Tag: Bepuzzled

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I am really divided with my opinion about Hanayama’s Cast Square. The puzzle looks solid, beautiful, very interesting the first time you take it in your hands. Also, its construction itself is an engineering achievement, which is probably its most impressive feature. However, it takes just a few minutes to play with it until the puzzle gets solved purely by accident. This happens almost every time since the movements needed to reassemble it are very natural. Eventually, it all comes down to what you expect from this toy. If you want a good mind-bending puzzle, you should definitely pass this one. However, if you want to have a pretty toy with intricate design and mind-boggling mechanism inside – go on and get it!

  • difficulty 6/6
  • special trick
  • take apart
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Hanayama’s level 6 puzzles are usually devilishly hard and either require some very intricate manipulations of their pieces or simple, but hard to figure out tricks. The Cast News toy belongs to the second group. It looks surprisingly simple – consists of just two identical pieces, mysteriously connected to each other. Your task is to guess correctly what holds the pieces together and how to split them apart. Even though the original solution is quite tricky, due to the somewhat flawed construction, it is highly possible to disassemble Cast News simply by accident. Putting back together this puzzle does not require any skills and can be done fast. I have to note that Cast News has a compact design and solid built. The toy is very small, even in comparison with other Hanayama puzzles. Even though the visual appearance of Cast News is great, I would recommend that you get instead a larger version of the puzzle, such as The Wooden Cross.

  • difficulty 6/6
  • special trick
  • take apart
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Smart Eggs are maze type puzzles created by the Hungarian inventor Andras Zagyvai. The basic idea is to navigate a plastic stick from the top of an egg to its bottom, pushing, pulling and moving the stick around various holes and tunnels carved in it. The original six 1-layer eggs are extremely simple to solve and targeted towards very young children. There is only one natural path the stick can take and you simply have to follow it. The eggs are also fairly small and look a bit like a toy which comes for free with a box of cereal. The designs however are beautiful and the construction is solid. Despite the low difficulty level and lack of challenge, Smart Eggs are fun to play and fidget with, both for kids and adults. Overall, I am happy with all my 1-layer Smart Eggs and would recommend them to anyone who has young children at home.

  • extremely simple
  • maze type
  • compact, attractive design

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The 2-layer Smart Eggs are the bigger, better, harder version of the original 1-layer Smart Eggs. The goal remains the same – navigate a stick from the top of the egg to its bottom. The collection consists of three Dragon Eggs – blue, red, and black, listed in according to their difficulty level. The first thing which makes impression is the beautiful art – on every egg there are three dragons depicted, no two of them the same. These toys have much higher quality than the original Smart Eggs – they are around twice the size, come with metal sticks, plastic stands, and much more intricate designs. Inside every egg there is a core which can rotate and also slide up and down, creating many possibilities for the stick’s movement. Even though the blue egg is fairly straightforward to solve, the red and the black ones can pose a real challenge. Smart Eggs have high replay value and you will probably find yourself coming regularly back to them. They are fun, smart, and highly recommended puzzles.

  • decent difficulty level
  • labyrinth type
  • great design

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Box is probably my favorite maze type puzzle from Hanayama. It consists of a punctured ring attached to a box frame and the task is to separate the two from each other. The puncture on the ring and several little grooves on the surface of the box let you pass the ring through the edges and eventually pull it out. Even though it is relatively easy, Box still can be tricky if you don’t analyze well all available movements in the puzzle. What I like a lot about it is the neat design and the easiness with which the ring slides through the various edges. Overall a very nice and highly recommended puzzle.

  • difficulty 2/6
  • maze type
  • take apart/put back together

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Even though Hanayama’s Elk is on the smaller side, it is well detailed and polished. The puzzle consists of 2 elk heads which are entwined with each other via their antlers and have to be separated. The smaller size and the high difficulty may cause some frustration, but solving the puzzle feels like a fair and rewarding process. Elk is both challenging and well-designed, so gets a high recommendation.

  • difficulty 6/6
  • piece manipulation
  • take apart/put together

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The Hanayama Spiral puzzle is unique in its simplicity. It is made of 5 jigsaw-type pieces connected to each other in cyclic fashion. The pieces can slide against each other up and down, but seemingly can never get separated. Even though initially the task looks impossible, playing for a bit with the puzzle will probably give you an idea how to solve it. What is nice about the solution is how simple it looks, just like the design itself. Putting back together Spiral is a bit more complicated and requires good amount of trial and error. Overall, this is a very good puzzle and a highly recommended toy.

  • difficulty 5/6
  • piece manipulation
  • take apart/put together

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Hanayama Cast Dolce is all about looks. The toy is relatively big, solidly built and the idea for the design is really neat (you have a male and a female part which are connected and hard to separate from each other). Unlike the other Hanayama Cast puzzles, this one does not have any intricate components which severely limits the amount of interaction you can do with it. I personally found the solution to be way too simple and unimaginative which spoiled my overall impression. Therefore despite the good looks, I can’t recommend this puzzle.

  • difficulty 3/6
  • piece manipulation
  • take apart/put together