|(Click to Enlarge)|
The Tri-Trick is a sliding puzzle made by the Hong Kong based company Hidden One Design. The puzzle I have is actually an updated version of an older design, now discontinued, which was available in two colors (black or white) just a few years ago. The new design is, in my opinion, much more attractive, although some puzzlers might disagree with me. Now, it does look more like a toy than an actual puzzle, but the mechanism was left intact, as only the colors have changed.
Speaking of colors, the new puzzle is quite colored. I see why the choice of a revamped design, because it does draw more attention. I see blue, yellow, purple, white, red and black. While it seems like an exaggeration, the colors blend very well together. The size is relatively small, with measurements of 17 x 4cm (6.7" x 1.6"). Feels light in the hands, but the mechanism works surprisingly well.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Scrambled|
The goal of the Tri-Trick is very simple: from a scrambled arrangement, you have to place all nine digits in sequential order. The puzzle comes in the correct arrangement already, so you have to scramble it first before attempting to solve it.
So how does the puzzle work? A slider, containing nine digits from 1 to 9, moves horizontally, and another one is perpendicularly positioned, moving up and down by carrying three adjacent digits at a time. You solve the puzzle by exchanging any group of three tiles with another. This would be too easy, however, if it weren't for the blank tile which has a three-digit length.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Showing the Blank Tile|
There are three levels of difficulty. The first level is the easiest, with over 360.000 combinations, and you play with all nine digits. As you get more confident, you can try level 2 by leaving the digit 9 in place and move the other eight only. The third and hardest level, with about 5.000 combinations, uses only seven digits by leaving the 9 and 8 in place.
I can only imagine, for now, how difficult the other levels must be, since I've spent more than half an hour just to solve level 1. The tricky part is when you have half of the numbers in the correct order and you need to reorder the other half. You'll have to think your moves ahead, or you might end up scrambling the already correct placed digits. I've had the puzzle for a few days now, but I still don't have a very good strategy to solve the puzzle. I'll only try the other levels when I feel confident I can solve level 1 without any problems, but so far I'm liking it very much.
The Tri-Trick was a very pleasant surprise. The design is colorful and practical, and it definitely provides a good level of challenge. There are similar concepts around, but this one is different enough that's worth a try.
Availability: You can purchase the Tri-Trick directly from Hidden One Design's website for $10 USD. You can also download the Tri-Trick app for just $1 USD.