As promised previously, here’s my first review in the Revomaze series, available from Revomaze and also in limited numbers from PuzzleMaster.
The first puzzle from Revomaze is the Blue. I have the extreme version which is the heavier, and also more expensive version of this puzzle. It’s also available as a plastic puzzle called the Obsession which is much lighter and cheaper. I’d recommend the plastic puzzle if you want to try out the puzzle before the more significant investment in the metal puzzles, but there are differences between the puzzles which I’ll point out later that are worth being aware of.
The biggest difference between the two puzzles is that the weight of the Extreme is a big challenge in itself. At 600g these are heavy puzzles, and do take some getting used to. Your hands, wrists and fingers will find it difficult to work for more than 5-10 minutes initially on these puzzles before getting tired and sore. Don’t overdo it, short sessions are a must. The plastics are light and don’t have this added challenge so may be easier to get to grips with (pun intended).
The quality of the build and machining of the metal puzzles is excellent. This is a really high-end puzzle, and it is worth the asking price. It’s really hard to damage these puzzles as well, so you can happily pass this to friends to try, and short of dropping it end first on the floor, it’s not going to come to any harm. This is one puzzle line that you should be able to pass down to your kids one day.
The object of all the puzzles in the series is to remove the core into which the maze is etched from the shaft of the puzzle by pushing, pulling and twisting the shaft to navigate the maze. There is an indent of the coloured sleeve, and a corresponding one of the shaft, which once lined up will allow the shaft to be removed from the sleeve. Once you have opened the maze, you are presented with a certificate and a clear plastic map which are wrapped around the inner draw of the puzzle. Note: On the Obsession line, the shaft cannot be removed from the sleeve to see the maze without breaking the puzzle. There is also no clear plastic map as the Obsession line does not qualify for the competition which this plastic map is part of. Sounds simple right?
The really clever part about the puzzles is that the maze is not one-dimensional. It’s not even two-dimensional! The mechanism that makes the puzzle work is the spring loaded pin which is used to navigate the maze. The pin rides on top of the maze, and is being pushed against the maze by the spring which is located in the coloured sleeve. This allows the maze to operate on several levels, one of which is the dreaded reset line.
The puzzle has a unique system where if you make a wrong turn, you can ‘fall off’ the maze, into a reset line with a satisfying click, at which point, the only progress is back to the beginning! This isn’t like an ordinary maze then where you can follow the walls and make it to the end. There are parts of the maze where one wall or both walls are removed leaving the pin free to fall into that reset if you’re not careful. Early on in even the blue, there is a tricky section, where you can fall into a reset, and it seems that there is no way to progress. Don’t be disheartened though, your puzzle isn’t broken, and there is a way forward. The only advice is to map the path, and map the reset lines. If you still can’t make progress, then map better!
Blue is rated by Revomaze as having a difficulty of 50/100 (challenging) and an estimated opening time of 6 hours. It is described as a static maze and really is an introduction to the series. There are enough twists and turns in the puzzle to keep you busy for a good few hours, and in total it took me around 4 hours to open this puzzle for the first time. There’s one spot in the puzzle that gets everyone, leaving many saying “There’s no way to progress. My puzzle is broken”. As we have all found out, there is a way, the challenge is in finding it.
The one word of warning I’ll give is that if you do decide to buy one, and I highly recommend you do, you’ll end up getting more. After solving one, there are few who can resist coming back for more.
I’ll be reviewing the rest of the puzzles in the series in the coming posts, so check back for info on the rest of the series.