|(Click to Enlarge)|
Last year, also in January, I reviewed two puzzles from Belgian puzzle designer Robrecht Louage: Remove the Yolk and 4 Steps Visible Lock (winner of IPP 2011 Jury Grand Prize). This year, Robrecht participated again in the 32nd IPP and his contribution was the 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle. It didn't win an award, but it doesn't make it less impressive than its predecessors.
I loved his previous two puzzles, so I was obviously eager to try his latest design. Suffice it to say, I was as impressed as I was the first time around. The quality and design of the puzzle are perfect, as well as its solving experience.
The materials used in the 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle are pretty much the same, with trespa and acrylic providing a great visual appearance. The trespa frame is relatively small with dimensions of 10 x 7cm (3.9" x 2.8"), although the acrylic platform extends its total length to 18.5cm (7.3").
There are a couple of similarities between the 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle and the 4 Steps Visible Lock: both have some sort of maze that you have to navigate with steel balls by pushing and pulling the acrylic platform, until you're able to free the coin. While you could see the whole maze in the Visible Lock (not quite, but still 99% of it), you can only see part of it in the Labyrinth Puzzle, with the rest being up to your puzzler intuition.
In all fairness, you only need to see what's shown of the maze, as you wouldn't be able to figure out the final part right away, even if you could see the whole maze. That's the beauty of it, though. The final part is always the trickiest. If you solved the Visible Lock, you'll know what I'm talking about.
The Labyrinth Puzzle had me "puzzled" for a while. It didn't take me long to solve it, around half and hour or so, but for the most part, I thought I had it almost solved, when in reality I was very far from it. You can see in the picture below that the coin is almost at the end of the maze, but it's not enough to remove it... And here lies the genius of the puzzle, having you believe you're almost there and a feeling that it's just a little more effort.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Almost there... Or am I?|
In fact, I stumbled on the solution almost by accident when I was holding the puzzle at a different position (I'm not saying which one). I was very surprised to see the coin free in such an unexpected way. I won't go into more details about the solution, because I believe that if you find out for yourself, the feeling will be much more rewarding. I'll just say that it'll leave a big smile on your face when you solve it. It's definitely worth it.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Solved|
If you own any of Robrecht's puzzles, then you're gonna love the 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle. It has everything you want in a puzzle - Great design, superb quality, and above all, a wonderful solving experience with that a-ha moment as the icing on top.
Availability: You can contact Robrecht Louage directly at his e-mail "rlouage(at)telenet(dot)be" to get a copy of his 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle or to ask for availability on some of his other great designs.