Posted on Oct 7, 2014 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
A few weeks ago I reviewed the Ladybird puzzle by Robrecht Louage and Michel van Ipenburg, a perfect collaboration between two respected puzzlers that resulted in a series of pretty interesting designs. Today I present you another one of those puzzles, the Larva.

The Larva follows the same principle as the Ladybird, except this time you have two sets of metal studs that you need to guide through two independent mazes instead of two overlapping ones. The two mazes are slightly different from each other, but both sets of studs need to get to the end of each maze at the same time. You move along each maze by pushing or pulling on the two vertical bars, while sliding the mazes horizontally. It's as simple as that.

The materials used in this puzzle are basically the same as well, with trespa and acrylic. This one is a little smaller, however. The acrylic frame measures 8cm x 8.5cm (3.1" x 3.3"), but the mazes extend beyond the length of the frame, both measuring 14.5cm (5.7").

(Click to Enlarge) - Left: Start Position; Right: Solved

The design of the Larva is less flashy than the Ladybird's, but that doesn't mean it's less fun. I like both design approaches. While they try to differentiate the two designs by having the mazes in a different configuration, the concept is intrinsically the same. Personally, I don't see this as a bad thing, because I liked the challenge the two of them offered. However, if you didn't like one of them, chances are the other won't make you change your mind either.

This time, to remove the coin you only need to slide one of the mazes out of the way, except they're both bound by the moves of each other. The studs follow an intuitive path for most of the time but, like the Ladybird, when you get closer to the end there's a sort of dead end where it seems you can't move either maze any more. You just need to backtrack a little to make a slight adjustment and you should be fine afterwards. Resetting the puzzle is a lot easier, fortunately...

(Click to Enlarge) - The Coin Puzzle Family
Closing Comments:

In my opinion, the Ladybird is a better design overall, but I wouldn't discard the Larva. Each puzzle has its own unique characteristics and, speaking as a collector, I would always recommend the two. You can never have too much maze puzzles...

Availability: These puzzles were made in limited quatities, so you should act quickly if you want one of these. Note also that there are two other designs by these two designers, so if you really like this type of puzzles I would urge you to get them all before they become out of stock. You can contact Robrecht at "rlouage(at)telenet(dot)be" or you can get in touch with Michel (if you don't have his contact, drop me an e-mail).


Kevin said...

I only have a prototype but it's great! Thi and the Ladybird share almost identical solutions but the different morphology makes them feel different - definitely worth owning as a pair!


Gabriel said...

You're absolutely right. That was my assumption with these two recent ones. Although they share a lot of similarities they're still unique in their own way. And they're not as frustrating as a Kugellager :P

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