Cast Loop is the second newest puzzle in the Hanayama Cast series of puzzles, designed by Finnish puzzle designer Vesa Timonen based on an original puzzle ring he created for his girlfriend. It is available from Puzzle Master along with many more puzzles from the Hanayama cast series. The object of the puzzle is to create a closed loop. Thanks Puzzle master for sending me this puzzle to review.
The puzzle is packed in the standard Hanayama black and gold packaging, and is held in the box in the position seen above. By shipping it this way, you’re not given any clues as to how to solve the puzzle, as separating the pieces doesn’t show you how to solve it. If anything it may mislead you, and trick you into not seeing the solution. Quite a clever way to package the puzzle. It also ships with a leather thong, so that once solved, the puzzle can be worn as a necklace. It does hold together well, so this would be a possibility, but we’ll get to that.
This is a great looking puzzle, with the chrome plated finish really making the puzzle stand out. The puzzle is around 2 3/4″ in diameter so sits nicely in your hand, and being a cast puzzle has a solid weight to it. This really feels like a high quality puzzle.
Taking the puzzle apart, you’re left with what looks like two mirror image pieces. The magnets on the angled ends are strong enough to hold the puzzle pieces firmly together, so there’s no worries about the puzzle accidentally coming apart once solved unless you want it to. To that end I think it would be possible to wear the puzzle as jewellery, just don’t expect to see me wearing it any time soon.
One of the things I love about this puzzle is the symmetry when solving it. Even though there are minimal moves needed, the puzzle looks great throughout. This is listed as an easy puzzle both by Hanayama where it is a 1 on their scale (1-5) and 5 on Puzzle Masters scale (5-10). It is an easy puzzle, but the beauty is that it is designed in such a way that you need to really think about what you’re doing to be able to solve it. The obvious way to combine the pieces won’t get you a solid loop.
Knowing how to solve the puzzle, I found myself idly playing with it, opening and closing the loop without really looking at it. Sitting in long meetings at work, it gave my hands something to do rather than just spinning my pen.
This is a stunning puzzle, and is one you really should have in your collection. If you don’t already, then go buy this, you’ll not regret it!