I’ve already covered the basic puzzle in my earlier reviews of the Series I puzzles, so for general information on the Revomaze puzzles, I’d suggest reading that post here.
The Black Revomaze, available in both Plastic and originally Metal (although only 20 metal puzzles were produced and are very rarely available for sale from their current owners) was the first Revomaze which was not part of the main series of puzzles, incorporating Blue, Green, Bronze, Silver and Gold. When the engineering company was working with Chris Pitt on the puzzles, they produced the Black as a way to show Chris what they were capable of, and, so the story goes as a challenge to Chris to open a puzzle that he didn’t know the route through maze. Chris like the design they created so much that he added it to the line of puzzles to be produced and sold. The reason why, I’ll explain later.
Similar to the Blue and Green puzzles, the Black is a static maze, however it is much closer to Bronze in execution as the orthogonal lines from the Blue and Green seem to be non-existent leaving only curves and sharp corners. This makes for a very interesting challenge, as some of the sharp turns create very thin ledges to be navigated, increasing the chances of clicking into the ever-present trap lines. The curves also add a challenge to mapping as anyone who has tried to map the Bronze will know already.
The real beauty of the Black is the reveal you get either when mapping the puzzle (if your map is accurate enough) or in the metal puzzle when removing the core, and seeing the maze for the first time. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow one of the few metal versions from a good friend, however due to the way I create my maps, I didn’t see the hidden secret in my map until I opened the core (although I had my suspicions!). Once open not only are is the stunning engineering to create the curves revealed, but the maze also contains a the company name! Now it’s obvious why Chris liked the black so much, and decided to produce it and allow the public the joy of solving the puzzle as well.
As a note on mapping the mazes, the map you create depends on how you view the puzzle. Either the pin can move through the maze, as though it were a person walking inside a huge static maze, or as though the pin were hanging from the ceiling, and the maze were navigated around it. In the puzzle, the pin is fixed in the sleeve, and the maze moves around it, not the other way around. This has two effects, your directions are inverted and also your start and end points are reversed. If you think about the maze itself, the start is actually in the middle of the core, and you work toward the end of the core (the leftmost point is the end). When most people think about a maze, the start at the outside and either work to the other end or the centre depending on the maze, so starting in the middle may not be natural for most.
Personally I map from the viewpoint of walking around inside the maze, and as a result all my maps are mirror images of the real maze. At one point when creating a map for the Silver, I took a wooden dowel, and carved the maze onto the dowel, using my excel map as the source. Of course this meant that my map is back to front compared with the real maze, however it did let me think around the problems I was trying to solve!
Black is a great puzzle, and really fun to solve. If you’re lucky enough to own, or be able to borrow a metal version, the core is really the highlight, but if not, don’t pass up the chance of trying a very fun puzzle with the plastic version.