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What I like most about sliding puzzles is how versatile this type of puzzles can be. I lost count a long time ago how many different concepts using sliding tiles I currently have in my collection, let alone the ones I know about but don't own yet. Jürgen Reiche from Siebenstein-Spiele is a master at designing these amazing sliding puzzles, and Up & Down, released in 2010, is a great example of his genius.
The design is a little different from the traditional 8-Puzzle, or 9-Puzzle, or 3x3, where the 9 is usually absent, but not always. In this case, the 9 is indeed absent, and instead of the usual single empty slot there's actually two empty slots, one in each side. The frame slides up and down - hence the name - and whenever you push the frame to the top or the bottom you can slide one tile to the available free space. There's a catch, though, since you can only have one tile occupying one slot at a time. Also, when you have one of the side slots occupied you can't move the frame, only the tiles in the middle.
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The goal of the puzzle is to reorder the numbers from 1 to 8 as seen in the photo below. The logic required to solve any slide puzzle is basically the same, no matter how different they may appear. However, even if you know the logic, it can still be quite challenging to solve a sliding puzzle until you know how the mechanism affects the movement of the pieces.
The Up & Down puzzle is rated by the manufacturer as a 7 - the hardest on their scale of 1-7. Honestly, I didn't find the puzzle that challenging. I'd rate it as a 4, tops, since it took me about 5 minutes to solve it. The idea to solve it is to get the first set of numbers (1-3) in their corresponding positions. The rest becomes easier, as you'll only have five tiles to worry about afterwards. I believe it's possible to arrange the tiles in other configurations - like the first three numbers on top - but I haven't tried it yet.
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Up & Down is a nice change from other more traditional designs. It's not as challenging as they put it, but it can still bring you some fun. If you're like me and you're crazy about sliding puzzles, give this one a try and I'm sure you won't regret it.