Marusenko Sphere

Posted on by Gabriel | 3 comments
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These 5 little Twisty Puzzles are called the Marusenko Sphere. Almost two years later after their entry in the IPP 29, they finally became available worldwide at the beginning of this year (2011). 

Produced in Spain and designed by Felix Perez and Alexandr Marusenko, the spheres come in five different levels of difficulty with ten color schemes - Five color versions for level 1, two for level 4 and the remaining three levels, all with a unique color scheme. 

Each sphere comes nicely packaged with a stand and protective transparent case, which makes for a great display item. The scheme of choice is colored plastic instead of stickers, which by the way is absolutely spot on. I actually prefer colored plastic in sphere Twisty Puzzles, rather than stickers, because the actual form of the puzzle is much more prone to have the stickers peeling off, after a while. 

I tried to take the sphere apart to show the core, but it was really difficult and I was afraid to break something. In the tutorial though, the assembling process of the sphere is described as not using glue or any metallic elements, for example, springs or screws, commonly found in other Twisty Puzzles.

The basics of the Marusenko Sphere, regarding its mechanical movements, it's like a rounded 2x2 cube with a twist. The twist is the four central triangles in each of the six poles. This kind of resembles the challenge found in the line of Crazy Cubes and also the 2x2x4 ShengShou, reviewed by me last year. What I liked most in the ShengShou was precisely the center triangles and this new additional challenge, of having to orientate them correctly.

So, basically if you can solve, even a 2x2 cube, then you'll definitely be able to solve (in theory) any level of the Marusenko Sphere. Even though the higher levels are much more tough to work out, the principle is the same. It's recommended to start by a lower level to get the hang of it, but if you're an experienced twisty solver and you can't get all of them, then go for it, because it's quite easy to pick up right away. Besides, all of the levels come with their respective tutorial, if you get stuck, so no worries.

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This is the easiest Marusenko Sphere to get started and it has only two colors, making a nice contrast. There are many color possibilities for this scheme and that's also why you see five different versions of this, giving you the possibility of choosing your preferred color combination.

One of the perks of having only two colors, is that you can solve the sphere into many possible patterns. It comes in a checkered pattern, but the Marusenko website shows eight more different ones, although I'm sure you can do even more.

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This is my favorite in terms of appearance. The main body is all white, leaving only the six poles, each with a different color.

This is the perfect sphere to train for the higher levels. Focusing on this challenge alone by having only the poles to worry about, will give you an insight on how to tackle this particular task on the other spheres. It may seem difficult at first, but you'll get there eventually. To ensure a proper scramble of the sphere, make sure you have four different triangles in each pole.

There isn't other patterns you can do with the Circular Sphere per se, however, you can try to group different colors together, adding this way another degree of difficulty.

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The third level starts to add a bit more difficulty. With two colors for the main body and two more on each opposite poles, it gets harder to solve. This is my favorite one for solving. It's right there in the middle as not so hard, but with just the right amount of difficulty to have fun and being challenged enough without too much stress.

When you have the sphere well scrambled, the first thing you should do is getting the body colors in their right position and just then, you may finish solving the poles.

The Flag Sphere also provides a variety of different patterns for you to solve. You can see a couple of examples in the pictures below.

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There are two versions for this level. Besides the Contrast Sphere, with black, white, yellow and orange, there's a classic color scheme available with yellow, red, green and blue. They're exactly the same difficulty, so it's up to you to choose.

Even though the level 4 sphere has the same colors as the level 3, the difficulty is much higher because they're spread differently. Instead of two colors for the main body like the previous one (excluding the two colors of the poles), the Contrast Sphere has four colors.

The tips for solving this one are pretty much the same as the level 3. Getting the main body parts in the correct position is a bit trickier, but easily done. The harder is to get the triangles in their places, as there's only two possible ways for doing this. To be more exact, it's six correct positions, around the two respective body parts for that color.

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... And we're finally on the hardest sphere to solve. With eight different colors to worry about, one for each main triangle, this'll be as tough as it gets.

One thing that you'll realize when you try to solve the Circular Sphere, is that there's no need to get the main body parts in their correct places. Since they're all a different color, what you have to do is "just" get each of the three triangles of the same color around their respective body color, although "just" is an understatement. This challenge alone will prove to be enough to test your resolve.

Besides all the different color groups you can solve the sphere into, you can try at least another one, which is color contrast. Choose between two colors at a time and solve it by exchanging their corresponding triangles into the opposite main body color. Example in the picture below.

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Closing Comments:

What I loved most about the Marusenko Sphere, in general, was the wide range of color schemes to chose from and the different levels it has. Extra points for not settling with just one version and be done with it. Although the basic principles were out there already in other puzzles, the Marusenko Sphere is different in its own way and manages to achieve what others didn't - Variety.

If you want to get the most out of the Marusenko, try to get the five levels available and start at the first level, working your way up to level 5. Highly recommended for any Twisty Puzzle collector.


katsmom said...

Merry Christmas Gabriel. I'm very glad you got this back online. I love to read what you've been puzzling over. Do more long breaks!

Gabriel said...

Thank you so much for your message, Rox ;-)
Well, my goal is to write at least a review per week. Thankfully, I have been receiving enough puzzles lately, that sometimes it has to be daily, just to keep up.
Puzzle Regards ;-)

Alexander Marusenko said...

My name is Alexander Marusenko. The citizen of the EU, namely Spain, Don Perez Cabeza Felix Abdon disrupted my rights to intellectual property. “Marusenko S. L.” Enterprise has been established illegally without my participation in Spain. My surname has been illegally used on the EU territory. The top management of the enterprise was informed about illegal usage of my invention by me in 2010. All mentioned above has brought me material and moral damage.
I invented a few new toys puzzles. This is the original compact puzzle. Quite a unique mechanism and design. I'm looking for people willing to take over the organization of production. If this information is interesting - contact me. Alexander Marusenko.

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