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Most of you, who read my blog regularly, already know the Moeraki 3, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. Refer to that review for more details. This time, I will show you the other version, the Moeraki 4.
The Moeraki games are a collaboration between Mr. Ivan Moscovich and Mr. Kasimir Landowski, who presented the revamped puzzles at the 2008 Nuremberg International Trade Fair, and are being produced by Casland Games. As of now, only two versions of the games have been physically produced, but there are three more available as virtual PC games, with iPhone, iPod and iPad versions as well.
(Click to Enlarge) - Moeraki 3 & 4
As a sliding puzzle, the Moeraki 4 has a similar concept to the popular Hungarian Rings, although a little more complex. There are three intercepting rings instead of two, and six points of interception instead of just two (Moeraki 3 has four points of intersection). The puzzle consists of four different colored beads with three of them (yellow, red and green) belonging to the outer parts of the rings, while the blank beads belong to the inner parts. The object is simple: just mix the beads and then try to return them to their original color spaces.
The design of the Moeraki is strikingly beautiful: One of the best-looking puzzles currently on the market. The beads create a great visual effect with their shiny surface and their movement is rather smooth. The Moeraki 4 jams a little more, mainly because of its ring design, but still much better than any other bead puzzle. The size is also a plus in the Moeraki games, with a diameter of about 14cm (5.5"). Each puzzle has its own transparent display case and looks great on a shelf.
(Click to Enlarge) - Moeraki 4 in its Case: Front and Back
Difficulty-wise, comparing it to the Moeraki 3, at first I thought this one was harder, but after a few solves I could see the difference in complexity. By looking at the two of them, you'd think that the simplicity of the 3 - Just two intersecting loops - would make it easier. However, in this case, looks can be deceiving. In fact, I believe the Moeraki 4 is even easier to solve than the classic Hungarian Rings - I remember having quite a hard time solving that one.
(Click to Enlarge) - Scrambled
The solving strategy is pretty simple too. You'll start by getting any of the outer colors in place, followed by the adjacent color. The trickier part is the last ring, but here you can take advantage of the fact that when permuting beads between any two rings, the third one remains unaffected. Just keep this in mind and you should be able to solve it without any trouble.
(Click to Enlarge) - PC Version Main Menu
Solving time after a few practice solves takes no more than five minutes, but you can still solve it faster. Packaged with each of Moeraki comes a correspondent virtual version of the game. You can use it on-the-go, but it can be used as a practice medium if you're worried about messing with the physical version, at first. The PC game features three levels of difficulty, starting with just a two-color game, but it gets increasingly difficulty until you reach level 3 with 7 colors - This level is actually harder than its physical counterpart, which by the way, has only five different colors. It's a nice alternative way to play the games and get a different interaction: You have the option of selecting a variety of different beads to play the game.
(Click to Enlarge) - PC Version - Left: 2 Colors; Middle: 4 Colors; Right: 7 Colors
Video demonstration of the puzzle's movement.
The Moeraki 4 is an amazing puzzle to play with and on top of that, it's beautifully designed to close perfection. It's not overly difficult to solve, but it's a very satisfying experience and I highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in a challenge. Congratulations Mr. Moscovich and Mr. Landowski, for you have created a masterpiece.
Availability: The Moeraki games are available at Casland Games for €15 - A bargain, considering the high-quality of both puzzles.
Links: Below, you can check two other reviews of the Moeraki games written by fellow puzzle bloggers: