Tag: Recent Toys

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Maybe you have already read my favorable review of Escher Mirrorkal which I reviewed before. After my highly positive experience with it, I did not think twice before purchasing Mona Lisa Mirrorkal – the second entry in the series. On pictures it looked even more stylish and more difficult, adding the already familiar mirrors twist to the classic Fifteen Slide Puzzle. Unfortunately, Mona Lisa Mirrorkal turned out to be a bit of a let down. The first thing which made bad impression is that the images on the little cubes you slide around are not properly stuck on their sides and are folded slightly towards the cubes’ centers. This does not influence the gameplay, but it is visible and annoying. Also, the printed image of Mona Lisa is very dark, which makes the puzzle both frustrating to arrange and not very pleasant to look at when finished. Sliding the pieces can be a hassle as well. It is not always smooth and sometimes the little cubes get stuck midway. If we disregard the technical and design issues, the actual solving experience is decent. For me, the puzzle is somewhat simpler than Escher Mirrorkal, and unlike it, there is only one image available to arrange. Even though Mona Lisa Mirrorkal has its flaws, I think it is worth the purchase for its original concept alone.

  • medium difficulty
  • mirrors, sliding
  • image is too dark

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I don’t know how many of you have played with and remember those wonderful cubic jigsaws from our childhoods, but they were definitely some of my favorites at that time. Escher Mirrorkal by Recent Toys looks strikingly similar to them, but a smart addition of mirrors transforms such a basic toy into an interesting puzzle which may frustrate even adults. Instead of each little cube having 6 solid painted sides, two of the sides are replaced with transparent covers and a small mirror is placed diagonally underneath them. This allows you when looking through one of the transparent sides to see a reflection of whatever is visible from the other side. Using this gimmick, your task is to arrange all 9 little cubes into the given 3 by 3 frame, transparent sides up, so that you can see one of the 5 given Escher paintings inside. The overall difficulty of the puzzle is low/medium and it gets even easier after the first image you solve. However, the wonderful concept makes the puzzle engaging and can bring you back to it every once in a while. My only problem with the toy is the fact that on my copy the stickers on the non-transparent sides are not well positioned, which makes the final pictures look a bit odd. I don’t know if this is a consistent issue or just I was unlucky, but for such relatively expensive toy, I would expect higher quality control. Nevertheless, I am more than happy with my Escher Mirrorkal and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun little puzzle with ingenious concept and cool design.

  • medium difficulty
  • mirrors, arranging
  • fun and novel concept