Twisted Gem

Posted on by Gabriel | 3 comments
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PuzzleMaster isn't just a large mechanical puzzle retailer. They create and manufacture great puzzles as well, and the Twisted Gem is a very nice example of their superb craftsmanship.

Standing on a base with a smooth black finish and surrounded by eight metal sticks, the seven wooden pieces with contrasting colors complete what seems to look more like a trophy than an actual puzzle. Solving this apparently simple challenge will prove to be a more arduous task than you'd think.

The pieces are comprised of six tetrominoes and one tromino - I actually am not exactly sure if the pieces can still be called polyominoes, since they're not squared anymore - but instead of having a squared shape they were twisted (like the name suggests) on a 30º angle to form a rhombic shape. This subtle change in the overall appearance makes it much harder to visualize how the pieces stack on top of each other and ultimately, how can they fit inside that tiny area again.

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I've had this puzzle almost since the beginning of my collection (2008), and I remember this puzzle was one of the hardest to solve back then. I just couldn't find a way to get all the pieces within the area surrounded by those metal sticks. Many times when I thought I was doing well, there was another stubborn piece sticking out. Determined to be more stubborn than the pieces, I was finally able to solve it after several weeks. Patience paid off...

I tried again to solve it, before writing this review, and after an initial fear of spending another great deal of time with it, I managed to solve it in less than half an hour - Not bad for a level 9 puzzle, according to PuzzleMaster's rating system.

I compared the solution I had with the one provided by PuzzleMaster and I found they're the same one, simply by flipping the entire structure. Although it's not proof that it's the only solution, it does look like there's only one way to stack the pieces in a diamond shape.

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Closing Comments:

The Twisted Gem is one of the prettiest and most elegant puzzles I have from PuzzleMaster. The concept is a breath of fresh air from all the squared-shape puzzles out there and it's a great challenge for anyone looking for a little puzzling frustration.

Availability: The Twisted Gem is available at PuzzleMaster for about $12 CAD - A bargain for this kind of puzzle.


George said...

It's the familiar SOMA puzzle, just twisted!

Gabriel said...

So, am I right to assume that it shares all of Soma's 240 solutions? I did find it much harder to solve than a regular soma cube.

George said...

No ... I would think the squashing invalidates most of the SOMA solutions. I wouldn't be surprised it it had a unique solution (although, of course it can be flipped and/or rotated by 180).

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