November 7, 2010

Cast Rattle

I had actually tried Hanayama's Cast Rattle about three months ago during July, since it was an entry into this year's puzzle design competition in which it won an honorable mention. I had only spent about ten minutes or so on it at the time, since I figured it would be available soon and I wanted to spend my time at the competition trying out puzzles that I wouldn't have the chance to try again. I just had the chance to try it out again, courtesy of Puzzle Master!

It is an interesting design by Bram Cohen that consists of four pieces that rattle around, hence the name, but stubbornly refuse to come apart. The pieces appeared identical, and it is pretty obvious that there is no hidden mechanism, so it is a bit puzzling what keeps them from coming apart.

The finish on this puzzle is nice and shiny and  it has a nice weight in your hand, as is the case with most of Hanayama's Cast series of puzzles. The fit is prefect, with no force necessary but no unnecessary slop either in the solution. That said, it does rattle around quite freely and somewhat lacks the elegant and stable resting position of something like Cast Vortex, the first puzzle I got in this series. This is really the only downside to this puzzle for me, but there's not much that could be done about it.

I started out just fiddling around with it a for a few minutes like I had done at IPP previously, and similarly didn't end up having any luck. Clearly just fiddling with it idly wasn't doing the trick, so I needed to take a more logical approach. Depending on how you slide the pieces, you can see every part of them, so I was able to take a logical approach that ended up leading me to the solution. This was quite satisfying, since there was a nice "Ah hah!" moment when I figured out what I had to do, and after a minute or so I was able to execute the solution correctly. In total, I think it took me about 10 minutes. It only took me a minute or two to get back together since I had a pretty good understanding of what I had done.

I think this would be an appealing puzzle to hand to somebody, because they can get it to move around a lot, which feels like they're making some kind of progress. However, you really have to stop and think about it to find the solution. I tried shaking the hell out of it, and that didn't work for this one, which is always a good thing.

In terms of difficulty, I would agree with Hanyama's rating of 4 out of 6, it of similar difficulty to the others with that rating such as Cast Baroq. I think most will be able to figure it out within 20-30 minutes, though I know a pretty smart fellow who spent an hour on it! It just depends when the inspiration strikes you, I think.

Overall, Cast Rattle is a solid puzzle that has a beautiful simplicity to it and a clever solution. Definitely worth picking up if you're into this type of puzzle! Thanks to PuzzleMaster for sending me a copy to review!

Note: I've recently set up an affiliate arrangement with PuzzleMaster so I get a small percentage of the sale price if you buy puzzles from them using the links I provide. They're also sending me some free puzzles to review. Of course, I honor your trust and will do my best to keep all reviews as objective as possible and continue to give you both positives and negatives for every puzzle. Thanks for reading!


  1. I got this one from my wife for Christmas... Completely agree with your review... It is a finnicky puzzle to solve though - even knowing how to do it!

  2. Yeah, I was just solving this one again this weekend, and it took me a while to get it just right. I brought it to a party this weekend and nobody had any luck with it!


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