart that let's the arrows move in a somewhat free way, but still narrow enough to keep you guessing how the arrows should be positioned throughout the solving process.

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I found that this puzzle is more about dexterity than logic. There were many times where I wanted one of the arrows to move to a certain position, but trying to move one particular arrow while keeping the other three still, proved to be much more work than expected. There are four arrows, but only two hands to handle the...

This is why I think the puzzle is a little more challenging than advertised. Yes, it's not that difficult to figure out how to solve it. It's just that, the process in itself is more difficult to execute. It's not enough to make the puzzle frustrating, though. Once you solve it, it's quite a rewarding feeling. Putting it back together might also be quite challenging.

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Solution: You can download the solution here.

Closing Comments:

The Cast Arrows is quite a unique design. It looks a lot like one of those impossible tricks where you try to figure out how the hell did they put it that way. It's a great puzzle to show to your friends and family, and to see how they react when you solve it.

Availability: You can find a copy of the Cast Arrows at PuzzleMaster. If you like Hanayama, check out the entire collection of Cast Puzzles.


Japanese Puzzle Boxes

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Which company/craftsman makes the most beautiful puzzles?

This was the question I raised on my previous article, but since there's no right or wrong answer, and each reader will have his/her own opinion on the subject, I will continue my effort to show you some of the best puzzle makers out there capable of designing truly stunning puzzles. My choice this time goes to an absolutely amazing type of puzzles, the Japanese Puzzle Boxes.

Japan is widely known for sushi, manga, robots, karaoke, sumo, samurais, bonsai...I could be here all day naming all kinds of things that make Japan so awesome. And yet, to most puzzle enthusiasts and collectors all over the world, the Japanese Puzzle Box stands as one of the most fascinating and intriguing objects ever created in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Now, if we get technical about it, these boxes are not produced by just one company or craftsman, but by many different, qualified and talented people instead, which would make answering the question above a futile attempt. Nevertheless, this is a unique type of puzzles that absolutely deserves to be in the category of most beautiful puzzles, so please bear with me...

In Japan, these boxes are simply known as Himitsu-Bako (秘密-箱)...or in plain English "Secret Box". They originated in the Hakone-Cho region, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in the Edo period (late 19th century), and started out as souvenirs from the region. Their international recognition and appreciation, however, started only a few decades later, when the first boxes were brought to the west, firstly in US, in the 1920's. Since then, enthusiasts and collectors alike from all over the world have been fascinated and attracted by these magnificent boxes, contributing to their ever-growing popularity. They've become a symbol of Japanese perfection and attention to detail.

To better understand the appearance and nature of a Japanese Puzzle Box, you must first learn about the tradition and technique of gift-wrapping called Tsutsumi (包み), which has been present in the Japanese culture since the Muromachi period (1336-1537). Usually, in the west, wrapping paper is discarded and not handled with care. However, in Japan, people take this tradition into high regard and cherish it as something with a deeper meaning. This art form uses a special type of paper or other traditional materials, and its presentation is as important as the gift itself, if not more. It involves folding the paper at different angles employing an assortment of styles reminiscent to origami, which makes no use of scissors or glue. So what's the relation between Tsutsumi and Japanese Puzzle Boxes? Well, it's all in the presentation. You see, a Japanese Puzzle Box looks just like a very well gift-wrapped box using the ancient tradition of Tsutsumi.

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The two most common characteristics of Japanese Puzzle Boxes are their inlaid work (the geometric patterns you see on their surface) and their unique sliding mechanism:

  • The inlaid work is hand made using traditional techniques and regional materials, and the level of perfection, only attained by extremely skillful Japanese craftsmen, is achieved by binding together contrasting wood tones in a very thin layer above the surface of each box. The patterns are usually symmetric and different types of geometric designs can be seen in a single box, giving it a more classy and exquisite touch.
  • The sliding mechanism works by concealing movable panels on the sides of the box. Because the panels are cut and put together with extremely tight tolerances, figuring out exactly where to find them becomes part of the puzzle. Subsequently, discovering the correct sequence of moves until you can fully slide apart and open the lid of the box is essentially the rest of the puzzle.
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There are more characteristics that define an original Japanese Puzzle Box, though, but only a select few possess them. You can find, for example, some boxes with detailed and picturesque images, mostly with charming natural landscapes or fauna from Japan. Others, seen more rarely in limited editions, instead of displaying the unique inlaid work, present a beautiful engraved image on the top side of the box.

Japanese Puzzle Boxes come in many shapes and sizes, despite the traditional rectangular ones that are more widely available. Among the also relatively common cubic boxes, you can sometimes find other shapes, like pentagons, hexagons, triangles, stars, you name it... It seems there's no limit to the Japanese craftsmanship and creativity when it comes to designing these incredible boxes.

The puzzle boxes also vary a lot in size, and generally, but not exclusively, this is closely related to the number of steps required to open them...and their price is also very much related to the size. A box can range between 2 and up to 1500+ moves, frequently in a sequential order rather than random. Too many moves doesn't necessarily mean it's more difficult than a box with slightly fewer moves. It just means that the sequence for the solution is a bit longer.

In Japan, one of the most common units of measure is the sun, used for lengths, and its origins come from the Chinese cun, also a unit to measure lengths. 1 sun is approximately 3cm (1.19"). The smallest Japanese Puzzle Boxes are called mame (miniature) and measure between 1 and 1,5 sun. The largest ones, however, it's not exactly clear how large they can get, but the biggest one I've seen so far is 12 sun, or 36cm (14.17").

Today, you can easily find on the Internet plans to build many kinds of Japanese Puzzle Boxes. This type of puzzle has become so popular that anyone with the right tools, materials and some craftsmanship skills can make them. Notwithstanding these facts, any puzzle box that isn't built by a Japanese craftsman with Japanese materials cannot be called a Japanese Puzzle Box, no matter how well it's built. There's nothing like an authentic and original Japanese Puzzle Box.

Final Thoughts:

Whether you're an avid puzzler or merely a curious mind for everything that demands creative thinking, the love and appreciation for Japanese Puzzle Boxes remains common to all of us, the respect to all the Japanese craftsmen that have made an effort in these last couple of centuries to continue the tradition of such a beautiful craft.

Availability: You can find many of these beautiful Japanese Puzzle Boxes at PuzzleMaster.


Ottawa Puzzle

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What better way to commemorate an IPP (International Puzzle Party) than a puzzle dedicated to the city that hosted the event? Vladimir Krasnoukhov did exactly that with his unique design called Ottawa Puzzle for the IPP 35, held in Ottawa, Canada, in 2015.

This is a great puzzle for those that really like packing puzzles. It's a simple design made with only five pieces, three of them identical. The goal of the puzzle is to make the shape of the maple leaf, as seen in Canada's flag, by rearranging the pieces inside the frame.

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The presentation of the puzzle is flawless. Made from acrylic, in red and white, it measures 12.9cm x 7.4cm (5.1" x 2.9"). The acrylic gives the puzzle this clean and gorgeous look, much like glass, but easier to build puzzles.

The frame is odd-shaped, which at first makes it difficult to visualize how the pieces might fit inside, but soon you'll adjust to it. The shape of the pieces don't help much either, as the goal is to make an overall symmetrical shape. This will certainly put your visualization and spacial skills to the test. There's a few other challenges as well, besides creating the maple leaf. I always love when puzzles give you more than one challenge to solve. These will help you to see how the pieces interact with each other to create other designs.

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The solution itself is not that difficult. The challenging part is to arrange the two big pieces in the tray in order to fit the other three small ones. Rated as a level 7/10, I believe this is the correct classification. It's a bit challenging, but an experienced puzzler should solve this in less than 5 minutes. Not much playtime for a puzzle, but as mentioned, you can make other designs with the pieces. It might be even possible to create other shapes besides the ones already shown.

Closing Comments:

The Ottawa Puzzle is a nice little puzzle for most puzzlers. It's not crazy difficult, which would frustrate beginners, but still fun to solve for anyone who likes packing puzzles. This would be a great gift for a Canadian friend or relative.

Availability: The Ottawa Puzzle is available at PuzzleMaster for $24.99 CAD. If you like, you can check out other interesting puzzles from Vladimir Krasnoukhov.


Schloss 250

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When you think of a padlock and how to open them, the first thought that comes to you is "with a key", right? Almost any traditional padlock comes with a corresponding key in order to open them. The key is unique to that particular padlock and can't open any other, just like a regular lock. What you may be surprised to know is that Jean Claude Constantin's new puzzle lock, the Schloss 250, doesn't need any kind of key to be opened. Instead, it will need a person with lots of patience and attention.

Imagine, a padlock without a key. That would be great, because you could open it without worrying about losing its key. But, there's a downside with this puzzle lock. To solve it, you'll need at least 250 steps - hence the name of the puzzle - which can take a while to open it. However, it's a perfect way to keep something of value locked, since it would discourage any thief from attempting to rob you, lest they would get caught with the hands in the cookie jar.

The Schloss 250 has a robust body made of laser-cut wood. Four pins are held in place in the middle and stuck between the four wooden plates that cross the lock from one side to the other. The pins can only be moved from left to right, but you have to unlock their path with the correct sequence. The movement of the puzzle could be better, because it can be stuck sometimes and you risk losing your concentration. Other than that, it's very well made.

The solution is simple, but at the same time, complex. This seems quite an incoherent thought, but it's actually true. The solving process implies the use of recursive mathematics, which means it has a specific set of rules that will repeat after a while. While it can be complex due to the number of moves needed to solve it, and also extreme concentration, once you understand the repetitive nature of the solution, it becomes very simple. This is a puzzle belonging to the group of 6-ary (remember that binary has only two states, 1 or 0), which means it has six different states. Understanding this notion will help you a lot in solving this challenging puzzle.

Closing Comments:

The Schloss 250 by Constantin is a true test to anyone's patience. With its whopping 250 steps, although it can take you more, only the most courageous will succeed in solving this fiendish puzzle.

Availability: PuzzleMaster is the place to get this great puzzle. If you want a less challenging puzzle or any other from Constantin, you can browse his available puzzles.


Lonpos - Cosmic Creature

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Lonpos - Cosmic Creature is a puzzle game with almost 30 years. Developed in 1989 by Lonpos, this game is one of the best logic games in its own right. Today, we see so many different logic games, we forget which ones came first and which ones were responsible for this popular type of puzzles.

Lonpos is a very difficult puzzle. No sugar-coating here. If you like a great challenge, this is the one for you. It does start off pretty easy, as you'll only need to place a couple of pieces in the first challenges. But soon enough, the difficulty gets exponentially tougher, since more and more pieces are going to be necessary in order to fill the game's tray.

Cosmic Creature, as the name suggests, features 12 irregular pieces, each in a different color, and they do look like creatures you'd see in a cartoon or a comics magazine. SmartGames issued a version of this game recently, and with good reason, because it's a great puzzle game. I also reviewed it a while ago, here. It comes in a small travel box, convenient to play anywhere, anytime you choose. Comes with a booklet filled with 111 puzzles, divided in 8 levels of difficulty.

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 10

One thing that recent logic games have been doing, and kind of spoiling you, is that always come with solutions. Well, not this one. You're completely on your own. You do get a little help in the form of hints, if you follow the official website, but it doesn't help much, as they only give you the position of another piece. It's a bummer if you really get stuck in a particular puzzle, but take my advice: if you're stuck, just move on. Try to solve another challenge in the meantime and come back to that one later. You may find that this will help you a lot, and more often than not you'll end up solving it, eventually.

This is a type of puzzle that requires lots of patience and much trial and error. Many times, you'll see that there's only one piece left to solve the puzzle, but the only way is to remove a few more pieces and try again. With practice you'll become more familiarized with the piece's shapes and it will get easier to visualize potential solutions. It's a great rewarding feeling.

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 40

Closing Comments:

Lonpos - Cosmic Creature doesn't seem to be almost 30 years old. It took very well the test of time, and to prove it is other companies trying to capitalize on its original success and originality. It's a perfect puzzle to exercise your brain, whether you're 6 years old or 99 years young...

Availability: Lonpos - Cosmic Creature is available at PuzzleMaster for just $15.99 CAD. Check out other puzzles like Lonpos.


Icosoku Junior

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Sometime ago I reviewed one the best puzzles by Recent Toys, the Brain Dice. Today, I'm going to talk about another nice puzzle from them, but this time from 2011. The puzzle is called IcoSoKu Junior and it was designed by the same person, Andrea Mainini.

The name can be confused with the widely popular Sudoku game, but it's not even remotely similar. The only thing the two games have in common is they both use numbers, but that's it. If you've played with Brain Dice, then the concept is somewhat similar, since you also have to match the dots on the tiles with the numbers on the puzzle.

This is the easier version of the IcoSoKu puzzle. On this one, the numbers are only 1 to 4, but on the original version it's from 1 to 12. Both puzzles are the same size, though, and are quite big, which is great for a puzzle like this.

The idea of the puzzle is to remove the tiles from the puzzle and the numbers. Then, you mix all pieces and put them back in the puzzle so that the sum of black dots on the tiles match the numbers 1/4 on the puzzle. Each number has three pieces scattered around the puzzle, and each number is surrounded by five tiles. The puzzle is solved when all numbers match the sum of all tiles surrounding them. A great thing about this puzzle is that all configurations have at least one solution.

In terms of difficulty, this puzzle is a little easier than the Brain Dice. There are some tiles that don't have any black dots so it becomes easier to place all tiles in the puzzle. This one is good to practice for the more challenging 12-number IcoSoKu.

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Closing Comments:

IcoSoKu is a puzzle that you won't want to put down. The replay value on this puzzle is huge with endless configurations and solutions, so you always have a different challenge to solve. Andrea Mainini is definitely a puzzle designer you should pay more attention.

Availability: You can get a copy of IcoSoku Junior at PuzzleMaster for just $25.99 CAD. Check out other puzzles by Recent Toys.


Svetnashki Family

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I finally have the whole Svetnashki family together! The Svetnashki 6x4 was the last one to be added to my collection, and it's a beauty.

This one is slightly larger than the smallest 4x4 Svetnashki, obviously because of its larger shape. It's small enough to carry around with you, and you couldn't ask for a better companion for those dull moments.

If you don't know what a Svetnashki is or does, check out my other reviews on the different versions. In short, a Svetnashki plays with light by polarizing the tiles from a clear color to a dark color and vice-versa. This is not a novelty concept, but utilizing it for a puzzle is a stroke of genius.

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By having the tiles polarized or not, you'll create patterns, which in turn make the main goal of the puzzle: have all tiles polarized (dark) or transparent. All other combinations in between create a myriad of patterns that will make any puzzle enthusiast thrilled. In particular, the Svetnashki 6x4 can create more rectangular patterns, as opposed to its square brethren, due to its shape. This is great if you want to create letter-shaped patterns, for example.

Ever since I got my first Svetnashki back in 2010, I was fascinated by its simple and yet beautiful design. I was always a sucker for pattern puzzles, and you can see this by my various reviews on this subject. Making patterns is a way to get your creative mind going, to imagine something in your mind and achieving it with a series of movements, which you can manipulate and control, is my ultimate definition of fun. That's why the Svetnashki puzzles remain as one of my all-time favorite puzzles.

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Closing Comments:

If you still don't have a Svetnashki in your collection, do yourself a favor and get one. It's that good. Whether you're a casual or seasoned puzzler, this is a must-have for curious and creative minds.

Availability: You can get the Svetnashki 6x4 at PuzzleMaster for just $27.99 CAD. Check out the other Svetnashki versions.


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