C'est la Vie!

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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If you like labyrinths, this puzzle is for you. C'est la Vie! by Jean Claude Constantin is a great puzzle where the goal is to find the correct path and free the metal ring. This is much harder than it appears, so you should proceed with caution, in case you get lost.

Made with laser-cut wood, C'est la Vie! is quite a big puzzle, measuring about 13cm in diameter. The designer not only created a challenging labyrinth to navigate, but also a beautiful pattern with curved shapes. Across the entire puzzle you see many indentations in the walls of the pattern, which serve as gateways for the metal ring to go from one section to another. Not all walls have one of these gateways, so you have to plan your moves strategically.

Curiously, this puzzle reminds of the popular Cast Plate by Nob Yoshigahara. Hanayama's version is a lot smaller, but the goal is quite similar, as you try to free a ring from a metal plate. Both puzzles are rather difficult, so I recommend any of them if you like a good challenge.

As you start to solve the puzzle you see the ring in its starting position at the center of the puzzle (Indicated by the letter S). The exit point is located at the left edge of the puzzle, but to get there you'll need to wander for a while, because the path is not a straight line. To get from one point to another you have to be constantly rotating the ring back and forth. Some points will feel a bit tight, as if it wasn't possible to go through there, but if you insist with a slight push the ring will surely pass through. Don't use excessive force, though, because the wood used in this puzzle is fragile and you could end up breaking the puzzle.

This is quite a difficult puzzle to solve. As an experienced puzzler, it took me over half an hour to solve it for the first time. Returning the ring to the starting position is probably a little easier, but still challenging.

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Closing Comments:

C'est la Vie! by Constantin is indeed a great puzzle and a must-have in any collection. It has a complex shape, but it's very easy to understand, so even a beginner can try to solve it. With a big size and a beautiful design this will sure capture anyone's attention wherever you take it.

Availability: The C'est la Vie! puzzle is available at PuzzleMaster for $31.99 CAD. Check out other puzzles by Constantin.


Posted on Feb 4, 2020 by Gabriel | 1 comments
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The Fortress is one of many anodized puzzles by PuzzleMaster's own brand. This time, no special color was used, but it doesn't mean it's less special than the others. This puzzle was designed by Mr. Gong, who also designed the Phantom and Quad L from the anodized collection.

The puzzle is well built from anodized metal, which gives it a shinier and smoother appearance. I've seen some reviews about this puzzle and they seemed a bit harsh. If you really know puzzles, you must know what you're buying. This puzzle is as advertised in terms of quality. I've seen bad Hanayama puzzles myself (e.g. Cast G&G - with scratches aplenty).

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The goal is simple. Take it apart, which won't be difficult, and then reassemble it, which is a much challenging task. The puzzle has three main pieces and a small cylinder hidden inside. This cylinder will make your solving process a bit more tricky as you try to close the pieces while still trying to include the final piece. It's quite an interesting concept.

Solving it was surprisingly not as challenging as I was expecting, and that's maybe one of its flaws. The puzzle is rated as a level 9/10, but it's no more than a 7/10 in my opinion. At first this looks like it could be a coordinated motion puzzle, but the last piece has a different way of assembling, and the pieces are not fitted simultaneously. Other than that, the puzzle is fun to solve, so I would definitely recommend it.

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Closing comments:

Don't expect more than the puzzle can offer, or you will be disappointed. This was maybe what happened to those who reviewed it negatively. It's a fairly moderate challenging puzzle, and it has a nice quality for its price range. Do this and you will certainly have fun with it.

Availability: The Fortress is available at PuzzleMaster for $19.99 CAD. Be sure to check the anodized puzzle collection.

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