Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hanayama Cast Shark

Cast Shark
I have previously reviewed the Cast Starfish from Hanayama and really liked it's look and progressive solution - it is a nice puzzle and not too difficult. So when it came to put in another Puzzle Master order, I had to include another one from the Marine series - this time I decided on one of the easiest ones - the Cast Shark. It has also been reviewed by Brian on his blog where he says it is one of his favourites - one reason I chose it.

It fulfils all the standard Sadler requirements of being a puzzle and being shiny - in fact, this one, like the others in the marine series is exceptionally shiny - it is truly gorgeous (until you actually look at the subject matter!) Like all the rest it was designed by Akio Yamamoto, who has been phenomenally prolific with Hanayama. It comes packaged in the usual Hanayama box and is well secured. There is a large blurb on the box about shoals of fish and self discovery - this is all rubbish - the important bit is that you have to release the golden mackerel from the silver sharks jaws and of course, put it back. If you look closely at it then the detail in the "sculpture"is wonderful - it is truly grim in its' realism. Dimensions are 6 x 3.9 x 3.3 cm, a perfect shape for sitting and fiddling with to annoy the present wife! Hanayama rate it as a level 1 and Puzzle Master as a level 5 making it one of the easiest in the collection. No solution is provided but if you really need it (you don't!!!) it can be downloaded from here.

The aim is obviously to separate the 2 pieces. The fish starts in an obvious mounted position on the front of the shark's teeth with its' tail caught. There are only a few choices of movements you can do and a few dead ends making this quite enjoyable without having to commit anything to memory. I spent a few minutes fiddling and getting stuck before I had my little discovery moment and after a rather nice little movement I had another realm of discovery. From here I managed to release the fish in another unexpected motion. I thought I remembered what I had done but on immediately trying to reassemble it, I got lost! It took me almost as long to return to the beginning as it took to dismantle it - not very bright at all! Overall, it took me about 5 minutes to solve this one - not as quick as Brian reasonable for me.

Saved the fish!
I have given this quite a few people now and they have all solved it in 10 to 20 minutes and all loved the discovery moment. Some really struggled to reverse the process! Whilst writing this I have to revise that first statement - the present Mrs S caught sight of something shiny and thinking it might be jewellery (she is shallow like that!) she homed straight in on it. I told her what to do and after precisely 90 seconds she told me that I would need to give her the solution! She has the attention span of a goldfish and is the only person to have failed!

Overall this is a lovely puzzle for the shelf and a great one for a child or newbie. The whole marine collection looks lovely. My only criticism is that the golden colour has tarnished over time and with handling - I am sure it will polish up ok.

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