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On the Level, by Mag-Nif, is an interesting twist on edge-matching puzzles. If you're familiar with this type of puzzles, most of them are comprised by flat pieces with different colors or patterns. On the Level is a bit different by taking the edge-matching concept to the "next level". Instead of flat pieces, the puzzle consists of nine tiles, each with three different levels, featuring all nine possible configurations.
Although the edge-matching concept is very simple to understand, I found this puzzle a bit confusing at first. I didn't know exactly how the pieces were supposed to be placed. The trick here is to look at the puzzle as if you were seeing it from the top with three different color tones: the highest level being a lighter tone and the lowest level the darker tone.
The goal is to have each level of a particular piece match the same levels of its adjacent neighbors, while the outside edges of the 9-piece square match the opposite edge levels. You can see one of the possible solutions below, but there are many more.
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The pieces also have curious arrangements. Six of them are pairs of mirrored images of each other and the remaining three are mixed combinations of opposite level heights. It might not help you much finding a solution, but it's nice to know your puzzle a little better.
Once you understand how the puzzle works it's not very difficult to find a solution. In fact, many of the possible solutions derive from others by simply removing the end columns or rows and placing them on opposite sides. Take a look at Jaap Scherphuis' site. He's done a great analysis on this puzzle.
Even though the idea of the puzzle is quite original and fun to solve, its design could have been a little more thought out, as the colors are too bland with the black tray and the green pieces. Other than that, On the Level is a welcome addition to the edge-matching family. Its multiple solutions will sure keep you busy for a while.
Availability: You can get the On the Level puzzle at Brilliant Puzzles for about $15 USD. You can also find there two others from Mag-Nif, The Brain and the Cerebral Rings.