Sunday 18 December 2022

New Kid on the Brick

The aMAZEing PuzzleBox
Out of the blue a few weeks ago I was contacted Peleg from Quizbrix. He had just completed design and manufacture of the aMAZEing PuzzleBox and wanted me to have a look at it and offer him feedback (as well as a review on here with a view to sending him some customers). I don't often do this and suggested that it would be more appropriate to send the box to Steve at Boxes and Booze as he was much more competent at puzzleboxes. To my surprise, Peleg accepted that but wanted to send us both a copy. In the face of such a keen producer and my inability to turn down a free puzzle, I accepted, chose the black version over the whilte and a package was duly posted from Israel. Despite the best efforts of a striking Royal Mail workforce, it arrived pretty quickly and I unpacked it to find a very solid feeling puzzle.

It has been made mostly the thin (⅓ height) lego bricks with a few full height ones in there too. Most are black in my version but there are a few white and a few clear ones and some holes allowing a limited view inside. It is 104x80x48mm in size and came with a credit card sized instruction leaflet. I had to take a photo of the instructions and blow the photo up to see them as the font was absolutely tiny. If you have raging eyesight like me then reading the card is impossible. The card said:
  • This is a PUZLLEBOX made of original LEGO® bricks
  • Your goal is to find the GOLDEN BAR
  • To do that you have to solve all the steps in the puzzle
  • All the steps are sequential (you can not bypass them)
  • Pay close attention to what you do (things move)
  • You can push, pull. turn and do what ever you want to solve the puzzle - BUT:
  • DON'T use too much force (if it doesn't move - maybe its not the time)
  • DON'T use your fingernails or any object that is not part of the puzzle
  • DON'T pull apart the puzzle (it will break)
  • If you are disconnecting a piece of from another piece - you are doing something wrong

It is described as a level 7/10 puzzle (I am not sure how that number has been decided) with 30+ steps.

There are lots of places to explore initially and all you can do is push at things with your finger and I was reassured that if it was not necessary to use a finger nail to poke tiny parts in or out. Only the tools provided should be used. Before my puzzle arrived I had been given an additional instruction to prevent a potential bypass. It is apparently possible to insert one of the tools into a hole and use it to pull something out. I was told not to do that and, to be honest, it would never have occurred to me to actually do such a thing. It just seems like the wrong thing to try and do.

After a few minutes, I found the first move and retrieved a tool which obviously could be used in quite a lot of different places on the puzzle...except in the vast majority of these places it did nothing. After another five minutes or so I had found that the tool would do something very specific and then several more specific things. I liked how the same tool could and should be used in multiple places but only in the correct order. These moves led to another very small tool dropping out onto the usual sleeping cat. At this point I decided to set it back to the beginning (also quite fun) and put it away so that I could play without the aid of a pussy boy who seemed to find tiny pieces of Lego very interesting. The second tool could quite easily be swallowed by the cat and it was definitely best to play without him around.

A few days later, I restarted and retrieved everything I had previously found and then discovered the reason for the name of the puzzle. There is a very small maze inside which needs to be navigated and then something else triggered. I got stuck here for a day. I learned the maze (it's not that challenging) but nothing happened at the end. I was missing something. As usual, I got focussed on one aspect for a while and could not get past it. Time for another reset and a think©. A day later, I started again and found what I was looking for - I had missed a whole sequence of moves which gave me another tool and then I could combine the use of all the tools into a fancy manoeuvre which moved me into yet another phase of the puzzle. It was reassuring to realise that if I could fit a small tool inside somewhere then I could always manipulate it either forward towards the solution or undo what I had done and retrieve it. At no point was there anything that I could do that was irreversible or would do harm.

I had out it down last night due to being unable to either get time without a cat or due to feeling under the weather (I have my first cold in over 2 years!) and then continued play this morning. With a very nice final Aha! moment, I retrieved the gold bar:

Gold bar found
The bar was attached to a tray with a QR code on it which took me to a congratulations page and links to videos which showed me how to reset the puzzle and also a video walkthrough of the solution. This is a very nice touch and greatly appreciated as I was not sure that I would have been able to reset it fully after one solve.

So what do I think? This is my first ever Lego puzzlebox and almost certainly not my last. There are now a couple of Lego based puzzle makers and if this is an example of what is possible then I am hooked. Could I design my own? No, I don't think so - Mrs S will NOT allow me to start buying Lego sets and I really don't know how to go about the design process. This is absolutely terrific and well worth the current $99 price point. The "full price" should be double that which I think is a bit steep but at sub 100 it is perfect. 

If boxes are your thing then you will like it. If, like me, you don't collect boxes then the box description is very loose. It does have a very small cavity but in reality this is a Sequential Discovery puzzle. You should buy it - I got mine for free but this has not influenced my review in any way. Buy it here whilst stocks last.

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