|Alcatraz - The Puzzle|
It is a pretty attractive thing made of black plastic, brass pins and a lovely large chromed ball bearing. It is 4.5x4.5x3cm and a good weight due to the steel bearing. Puzzle Master rate it as a difficulty of 9 out of 10 (gruelling) which I would agree with. Obviously the aim is remove the ball from the cage of pins.
When I first got this, I loved the look and feel of it and couldn't resist it. There are no clues at all to look at it and shaking it about doesn't provide any auditory clues either. Initial tries were not too successful as absolutely nothing moved at all! Over several days I kept going back to it and having a few minutes play but because absolutely nothing works you quickly get despondent.
The solution doesn't come with the puzzle - if you want it then it is available from here or from the developer's own site. I try not to use solutions as much as possible, but I did go surfing for other bloggers' reviews and did find one from Oli and another from Brian Pletcher. The conclusion they came to was that it required some considerable force to solve it (they were somewhat critical of it for that reason). Emboldened by this I tried using "more force" - I tried wildly shaking it, spinning it very fast, twisting it in all directions in my hands until either the puzzle or my knuckles popped!! I tried tapping it gently and then ever harder in various directions. Despite all of these exhortations, nothing would open the damn thing!!! After about 10 days of on and off trying I thought I was going to have to give up and download the instructions.
I had put it down in our bathroom at bedtime before going about my ablutions. I turned away when one of my cats pawed it and knocked it off the surface onto the tiled floor and out rolled the bearing!!! At this point I could see how it had come out but couldn't work out what exactly had happened (why had this impact worked when others had failed?)
|Open at last!|
Overall I think this is very clever but unless you are wanting a real masochistic challenge or are a true puzzle collector then I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it. My first negative review :-(