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Can't believe it's over a year since I reviewed my last Twisty Puzzle. I guess I neglected this category a bit, and considering it all started with the one and only, the Rubik's Cube, it definitely deserves a little more attention. Well, what better way to resume the Twisty reviews than a puzzle based on the Rubik's Cube itself, Meffert's 3x3x3 Bandage Cube.
The puzzle dates back from 1999, and while it's produced by Meffert's, I don't have any information about its inventor. The mechanism is basically the same as the classic 3x3x3, but has a major difference in the outer design. Many of its pieces are bandaged or fused together in pairs.
The result is a step up in difficulty, as most of your current knowledge on how to solve a normal 3x3x3 isn't applicable to this cube. The bandaged pieces have different orientations and block many movements, reducing significantly the number of possible moves.
Also, a trademark of Meffert's, instead of the classic stickers you have colorful tiles. They give a great sense of touch and they're also more durable. The movement of the puzzle feels quite smooth, and to me it doesn't need extra lubrication, unless you're planning to used it for competition.
It's hard to rate the difficulty of puzzles like these. It all depends on how good you are with Twisty Puzzles. While most of the general 3x3x3 movements can't be used with the Bandage Cube, your experience with this type of puzzles certainly helps. I have to be honest, I'm not very good at them. I do know how to solve a Rubik's Cube and many of its variants, but I struggle to solve the harder ones in the family. That's another reason why I try to stay clear of them with the reviews as much as possible.
So far, I have solved the Bandage Cube twice. The first took me about half an hour and the second time it took about 10 or 15 minutes. Since then, I've tried a third time, but have yet to succeed. I seem to not have a clear strategy for solving it at the moment. I guess it depends on how well you scramble it, which by the way, it's not easy to accomplish. I'm assuming I've scrambled it a little too much this time, so I have some work to do now...
I've seen many variants of the 3x3x3 Bandage Cube with different types of bandages, sometimes three cubes fused together, or four in a square. There are also Bandage 2x2x2, 4x4x4, and so on. If you're into this type of puzzles, there are a plethora of choices out there.
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If you liked and solved the Rubik's Cube, but you're eager to try something a little more challenging, then the Bandage Cube is a great choice, as it forces you to think in a different way.
Availability: I got the Bandage Cube from PuzzleMaster in my last order, but they are out of stock at the moment. Keep checking back, and you might get lucky next time you visit the site. In the meantime, you can check their other offers in Bandage Cubes.