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Today, I realized I'm writing the 35th puzzle review from Jean Claude Constantin. That's way more than any other puzzle designer. I still have in my collection several more of his creations that haven't been reviewed yet, which most certainly takes the total number to well over 50. And the sad part is that I don't even have half of his puzzles.
My latest addition is Get Charged, a very original puzzle with a clever hidden mechanism. There are countless puzzles in the hidden mechanism family, and if you're familiar with them this one will be solved in no time, as I've seen this concept in other puzzles.
Get Charged is manufactured by Bits and Pieces, which got me positively surprised. As you may know, from some previous reviews, this company isn't famous for their high quality puzzles, but this one is actually pretty decent. The wood has a gorgeous dark red tone, smooth and unscratched, and considering it uses an actual spark plug, it's in very good condition. The puzzle is relatively small, only 9.7 x 5.7 x 2.5cm (3.8" x 2.2" x 1").
As far as difficulty goes, it really depends if you have solved any hidden mechanism puzzles in the past. If you have, like I did, then you shouldn't take more than five minutes to crack the secret mechanism. If you didn't, then I believe it will be a tough one. PuzzleMaster has rated it as a level 8/10, and for beginners it's just about right. For experienced puzzlers, though, I reckon it's more like a 6, 7/10 at the most.
I don't want to go much into detail about the puzzle's solution, but one thing that I always do with hidden mechanism puzzles is to give them a shake and try to hear loose pieces rattling inside. Not all of them have this type of mechanism, but many do, and this is one of them. You just have to find a way to remove that little metal rod and free the spark plug.
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Get Charged doesn't offer much in terms of new concepts. I've seen it implemented in other puzzles too. However, the design, as Constantin has accustomed us with his gems, is a superb and original idea. Kudos to Bits and Pieces too, for a well manufactured puzzle for a change.
Availability: You can find the Get Charged at PuzzleMaster for just $15 CAD. For other great Constantin designs, check out their special section.