Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cubus

The Cubus is a 3-dimensional labyrinth puzzle designed by Jeremy Goode and available from Xmatrix. This is the smaller of the 2 sizes available; the larger version called the Quadrus. Although described as pocket size, I doubt if anyone can fit a Cubus which measures about 2 3/4 inches square, comfortably into a shirt or trouser pocket. More likely it can fit into a jacket or coat pocket or handbag.

The Cubus that I acquired is the "blue" version which has the 3D maze made out of a bluish colour transparent acrylic (or as some would call it perspex). The maze itself looks highly complicated and is housed within a clear acrylic cube.  Both the Quadrus and Cubus also come in a light yellow version. The Cubus was shortlisted Gift Of The Year 2010 and although this may come as a surprise to many, it was also entered for the recent 2011 IPP Puzzle Design Competition, even though both the Cubus and Quadrus have been on sale for quite some time already. Someone on the Revomaze forum commented that as long as a puzzle is designed within 2 years of the competition date, that puzzle would still be eligible to enter, which therefore explains why.


I find the construction of the Cubus to be first rate. All the 6 sides forming the cube are neatly fused together and there are no rough edges or corners of any sort. Overall quality is very good and the Cubus feels solid in the hand. Do note though that acrylic can scratch easily so be careful about the surface you place a Cubus or Quadrus on...I know this because I use to own acrylic fish tanks!

The object of the puzzle is to navigate a small ball bearing from the silver coloured top frame to the bottom gold coloured frame through the 3D maze and then back again. In the first photo above, the silver frame is shown as the top. Unless you are in some kind of a speed competition, it doesn't really matter whether you start from silver to gold or vice-versa; the point is to use gravity (and dexterity) to get the ball bearing to travel through the 3D maze from top to bottom.

I took about 35mins just to complete one direction, albeit at a very leisurely pace while watching TV. The Xmatrix site claims that it is possible to complete both directions in 4 minutes.  I suppose there must have been some  capable individual(s) who can achieve this kind of record time. While challenging enough for a serious puzzler, I think where the Cubus can really shine is as a coffee table or executive puzzle; where just about anyone (puzzler or not, adult or kid) can pick it up, admire its see-through 3D maze, have a play with it and then put it down.

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