September 14, 2011

Cast Seahorse

Cast Seahorse is the sixth puzzle in Hanayama's Marine Series by Akio Yamamoto. Puzzle Master was kind enough to send me this puzzle to review. Thanks!

This puzzle consists of two seahorses, one gold and one silver, that are linked together. The goal is to separate them and then put them back together. If you read Yamamoto's description, he also says that you can try to "make them stand up again" after putting them together, so don't miss that part! In the assembled state, they balance in a standing position nicely, though it is a bit precarious.

This one has a nice solution that takes a number of steps to complete. There are a few dead-ends and tricky spots, which makes this one the more difficult of the marine series. However, the whole series is fairly easy, so most should be able to solve this in a reasonable amount of time. I think it took me about five minutes. I think the difficulty rating of 3 out of 6 is pretty accurate. I think Cast Seahorse  is about equal in difficulty to Cast Starfish, with Cast Reef, Cast Claw, Cast Shark, and Cast Seabream all easier in descending order of difficulty.

I like this one because it isn't immediately obvious which features are decorative and which ones are put in the way to help you or get in your way. This makes for a number of small A-ha moments as you realize that you need to rotate something out of the way or line certain things up.  The ending is pretty cute, too. Definitely worth checking out!

As I mentioned in my post about Cast Starfish, the gold color has started to wear off of all of these puzzles, since I frequently give them to folks to play with. It is particularly bad on Seahorse for some reason, to the point where it isn't really gold anymore unless you look quite closely. Perhaps my friends just have particularly abrasive hands!

In all, I really enjoyed the Hanayama Marine series! If you only want to pick up a few, I'd suggest getting Cast Starfish, Cast Seahorse, and Cast Shark. Cast Reef and Cast Claw are pretty good too, Cast Seabream is the only one I didn't like as much.

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