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Back in January of this year, I reviewed the first creation of aspiring puzzle designer Splinter Spierenburgh, the MazeRoll, and was very impressed by the overall quality and design of the puzzle. The concept was highly original and had the bonus of having hundreds of different mazes to solve. It was also entered in this year's IPP Design Competition, and while it didn't receive any awards, it was still a breath of fresh air for the puzzle community, to see new concepts like these getting the attention they deserve.
For the obvious reasons stated above, I was rather excited when I received my second puzzle from Splinter, the Burgh Lock, after months of tease by pictures only. Would this new puzzle be able to surpass its predecessor? Would it be easier or harder to solve? I had all these kinds of questions, and being a big fan of Trick Locks, with seven of them already reviewed here on my blog, you can easily understand my enthusiasm.
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Just like the MazeRoll, the Burgh Lock is 3D-printed from Shapeways in nylon plastic and dyed and assembled at MFAVE. The surface is rugged, and with continued use the orange color might wear off a little. It's slightly bigger than the locks I've tried so far, but not by much, measuring about 9.5 x 4.3 x 3.3cm (3.7" x 1.7" x 1.3"). It also has a different shape from what I'm used to see in other similar puzzles, more bulkier. It's clearly a sign that there's many things happening inside that hidden mechanism, so don't expect to encounter an easy puzzle, on the contrary. There's also a few red-herrings along the way to make your task just a tad bit harder.
The Burgh Lock has quite a few original characteristics that are new to me in this type of puzzles. For starters, how many Trick Locks do you know that come with two keys? No, not identical keys, distinct keys. And, if that wasn't enough already, you also have two keyholes slightly different from each other. One key for each keyhole... Seems logical, no? Well, not quite simple as black and white, but you'll understand once you finally solve it. To make things even more complex, one of the keyholes has a rotating disk, and both keyholes can be turned a good 80º in the same direction, at the same time. Too many things to worry about as you try to discover the secret to unlock the puzzle.
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One of the things I was worried about, though, was how fragile the lock appeared. Every lock I have tried so far was made of metal, so there's not much you can do to easily break them. However, the fact that the Burgh Lock was made in plastic, had me worried thinking I was going to break something before I was even able to solve it. After treading carefully in the solving process for about half an hour, my mind was put at ease when I finally saw the mechanism and knew that that was nothing to be afraid of. Yes, you do need a little bit of pressure to open it, but nothing that will come close to breaking it.
The solution to open the lock is in my opinion, a stroke of genius, and it will certainly break a smile on you. That a-ha moment is surely reward enough, but seeing how the mechanism works is mind-blowing. There are two solutions slightly different from each other, but both end up with the same effect. How you reach the solution is entirely up to you, but I would be curious to know which method you used to unlock yours. Your thoughts on the puzzle itself will also be important for the designer to further improve his creations.
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So, how does the Burgh Lock compare to the MazeRoll, the first design by Splinter? It's very hard to answer one or another, actually. I loved both, but they are two completely different puzzles and it would be unfair to choose one over the other. As far as difficulty goes, however, the Burgh Lock is definitely much harder and complex than the MazeRoll. If you crave for challenging puzzles, Splinter's Trick Lock is the way to go. Now, I'm not an authority on Trick Locks to make a statement on whether the Burgh Lock is one of the best puzzles of this category out there, but I can say with the utmost certainty that it was the best Trick Lock I've had the pleasure to solve so far. If I had to recommend a Trick Lock, this one would be my top choice.
If Splinter is this good with just his second design, I reckon we will be hearing a lot about him in the near future. I can't wait to see what he has in store for his next project.
Availability: The Burgh Lock is available from MFAVE in The Netherlands for about €75. Your puzzle will arrive fully assembled and dyed, ready to be played.