(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 1: Column Gradient (Derived from the single color columns)
Ever since the release of the Babylon Tower and the Missing Link in the early 80's, there have been countless versions of this type of puzzles. Some were great, others not so much... The Eni Puzzles, that I am reviewing today, belong in the former category rather than the latter, in my opinion.
This type of puzzles can be seen simply as a natural evolution from the classic 2D slide tile puzzles. Invented by a Korean father/son collaboration, JongMan Kim and JeeSoo Kim, the Eni Puzzles (or Kim's Column) were made available in several different versions, varying in sizes and colors. Besides sizes and colors, you can also choose from the tile finish, braille or numbers.
From the two color schemes available, bold or pastel, I decided to go for the bold, as I already have a pastel colored puzzle, the Babylon Tower. For size, I went for the "Mini", although it's actually the most complex one with eight rows and eight columns. Compared with this, the other two versions, the "Braille" and the "Keychain", have five and four rows respectively, also with eight columns each.
(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 2: Single Color Rows Gradient
Design-wise, the puzzle is very well done. The tiles have raised contours for a better manipulation and I like its size, which is smaller than I was expecting (about 6cm height [2.36"]).
There are several challenges for you to solve, other than just scramble and get it back to the same pattern. With the puzzle, comes already included a leaflet with a few patterns to solve. If you have patience, you can also try your own designs, for a more satisfying experience.
With eight columns and a color for each one, solving the puzzle might sound a little intimidating at first, but if you're experienced with any of the other puzzles from this category, it'll be second nature. Being a collector, but also a puzzle solver as well, I sort of found it a little boring at times. I'll explain better: For anyone accustomed to these puzzles, the solving process is simple and repetitive, so when you have so many tiles and you're trying to solve a particular challenge or a predetermined pattern, it can get pretty tedious after a while. My advice is to solve from one challenge to another without returning it to the original pattern first (single color for each column). That way it makes more sense and it's not so repetitious.
I got my Eni Puzzle from the TwistyPuzzle Store in Canada for $11 CAD. They also have the other versions available. I noticed from the Eni Puzzle's official website that they now have a cool Black & White version, although I haven't seen it for sale anywhere.
(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 3: Checkered Pattern
Having tried several puzzles similar in concept, the Eni Puzzle is a very nice addition to this category. While it has some plus features, like the variety of available versions and different difficulty levels and challenges, I still prefer my old Babylon Tower. It's hard to explain, but I know a certain puzzle lady that most certainly agrees with me...