The exploration of a junior puzzler in this vast puzzle world!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Houdini's Torture Cell puzzle

Puzzle: Houdini's Torture Cell
Brand: MrPuzzle
Designer: Brian Young
ST: ~30 m

Opening Bat
Back in December 2010, 50 copies of a limited edition puzzle called the Opening Bat was released. It is a mammoth sequential discovery puzzle that, according to Brian's own words, "As far as sequential discovery puzzles go this one's on steroids!" Taking ten years to design. The Opening Bat is a gigantic puzzle with "multiple puzzles in one", and has just everything to win it countless awards. I regret to this day having not brought it while I still have the money. It is one of the best puzzles ever made/designed. Being such a puzzle king it's not going to come out cheap, and with only 50 copies many puzzler missed out on the fun. Brian received amazing feedbacks for this puzzle- 

"...this is an awesome puzzle!...As far as sequential discovery puzzles go, this one will be hard to top!" - Brian Pletcher

"the One to Rule Them All...definitely a very cool puzzle...much more elaborate than any sequential discovery puzzle I’ve seen" - Jeff

"Brian has done a great job and there's clearly a lot of time and care went into the puzzle. Hat's off to you sir, it's a great puzzle!" - Neil Hutchison

"an Opening Bat is never going to disappear in among a collection of puzzles – it is going to stand out...Brian Young, you ought to be proud of this, very proud!" - Allard Walker

Well, Brian felt that it's too good an idea for just an limited edition and remakes the last part. And here the Houdini's Torture Cell is born!

Houdini's Torture Cell
With the sob-story of missing out the Bat still in my mind, I was keen to not miss the Torture Cell when it came out-and the result of that is having it sitting on my desk right now. The puzzle was sold out literally days after I've brought it-Phew!

Houdini's Torture Cell is a sequential discovery puzzle just like it's older brother, where you'll have to follow a number of steps in order, and all you need to solve the puzzle (tools) is contained within the puzzle itself. It was themed around Houdini's Water Chamber-whereas the wooden peg represents poor Houdini hanging upside-down in the water chamber (a.k.a Torture Cell), and your job is to rescue the great escape artist from it's fate.

Now, as I said previously, the puzzle was a remade of a part of the Opening Bat-but Brian has made modifications to it that made it a much easier puzzle by using acrylic. Being able to see what's going on lowered the difficulty of the puzzle-but hasn't lowered it's rating. Actually, many puzzlers reviewed the puzzle as one of their favorites!
So why is that? I say that it's a fun puzzle to fiddle with, you're aware of progress and little A-HA moments-And finally you make that last step and Houdini is out! All that and the clever mechanism made it a very good puzzle.

A not-so-good looking
Houdini out of his chamber
So upon receiving the puzzle you see Houdini and a ball bearing in the Cell, and a stand beneath it. I've been giving this to lots of people and the first thing they wanted to do is always wanting to get that ball up that stand-Hilarious-(Believe me, you're NEVER going to get it sitting there by dexterity alone!)-Than finally getting Houdini out with a satisfying motion. I wasn't known to be much of a experienced puzzler-and although made the right discovery did not use it the right way! It took me a LONG time to figure out what was to be done. Sadly the step can be easily flunked with random shakings-It is not the solution! The real motion is much more elegant. Finally after spending half an hour at this puzzle I got him out-Sense of achievement!

A fun puzzle to fiddle with, MOST people finds the solution pretty quickly and the solve was rewarding. At the time it was already sold out but if you ever come across one of those it's definitely worth a go.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast Cage

Puzzle: Cast Cage
Brand: Hanayama
Inventor: NOB Yoshigahara
ST: ~15 m

Cast Cage
This is the Cast Cage from Hanayama, rated level 3 on their scale of 6. Having black and gold as the color choice, it has a unique appearance. This puzzle was similar in concept to those "free the..." puzzles, such as this one, but also had it's own different features. A dark cage, with openings on four sides, imprisons a star, and your goal was, of course, to rescue it. The star's legs has different lengths, and the openings were also different shapes. Only one was (supposed to be) the correct exit, and you'll need to find both the correct opening as well as the series of movements of the star in order to take it out.

Star out of it's prison
After a few tries I quickly deduced where the opening should be and after some fiddling the star was out! Putting it back I tried to do the solution again to make sure I remember it, and showed it to a friend who was at the time with me. He was also able to have done it pretty quickly- but had it out on a different side! Thinking he's broken the puzzle a panicked Will took the puzzle back only to find that there's not just one solution... There was three! I don't know if it was a defective on my puzzle or a general problem, but with the design that's a little inconsistency. Somewhat similar to my experience with the Cast H&H-It is not too big a problem but does let down the overall rating of the puzzle.

Despite that the Cage was another good cage-type puzzle to fiddle with, and I say with Hanayamas the more the better! And as usual, the link to the shop.