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Packing Puzzles are easily one of the most rich categories within the mechanical puzzles realm, with so many different designs that even a collector, like myself, can discover a new puzzle every now and then.
The Zoo Jigsaw is one of my recent discoveries, even though they've been around for a while, but being a Packing Puzzle enthusiast as I am, I had to include it in my latest Brilliant Puzzles order.
The puzzle is comprised by eight different animals (a bison, a deer, a raccoon, a fox, a wild cat, a rabbit, a duck and a squirrel) with varying sizes and you have to pack them all in a squared wooden frame with 15.3cm in length (≈ 6"). Each animal-shaped wooden piece is beautifully hand-crafted with the utmost detail with a scroll saw. I like the darker wood tone seen in most of the pieces, which gives the puzzle a much more attractive appearance.
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Solving the Zoo Jigsaw wasn't very hard. It took me about 10 minutes or so, but I liked the clever way some pieces fit together. There are noticeable parts in some of the pieces that perfectly fit with others, bringing the difficulty level down a bit, although it can still be challenging. The pieces are double sided, meaning that you can flip them and try to place them in a different way, thus rising the number of possibilities.
To my knowledge, the puzzle appears to have a single solution, giving the particular nature of the pieces. I have solved it multiple times and always came to the same solution. The first time I solved it, I checked with the provided solution and the only difference was that the pieces were mirrored, but that still counts as the same solution.
As of now, Brilliant Puzzles only carry this design of picture frame themed packing puzzles, even though I've seen a few others around, so I'm hoping to see more like these in the near future.
The Zoo Jigsaw was a very welcoming addition to my puzzle collection, for its uniqueness and originality. It wasn't a really tough challenge, but it's very fun and enjoyable to solve. It's definitely recommended to anyone with a slight interest in puzzles.
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