May 6, 2015

Cast Donuts

Designed by Vesa Timonen, who is also the designer of "Cast Cylinder", which I have already reviewed here, "Cast Donuts" is one beautiful, original and unique puzzle! As its description says:
Cast Donuts has beautifully shaped rings that look like 2 donuts intertwined together.
Try solving the puzzle by imagining the inner structure and using each of the rings' division lines as a hint.  You will be pleasantly surprised by the unique movements needed to separate the rings. This puzzle is a masterpiece in design and concept. 

I could not disagree at all. The first time I saw this puzzle in real, I thought it was so small. Surely by looking at the image only, be it online or somewhere else, one cannot get a full idea of the puzzle. Not until they have it in their hands. Well, I imagined this one a bit different, but when I saw it on a stand in a bookshop, I was amazed for the second time (the first being when seeing it online when it was published in 2012). Then, I had no doubts - I should have this marvelous piece of art.
As per Hanayama's rating, "Cast Donuts" is level 4 out of 6. Its difficulty is 2, while its design and inspiration index* is 5, which gives this average of 4. My personal ratings in these are the same:
Idea: 5
Implementation: 5
Difficulty: 2
Which leaves the experience. Having the freedom to implement the solution in your way makes "Cast Donuts" very pleasant and fun, achievable and solvable by anyone. I mean that there are some steps which are needed to do the solution, but it is not mandatory to do them in any particular order or way. It is not like "Cast Quartet" or "Cast Vortex" for example, which are very precise and strict in the way the solution is done. This makes the puzzle suitable both for beginners and advanced puzzlers.

What I like most about the puzzle is namely the assembled version of it. It is very appealing and attractive. And the material is great - that black color which is present only on a few Hanayama puzzles is my most favourite. I think all 5 puzzles, which have it so far, are among my most favourite Cast puzzles (if not all in Top 10, then maybe in Top 20). I wish there were more great puzzles with this color/material.
The rest of my ratings for "Cast Donuts" are:
Experience: 4
Overall: 4

* Hanayama assess puzzles in these two indexes and gives one average level based on them

May 1, 2015

Deja Vu

"Deja Vu" is an "open-the-box" puzzle. It is indeed like a box - inside there is small space between the two pieces, where you can store something not to be visible. Opening this box is very fast, but requires a lot of knowledge to do. Of course, don't keep the most valuable thing you have in there, because a thief could come up with the idea of checking it and ruining the puzzle for you in search of the hidden.  Or they might even know how to solve this puzzle.
When I solved it the first time, I got a "deja vu". It means I already had a similar puzzle before it and solving this was like encountering that concept inside again. I think it fulfilled its purpose for me being a "Deja Vu". And yes - a small hint for those interested - I have already made a review of the other puzzle in my blog.
To be honest, I like "Deja Vu" more than the other puzzle I have, which represents the same idea. And it is not because it is more intuitive or easy, but because when you solve it, you are able to see with your bare eyes how and why the solution works. Then you will be amazed by the idea and certainly will remember it for good. With this, I am not referring only to the hidden trick inside for opening, but also for the way the two pieces could be separated once the first half of the solution is applied. Yes, you might come up with the idea for the second part of the solution without even knowing what the first should be.
What I got to know also about this puzzle is the fact that there are other puzzles like this, with the same outer shape of the two pieces, but different colors. I can't tell if the inside is the same, or even the solution, as I don't own the others, but if they were different, I would definitely try some of the rest. Some are known as "Dovetail", I suppose because of the shape of the middle of each side of the two pieces - they look like bird tails. And they seem to make the two pieces impossible to pull aside, although they must have been pushed together somehow. I will leave this up to you.
Finally, here are my ratings:
Idea: 6
Implementation: 3 (in general, the wood seems pretty basic and I think no special instruments or measures were needed to make this one)
Experience: 4
Difficulty: 4 (it is rated by PuzzleMaster only at level 7 from 6 to 10, which I think is low)
Overall: 4.25
You can get "Deja Vu" from PuzzleMaster. Check it here.