Neil's Puzzle Building Blog
2May/110

Revomaze Bronze Extreme

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Revomaze

As promised previously, here's the third review in the Revomaze series, available from Revomaze and also in limited numbers from PuzzleMaster.

Revomaze Bronze Extreme

Revomaze Bronze Extreme Puzzle

I've already covered the basic puzzle in my first review of the blue, so for general information on the Revomaze puzzles, I'd suggest reading that post here.

The third puzzle from Revomaze is the Bronze. This puzzle isn't available as a plastic puzzle, as it's not possible to create some of the internals in plastic.

The Bronze is rated by Revomaze as having a difficulty of 80/100 (extreme) and an estimated opening time of 40 hours. It is described as a dynamic maze and is the first puzzle in the series that really challenges you to think as well as feel your way through the puzzle. This is a big jump up from the Blue and Green puzzles, and this is where many people seem to get stuck in the series. It's no longer just a simple maze to get from the start to the end. There are obstacles in the way which you really need to think your way around.

The first big challenge you meet in the Bronze after only six moves is lovingly referred to as "The Pool". This is a trap, with no easy way to reset the puzzle. So from the first few turns in this puzzle, it's clear that the rules you thought you knew have been broken. Also gone are the nice straight lines you have been used to in the previous two puzzles. This one is full of curves, which adds an extra challenge. The puzzle falls into three sections, with some real thinking required to move from one section to the next. To begin with, you can only move through around the first quarter of the space available in the puzzle, with no seeming way to move further. The way forward is in understanding the new elements in this maze, and getting over the feeling that "You know how this works" and "That can't be possible". The biggest challenges in this puzzle are your assumptions as to what is happening inside. More often than not they're wrong.

The key to solving this puzzle, as with most of the puzzles is in creating the best map you can. You should also be used to how the pin feels when it's in the maze by now, and that is key to understanding what's going on. The dexterity required here also goes up a notch, and having toughened up your fingers on the previous puzzles will certainly help.

It took me around 6 hours to open the Bronze, but I'll admit I had already played a little with the Silver before I attempted Bronze, so I understood some of the new mechanisms that were introduced in Bronze, making that a little easier. Bronze is my favourite in the series, and probably the one I'd recommend if you want a real challenge, and can only afford one puzzle. You'll not regret it as seeing the core of this puzzle is a work of art. Don't blame me if you spend many hours on this one though. It's a tough puzzle but well worth the effort.

I'm asked fairly frequently whether the Blue and Green are needed before solving Bronze. In all honesty, I don't think they are, but the challenge is much tougher if you've not done at least one other Revomaze before attempting this one.

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.



1May/113

Revomaze Green Extreme

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Revomaze

As promised previously, here's the second review in the Revomaze series, available from Revomaze and also in limited numbers from PuzzleMaster.

Revomaze Green Extreme Puzzle

Revomaze Green Extreme Puzzle

I've already covered the basic puzzle in my first review of the blue, so for general information on the Revomaze puzzles, I'd suggest reading that post here.

The second puzzle from Revomaze is the Green. Again, I have the extreme version which is the heavier metal version of this puzzle. Again it's also available as a plastic Obsession version.

The Green is rated by Revomaze as having a difficulty of 60/100 (challenging) and an estimated opening time of 10 hours or just 3 hours if you've already opened the Blue puzzle. It is described as a static maze and really is a nice step up in the learning curve for the series. The puzzle introduces a new element not seen in the Blue puzzle, and extends the trickier sections from the Blue to be really very challenging in this puzzle. It is a nice step up from the original puzzle, and took me around 5 hours to open. Mapping the maze in this puzzle definitely helps in the trickier sections. If you were to try to solve this as your first puzzle in the series, it's definitely harder, but not impossible. That reset line is ever present in this puzzle and there are many more blind turns to throw you off the correct path.

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.



30Apr/113

Revomaze Blue Extreme

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Revomaze

As promised previously, here's my first review in the Revomaze series, available from Revomaze and also in limited numbers from PuzzleMaster.

Revomaze Blue Extreme Puzzle

Revomaze Blue Extreme Puzzle

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.



28Apr/110

Revomaze, The series so far…

I was introduced to the Revomaze puzzles about 6 months ago, since then I've been hooked. I was on the lookout for a new puzzle to keep me busy, and wanted something that I wasn't going to solve in an hour and then have it gather dust on a shelf after that. I'd been looking around a few forums and keeping a quiet eye on some of the discussions, and the name Revomaze kept popping up, so I did some digging, and liked what I found.

The puzzle seemed to be some sort of maze, that you navigated blind, with the objective being to remove the core of the puzzle. With estimated solve times ranging from 4 hours to 300+ hours depending on which puzzle you were looking at, I thought I have to give this a try. Anything that has the audacity to market itself as "Probably one of the hardest puzzles in the world" is either pretty good, or rather full of itself. And I wanted to find out which it was.

Revomaze Bronze Extreme Puzzle

Revomaze Bronze Extreme Puzzle

The Bronze pictured above is the third most difficult in the series after Blue and Green. The fourth puzzle, the Silver Revomaze is the most difficult to date, and estimated at 160 hours to open on average. Gold isn't yet released, and is expected later this year. Chris is working hard to complete production and testing of the puzzle to complete the Series I puzzles.

There are two types of puzzle available, both of which are basically the same. The Obsession series is a plastic version, and was released later, and the origina Extreme series, which are 600g metal puzzles, machined to the highest quality, and guaranteed to test the strength of your fingers and wrists. I personally like teh weight and feel of the metal puzzles, while others like the plastics. Certainly the plastics are much cheaper, but the feel and weight of the metal puzzle really gives it that solid high end feel that so many puzzles lack.

The designer of the Revomaze puzzle, Chris Pitt, is offering a competition with real prize money if you can open one of his puzzles in the top number of people per puzzle, where you'll be invited to a live event to compete for a chance to win the cash. The other prize on offer at the live event is the chance to own a limited Purple puzzle. In all honesty I think this is the bigger prize than the money!

Now I came to the game quite late on, and all the spots for Blue, Green and Bronze were gone. Having said that I worked my way through each of them in turn, before moving on to Silver. From start to finish I opened all 4 in under two months. I've been told that's pretty good going, and with some people having spent more than 6 months on a single puzzle, I'll believe it!

I did manage to open the Silver as one of the first 30 people in the world, and as such have a place in the final. If you're also going to be there then I look forward to meeting you!

One of the things that really stands out about the Revomaze, and the company is the people there. The customer service is excellent, and although it's rare, should anything go wrong with your puzzle, you can bet that Chris himself will deal with it, and make sure you get back to solving in no time.

There are also a number of special edition or limited edition puzzles out there, including Black, Red and a soon to be released Orange. While these are not part of the main series, they have become very sought after!

Look out for my reviews of each of the individual puzzles coming soon. Until then, if you want a hint on how to open it, Map, and Think (c) Allard!