(Click to Enlarge)
The Cast Starfish, released in 2008, belongs to the Hanayama's Marine Series, a small collection of six Cast Puzzles that have the sea and ocean as the main theme.
This is my favorite from the Marine Series, and one of the most beautiful in the Cast collection. It may not be the most difficult one, but it's design makes up for the lack of challenge. The goal is similar to some of the others in the series, which is to separate a couple of mackerels joined in a loop from the starfish. The design choice of having the two fish in a different color, in this case golden, adds a lovely touch of contrast to the silver starfish: simple, but effective.
As usual, there's two level ratings, one from Hanayama (2 out of 6) and the other from PuzzleMaster (6 out 10). Since the level rating from PuzzleMaster goes from 5 to 10, they're spot on with the difficulty. The puzzle is relatively easy to solve in approximately 10 minutes or less, but not that easy, as it makes you think what route to take to separate the fish from the star. On the back of the star, there's small grooves that help to move the mackerels around. By rotating them and move through those grooves, you'll eventually free the fish. I did it by "accident", kind of... I was maneuvering the loop like stated above, and just like that, they were free... Sort of like an "a-ha moment". For a graphical solution, click here.
In my collection, I only have three of the six in the Marine Series, the other two being the Cast Claw and the Cast Seahorse, but I also recommend the other three if you're one of those that likes to collect this type of puzzles. The other three are the Cast Seabream, the Cast Shark and the Cast Reef.
All of these puzzles above are available at the PuzzleMaster website. Have fun collecting them and most of all, solving them.
(Click to Enlarge)
Hanayama's Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)