Friday, 5 August 2022

SSSP & Valve puzzles

Quick review of 2 hanayama puzzles


SSSP Emblem Shooting Star

It's basically the same kind of puzzle that another existing puzzle in the hanayama series: cast diamond. But in a different shape. It's also a bit more expensive. I don't know if this (and the other in this special series) was released for a specific event. 

Personally I like the design a lot and for sure I love the solution. For a true collector, both cast diamond and SSSP are needed. For a newbie, only cast diamonde will be "mandatory" :)



Note that this puzzle is sold out at Puzzle Master webshop. But I still put the link of it. So check from time to time if there is stock again!


Cast Valve

Cast valve has a nice shape and it's very pleasant to play with it. Push, pull, turn the pieces to solve it. I managed to solve it blindly, and I am quite sure many of you will not completely understand how it works.

It's designed by Vesa Timonen who is famous for having designed many cast puzzles!

I have a mixed feeling about this puzzle: for sure it looks beautiful and it's pleasant to play with it. However I solved it by luck without by real analysis (even if I deduced that there must be some groves to be aligned, etc.).

Putting back together is way more difficult. I managed to find solution, but it was not easy at all. I wished that the outside part of the puzzle (not the silver core but the golden part) had some writtings on it so that we could better see which side we have to align with which part of the silver piece. Else this is very difficult to follow the explanations. 

So a nice puzzle, but definitely not my favourite one !


Thursday, 14 July 2022

Some more 3D printed puzzles !!

Here are the latest 2 puzzles by Creative Workshop, a Canadian company specialized in 3D printed puzzles. I review several of their puzzles, have a look :)


So here comes the Arcturus, a spherical puzzle with many tiny bits inside. Not really a surprise from these puzzle makers!

The goal is to open to puzzle and yes, you have to open both halves....not yet a surprise. On Puzzle Master webshop, a guy wrote a comment stating he solve the puzzle in 2 minutes. This is not possible, even with luck. Basically I think I had luck when I managed to opened the puzzle because even if you can try to deduce some things through the small openings, you cannot see all the traps and locks. So yes basically I think a bit of luck is involved. Well, I must admit a more logical solution will be applied for the most seasoned of my viewers ! :)

I think this is a clever puzzle (and a big fidget toy if you cannot open it). No new mechanism but a clever way of using ball bearings. It may keep you busy for a while. Before closing the ball, just study carefully the locks, not only to reassemble in the correct way the puzzle, but also to manage to open it again later on.




The second puzzle is called Traffic Light



This is more a sequencial discovery puzzle as you will find tools to use. The puzzle is pretty big, well bigger than I imagined !

The goal is to take out the 3 lights and open the box. You can open the box only after taking out the lights.

There are pins and magnets. You know what you have to do when it's about pins and magnets? Well then you should manage to solve some steps. The 3 lights don't open the same way, and the difficulty is increasing. Don't loose your tiny bits you will get, they may be helpful somehow somewhere. 

This is a challenging puzzle and I see well how people will be puzzled with it. The use of the tools is clever, and this is why I like this puzzle.

This is the only SD puzzles among the other puzzles from Creative Workshop. So whether you like SD puzzles and/or their puzzles, don't hesitate and go for it ! :)


Monday, 11 July 2022

Nice little puzzles

Here is a quick post with a selection of puzzles for high puzzling value and low price.

Yeah you asked for it, now you get it !


Labyrinth

 


A nice puzzle made by Jean-Claude Constantin. The goal is to free the ball bearing. Easy? At a first glance, yes. When looking more carefully...not that much. Because you need to take into account several parameters: the top plate rotates and there are several hidden paths.

The quality is awsome, so I don't have much negative things to say. Suitable for children and for seasoned puzzlers. If you're completely lost and want to start from the beginning, just unscrew the screw, open the puzzle, free the ball and play again!



Crazy crescents

This is not a puzzle but more a toy and the goal is to make different shapes. I like a lot the screwing process. It's fun and can be considered as a fidget toy. And it's colorful !!



Rubix's cube secret box

Well the correct name is: Oskar's treasure chest, but the idea is that you have a box in the shape of a rubix cube. And this is clearly a rubix'scube that you solved with the existing algorithms of the rubix's cube.

I need to tell you it's not a professional rubix's cube so you cannot perform the "corner cuttings".



Valentine puzzle


A nice plexi puzzle with several challenges created by Russian designer Vladimir Krasnoukhov.

Task 1: Using all five elements of the set, make different silhouettes as pictured in the instructions.  Elements can be flipped and turned, but they must not overlap.  You can make more than 100 different symmetrical polygons with different number of angles.  The hardest one to make seems to be a polygon with 13 angles.

Task 2: Using all five elements of the set, make two congruent shapes simultaneously (ie. equal in form and size).  There are 2 solutions.

Task 3: Prove that using this set of elements one can tile an infinite plane.


I think this is a fun puzzle because you can being entertained for several hours. You don't get only one puzzle, but many!

I think there is one missing challenge (easy): put all the pieces in the tray



Perplexus


Well known game: many traps, many path. You need dexterity, patience and nerves to solve it. Don't be in a hurry to move slowly the ball from start to end!



You can find the puzzles on Puzzle Master webshop (click on the name and there will be a link that put you direcly to the puzzles

Labyrinth

Perplexus

Rubix's cube secret box

Valentine's puzzle

Crazy crescents




Monday, 4 July 2022

Nice little puzzles by Doug Engel

Doug Engel is a prolific puzzle designer. He has an etsy shop where he sells his designs made out of 3D printers. Note that he made one metal puzzle and this should be a limited edition, so grab one while you can :)


Atome 

The easiest in the series. It's looking great and display well. Not super difficult. A nice warm-up. Don't forget that usually disassembling a puzzle is easier than reassembling it. So keep track of what you do.... :)

 

Saturn puzzle

No need to explain the name I guess :)

The goal is to seperate the pieces. A nice fidget toy as well as a puzzle. Not super difficult but rewarding. In my opinion, this would make a nice level 1 or 2 hanayama puzzle. Hope the designer thought about asking Hanayama to produce it !



Now more challenging: Six Circles

Way easier to disassemble than reassemling as reassembling ca be pretty much confusing with all those circles. Note that the solution is displayed for this puzzle on the product page, so don't be tempted to look at it !





Finally: the Borromean Cage

Tricky as there are many moving parts. The goal is to free the 4 star constellation inside.

Note that the solution is displayed for this puzzle on the product page, so don't be tempted to look at it !


Many of these puzzles were presented at past IPP. Even if they did not get a prize, they are preatty unique in their respective type and for the  soft price tag, I can only recommend to have a go !

Very suitable for beginners as well as for seasoned puzzlers.


If the links on my post don't work well, you can search on etsy: Puzzleatomik

And normally you should find easily the shop.... plenty of puzzles to buy !!!



Tuesday, 7 June 2022

The most difficult 3D packing puzzles on earth !

The title means it, it's no joke, wait and see !!


These puzzles are designed by No Problem puzzle "company", basically a group of 2 people (sorry I don't remember the names and they are hard to write, sorry guys!). 

Their packing puzzles have rotations and many tricks and despite their simple look are extremely hard.


Turn Them In

The goal is to pack the pieces inside and close the box. The thing is that if you do it the way below, you won't be able to close the lid because of the corners forned by the cube.

Obviously you will need to make some space, enough so you can turn a piece inside the hole. Ok, sound obscure, but you will see what I mean when you play with the puzzle. I would say this is the easiest of the puzzles in this post!





Naaidoos

Only 3 pieces.... sounds easy?? Not way. Probably the most difficult one! You need to rotate the pieces inside using the finger holes and sliding the two parts of the box. Difficult and the tolerances are small and tight.

Quadrille

A challenging puzzle with several difficulties: the obstacle (the rod), but the holes created and top and bottom. You need a bit of dexterity to keep the pieces stable. 



Toogle Box

Challenging without being frustrating, toogle box is a nice puzzle. The obtacle is not my favourite one, but it does the job to annoy you :)



Push-Pull

A very difficult puzzle! You will need to use your brain and do something new that you've not tried with the other puzzles from the same series. Yes, something new!




To conclude: for sure you will have a lot of fun for your money. There are very innovative, very well designed and made. And for sure, they are not the usual packing puzzles you're used to. 

So you know what to do for some challenged! :)



You can buy them on Puzzle Master website:

Turn them In

Naaidoos

Quadrille

Toogle Box

Push-Pull




Monday, 30 May 2022

369 SD puzzle box

 369 puzzle box is a 3D-printed puzzle designed by CreativeWorkshopCA.

I already review Eye of Horus, the Tiger and the Cryptex. But 369 puzzle box may be my favourite one.

It's a sequencial discovery with several tools you need to use to make some progress during your puzzling journey :)

You should discover some tools are the very beginning but you may be soon confused with how you should use them. That's not that obvious, but you need to experiment even if you think this is a stupid idea.

At some point I was blocked and I really wondered what to do. Basically the puzzle needed a bit of shaking (not necessary normally) because the official solution proved to me that I was right withmy ideas and that it should be opened. But again the puzzle does not need any force nor tapping. A slight shacking won't damage anything though and may be a bit useful.


It's not a big puzzle but still have many things inside its body and this is what I like. You don't need to have a big puzzle to have many things going on inside. And usually the biggest puzzles don't have (proportionnaly speaking) so many things inside.


I do recommend it at 200%. You will have a nice challenge with a satisfying solution for pretty cheap and for a top quality !!


You can buy it on ETSY


Sunday, 22 May 2022

Many cast puzzles in a row !

In this post, I will quickly review some cats puzzles by Hanayama. Many of them are not that difficult, but all are enjoyable !


The seemingly easy puzzle that will puzzle you for some time. As with this kind of puzzle, I am sure you will be able to solve it, forget how you did, then solved it again....process should be this for some time.
A perfect puzzle to torture a beginner and to challenge an experienced puzzler!


It's an interested maze-like puzzle. Well it's not a maze in the proper sense of the word. But it's a path-finding as you will move one key on the path of the other, with different kind of moves. I feel this is a must-have in any cast puzzle collector. I mean it !


Long time ago it was rated as 4 and now it's 5/6. I pretty mcuh agree with 5/6 rating.
The goal is to separate the 4 parts of the puzzle: there are 2 part for the ball and 2 parts for its cage.
And to do so, you will have to find the perfect alignment. The disassembly move is very satisfying and unexpected!
This is a perfect level 5: it's challenging, but you should be able to reasemble it easily and quickly if you remember the trick. It's not going to take forever like it ca with some level 5/6 cast puzzle.
Go for it !!

 
This embodies the perfect level 1 cast puzzle with very clever twist moves. I am sure you will love it.


This gorgeous looking puzzle is not that difficult bt still interesting: you need to navigate the music notes along each other. Personally I think the link is more interesting than the solving process, but the solve is still nice.

 
One of my favourite puzzle. The 2 halves go together is a loving twist move. It will need you some thinking on how to approach the puzzle. And once solved, you will want to solve it again and again like a fidget toy :)

 
A very weird looking puzzle composed of 3 parts, all of them dancing like a fidget toy. You will understand once you've played with it. I would say the most original cast puzzle from this post. For only this reason you have to buy it. Of course, the solve is nice!


Cast Diamond, Cast Key II, Cast Marble, Cast Loop, Cast Harmony, Cast Love and Cast Slider can all be bought from Puzzle Master webshop.


Note that Puzzle Master also sells sets of puzzles for discounted price! The best way to start of complete your cast puzzle collection for a reduced price!

A set of 58 Hanayama puzzles

A set of 33 puzzles with level 4-6

A set of  23 puzzles with level 1-3


Sunday, 1 May 2022

More chess pieces

I already reviewed a chess piece by Hanayama in a previous post and this time I will review all the other ones from the same series.

All these puzzles were initially designed and made by Marcel Gillen long time ago and since then mass-produced by several companies.



The mechanism are somewhat a little bit different from the original pieces in the way that the original pieces were a bit more difficult. Resulting in these recent ones being pretty easy. But it depends on the experience you have with solving puzzles!

 

The knight is the easiest one in the series and should not take you that long. A nice starter for the whole series.


Let's continue with the rook: a nice one with another trick. I like the design of it with the star on the top!


What about the pawn? In my opinion, this is the best in the series. I like the implementation of the tricks, pretty clever!


The queen is a bit like the king (well they love each other, don't they?) in the solving process. Does not mean the same ;)

And to finish: the bishop. It gave me a bit of difficulties. I would rate it the most difficult in the series. The solving process is satisfying. Don't break his head :)

In my opinion, the mass-produced version are an affordable way of playing with these very famous puzzles. I do recommend them if you're a metal puzzle lover or an hanayama puzzle collector.

If you're really looking for challenging puzzles, then they may not be your cup of tea: they are rather easy.


You can find them on Puzzle Master webshop and if you buy the bundle with all the pieces, it's cheaper.

Don't get fooled by the color: black, silver, gold or any possible color it does not matter. The solving process is the same!

Friday, 15 April 2022

Hanayama - chess piece KING

From the Hanayama series, there are not only the cast puzzles, but also the series of the chess pieces.

Basically all the pieces on a usual chess board !

So let's talk about the King.



First thing to notice: the packaging is awsome and give justice to the beauty of the puzzle itself.

Second thing: the quality is super nice, but you knwo that you cannot go wrong with Hanayama. The precision is perfect and I have never had any issues so far with their puzzles.


Now the solving process: it's definitely not the hardest hanayama puzzle: it's rated as 3/6. I would pretty much agree or maybe a 2/6 is you're seasoned with other chess pieces in the series.

The mechanism is clever and should puzzle your friends for some time until they solve the puzzle and get their reward (a small little coin inside).

The chess pieces exist in several color but the solution is the same. So the color does not matter but it would be better to collect the pieces in the same color :)


You can buy the puzzle on Puzzle Master webshop!


Monday, 11 April 2022

Cast Dice

Cast Dice is an Hanayama puzzle with a nice looking design and designed by Timothy Collins. It changes from the usual designers of cast puzzle (Oskar and Vesa) :)

It is composed of a cage (but it's not a hedgehog style puzzle) and 3 pieces that go in the 3 possible directions of a dice. It's rated with a 3/6 difficulty. For some reasons I disagree a bit, let's see.

It did not take me super long to solve, but it was mainly with fiddling and without real understanding nor applying any logic to the puzzle. And BAM it came apart and I solved the puzzle. Ok fine!

Normally you usually solve a level 1/6 puzzle with luck 'and not with all), so I would give it a 1/6.

Reassembling is also fiddling with the puzzle and BAM it reassembled !!!

Well that was pretty much the scenario how it happened with me. Reassemling the puzzle is somewhat a bit more difficult.

For theses reasons some people may not like it and I could understand. But I am a metal lover and cast puzzle collectors and well it thought this was a cute puzzle and a nice fidget toy. So for sure it's definitely not my favourite hanayama puzzles, but I don't hate it!

And yes, I still advise you to buy it !! :)


You can find Cast Dice on Puzzle Master webshop


Thursday, 24 March 2022

Cryptex Cylinder Puzzle Box

For the 3rd review of a puzzle designed and produced by CreativeWorkshopCA, I am going to review the Cryptex Cylinder Puzzle box, also known as the Newton puzzle.

And this is clearly way more challenging than Horus and Tiger !! You're warned!


The puzzle is bigger and has 3 moving parts and again some ball bearings. Some writings surround the puzzle.

Just to be clear: it's not really a cryptex puzzle: you don't have to solve any riddles or anything like that. The name of the puzzle (Newton) can give you a hint (that I was only aware after reading the official solution....meaning: it's not so that useful to solve the puzzle).

 


 

By moving the different part of the puzzle you will see that there are some holes on the core of the puzzle and probably you will have to make the lin between these holes and the ball bearings...

Again, I had an idea on how to solve the puzzle, but it was more challenging to implement the idea than expected.

Be prepared to see some ball bearings disappear and then appear again somewhere else for a reason that you might not fully understand :)

The main difficulty with this puzzle is that you cannot see what you're doing (that would be ok with a small puzzle though) and there are many things involved. At some point a lid can be blocked, but you might not understand why.



I advise also to pull the lid and probabl you have solved the puzzle without noticing it.

At some point, I manage to pull the lid and I was like "finally solved!" but the lid did not fully come apart and so I did not have solve the puzzle :-(

It's after some time that I completely solve the puzzle!

Obviously I did not follow the steps as in the official solution, I guess the correct solving process is not super easy.

I like the puzzle, but maybe a bit too challenging (or frustrating) for me.

But again, I advise it!

About the screws: they are not part of the puzzle. Unscrewing them allow you to reset the puzzle easier. But of course, if you admit defeat then you can unscrew them and check the mechanism.


The puzzle is available: HERE


Monday, 14 March 2022

Eye of Horus - Cryptex Cylinder Puzzle Box

Eyes of Horus is the second puzzle box, along with Tiger, produced by CreativeWorkshopCA, with the same difficulty.

I don't know which of the 2 is more challenging...maybe this one (basically I don't set a timer to see if I am good at a puzzle or not, so....)

Both Tiger and Horus share some characteristics: very well made with 3D printers and things ratling inside.


I roughly had an idea how I could solve the puzzle and it turned out to be the right idea.

Horus has a second lid on the top of a first lid, it moves, but is it useful?....you will have to figure out!

When I played with the puzzle, sometimes the lid was stucked, sometimes it moved freely. Blocking the lid can help you doing some things, but (and this is not a spoiler!) if the lid cannot move then you cannot open the puzzle.

Contrary to Tiger, for horus you have a small hole on the oustide of the puzzle, from where you will see a ball bearing appearing and then disappearing. It is helpful !

For that reason, I think I prefer Horus than Tiger, despite both of them being super cool ! 

 

And again, for the quality, solving process and price, I can only recommend to buy them :)

You can buy Horus on Puzzle Master webshop !


Thursday, 10 March 2022

The Tiger - Cryptex Cylinder Puzzle Box

I will review all the puzzles from this etsy shop, starting with the easiest one (or one of the easiest): the tiger.

The name of the puzzle comes from the nice tiger pattern on the top of the lid.

Tiger is designed and produced by CreativeWorkshopCA.

All their puzzles are 3D-printed with a high quality level. 



At a first glance, it looks very nice and when you hold it and shake it a bit, you can hear some ball bearings rattlings....maybe you can try to guess the mechanism already?

Basically the mechanism used is not something completely new to me as I already have a puzzle that shares the same mechanism more or less. I won't tell you which though :)

The main challenge with Tiger is that you cannot see what you're doing, you can only rely on the noise of the puzzle. It did not take me too much time to solve but it was quite a challenge. And it's satisfying to solve. Not difficult to reassemble!

It's the perfect puzzle to torture a beginner and to challenge a seasoned puzzler. And for the cheap price you know that you cannot go wrong with it :)


You can buy the puzzle on Puzzle Master website:)

 

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Sachiko

Sachiko is a nice puzzle designed by a Frédéric Boucher, know for his packing puzzles that have a little something special, and this one is not an exception to the rule !


This is indeed a packing puzzles with several nice little things: the shape of the pieces and the shape of the tray with its several holes. Usually when there are holes in the tray it's to manipulate the pieces more easily....only that?



My usual technique when you have obstructions with the tray: you try solving the puzzles outside the tray first. I thought that would be pretty easy to assembling directly the pieces inside the tray, and soon I realized I should proceed as usually: outside of the tray !


It did not take me that long and I must admit the the solution is satisfaying. I liked to repeat again and again the last step. And you must understand why if you've solved the puzzle already :)


For sure, this is a must-have if you like packing puzzles that are not packing puzzles and if you like Fred Boucher's designs.


You can buy the puzzle on Puzzle Master webshop!


Saturday, 26 February 2022

The aMAZEing Lego PuzzleBox

....and I will explain you why it's amazing!


This puzzle is made entirely out of lego bricks, designed and made by QuizBrix

According to the description, it's a level 7 sequencial discovery puzzlebox. I am very curious as this is my first lego puzzle box.

 




It's a general trend in the puzzle world that puzzles are made out of different meterials than metal and wood. More and more puzzles are made with 3D printers and same comment regarding lego bricks.

I was pretty intrigued how you could make a puzzle with lego, espacially a sequencial discovery one, and even more that it's not fragile!

My fear was that you could disassembled pieces that should come together and then messed up the puzzle...

But this puzzle did not disappoint me !!


First of all, the design is nice and looks simple. It's not massive and seems to have several kind of bricks. I noticed many transparent one. Probably to help you?....


As for the puzzling aspect, it's really wonderful. You have several tools that you will have to use and I found one tool that I could not use properly to progress on my puzzle journey. I was even not sure if it was a tool or a red hearing, and I won't say more in order not to spoil you :)

Honestly the satisfaying sequence of moves, the tool and the reward are worth the small price of this puzzlebox.

Trust me: it's a CLEVER sequencial discovery puzzle !! 

And the good point: if you cannot move a piece; either it's blocked by another piece (and you should figure out that soon!) or you're just not allowed to move that piece. So it's nealry impossible that you break the puzzle....unless you use a hammer.... !!


I wish QuizBrix make some other puzzle in the same spirit.

The level 7 (I assume on a scale of 10) is the appropriate one: it's a challenging puzzle, but not at all impossible. It should puzzle you for some time and when you know how to progresse you should have some "ah-ha" moments !

The name of the puzzle should make you think that you will solve a maze. But it's not the case, there is no real maze. Of course you will have to find your way with some tools, but trust me: no maze to solve!


And the good thing is that you don't really navigate blindly.

You're not completely lost and the puzzle is made so that you cannot lose any tool inside it ! So you really can try all the things that you want as you will always be able to get easily your tools.

Your prize is a QR code with a golden bar. The QR code congrats you and give the steps to resset the puzzle. But you can resset by yourself. You cannot block the puzzle, no worries!


You can buy this wonderful puzzle on QuizBrix webshop


Saturday, 19 February 2022

JP Lock Bronze

JP Lock Bronze is a trick lock designed and made by Jean-Claude Constantin made of plexi, wood (MDF probably) and metal pins.

The funny thing about this puzzle is that you clearly see what you're doing when solving it. There are very few puzzle locks that are transparent. This one and the "open lock" by Gary Foshee are the only 2 that I know. But maybe there are others?

It requires several steps to open, mainly sliding the pieces while trying to not be blocked by the ball bearings.

Honestly this is a way too easy puzzle. It took me few seconds to open and a non experienced puzzler should be able to solve it under a minute or so.  So it may be more suitable for children in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong: this puzzle is nicely crafted, great quality and is pleasant to solve!

But I expect a bit more difficulty. Of course, there are versions of it that are not transparent and I strongly advise not transparent versions for a better challenge, even if I am not super found of navigating blindly during a puzzle journey...

 

You can buy the puzzle on Puzzle Master webshop !

 

Saturday, 12 February 2022

This time you can play with food !

 ....why?

Because the puzzle I am going to review is called Bacon Pancake :)

It's a packing puzzle made with 3D printers and the goal is just to pack all the bacon pieces, easy? No !!!

 

First points to notice: the quality is awsome and the colors are (in my opinion) well chosen.

 


Now what about the puzzling aspect of the puzzle? Basically there is not real trickery in this puzzle, you just need to arrange the pieces in the proper way and with the right orientation so that you don't need any force to solve the puzzle.

I played with it during long time and I could not find the solution...so I cheated! What's wrong with that? 

Sometimes, you need to admit defeat! And the solution is challenging to find, I could not have thought about it...

Ok so I am a bad solver, but wait for the end!

One day (this is pure truth, no invention of any kind) I was watching something on the internet and I played with the puzzle because I feel the pieces are pleasant to touch :)

And guess what I solved the puzzle!!!! But not with the "official" solution. My solution does not need any force and is less complicated.

 

So 2 possibilities: either there are indeed 2 solutions (one being easier than the official one). Or there are some mistakes in the making of the puzzle allowing another solution. I don't know what the correct option is. But if you have the puzzle, I would be happy to know if you found 2 solutions and maybe you can try my solution with your puzzle?


But in any way, this is a nice puzzle that should keep you busy for long time, especially if you don't cheat :)


You can buy the puzzle on Puzzle Master webshop !