June 13, 2011

Cast Starfish

Cast Starfish is the fourth in a series of six marine-themed Hanayama Cast Puzzles designed by Akio Yamamoto. Puzzle Master sent me a copy of this puzzle to review. Thanks!

Like the others in the series, it is made out of contrasting gold- and silver-colored metal. This one has a particularly unique appearance, with the bumpy texture of the starfish.

I was quite interested to see how this one would work, since it looks like your usual ring-with-a-gap type puzzle, like Cast Claw, but there are no grooves to navigate the ring through. Quite peculiar!

I played around with this one for a bit, and was pretty confused, it took me a while to discover the unique movement that is needed, and I really liked it. The first time I solved it, I didn't really fully understand it, I was more just fiddling. But with a bit more thought and practice, I saw that it had a nice logical progression, which I liked.

This one is rated a 2/6 by Hanayama, which seems about right. It is tougher than Cast Seabream and Cast Shark (both 1/6), and also more difficult than Cast Claw (2/6). I think it probably took me about 10 minutes, but folks have had a pretty tough time with it when I give this one to people.

Speaking of letting people try these puzzles, I noticed something a little alarming when I brought the series to a party yesterday: the gold color is starting to wear off! This is quite disappointing since the contrast is what makes these so visually appealing. Ah well, just something to be aware of, I definitely wouldn't stop letting people play with them because of that, but I'm a bit surprised that Hanayama would have that issue since their puzzles are generally very good quality.

Back to Cast Starfish: this is one of my favorites of the marine series due to its interesting movement and the pattern that you slowly discover. I have a great time watching folks play with this one, since there is a good "A-ha!" moment when they discover the movement, and another when they finally figure out how it comes off. Definitely worth checking out!

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