Sunday, 11 December 2011

Kuku

The Kuku has been sold by Sonic Games in the UK for quite a while already, since 2009. Measuring a rather small 40mm in diameter, it comprises three symmetrical pieces which interlock together to form a sphere. The three pieces are coloured polished aluminium, anodised blue and gold. There have been some criticism in cyberspace levied on the Kuku as to the quality of manufacture. (see Neil's review on his puzzle blog). I suppose this is not entirely surprising since Sonic Games' earlier puzzle the Isis, at one time touted as the "hardest puzzle in the world" also received a plethora of negative comments over quality issues.

Although I hesitated at first, I was interested to see for myself the Kuku's puzzle mechanism. So I finally bought one after Sonic Games offered a special website price discount. Thankfully my copy did not appear to have quality issues and overall fit and finish is of a very high standard.



The object of the puzzle is to unlock the three pieces and remove a small plastic token with an imprinted number. Kuku owners, once they solve the puzzle, can register this number on the related Kuku website, play a game and stand to win a prize. According to both Neil and Jonas Bengtsson in his blog, there are apparently two versions, medium and hard; but I do not know which my copy is, the medium or the hard.


When I first examined the puzzle, I had a pretty good idea how the three interlocking pieces were held together. A number of other metal puzzles in the same genre, several of which have been reviewed on this blog, apply a similar principle to that of the Kuku. Gravity plays an important part. The difficulty of the Kuku perhaps stems from the fact that all three interlocking pieces forming the sphere are symmetrical, so trying to determine the orientation of the puzzle vis-a-vis how gravity applies makes it very challenging indeed. Like the Purple Isis I wrote about earlier in this blog, I had no intention of spending a lot of time on the Kuku. Checking out the internet and help videos on YouTube, I was able to take apart the Kuku quite quickly. I will not go into any "spoiler" details here since there may be readers here who are determined to solve the Kuku on their own. But looking at the internal mechanism, this one is not easy to solve repeatedly.

For the design and engineering that goes into the manufacture of a Kuku and from both the puzzle aspect and price point (and just so long as there are no quality issues), I would say the Kuku is certainly worth acquiring.

9 comments:

  1. Oh Jerry! Shame on you! ;-)

    You should at least try to solve it yourself for a few days! Your blog has made you one of the world's premier puzzlers and you should set an example for the "young ones" out there!

    Maybe I should get one of these! Hmm! How to I convince Mrs S to let me have yet another puzzle? I still have a laser stare burn from the last delivery!

    Kevin
    Puzzlemad

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  2. Yes Kevin, I feel really awful and terrible now...should have spent a few days rather than few minutes trying to solve it!

    "...one of the world's premier puzzlers..."...huh? Kevin, you got the right person here?

    Take Mrs S on a nice holiday...somewhere like the last place you went...take her for a romantic dinner and surprise her with a new designer (and I mean really expensive) handbag...put the Kuku or whatever new puzzle (make that several new puzzles) inside the bag and say you got a special vacation surprise for the both of you!!

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  3. Oh Jerry, I love your thinking. Can you tell that to my husband!
    How did you find this puzzle for size? I managed to solve mine when it first came out (give or take a few months of frustration) but I found it very hard to hold even with my little hands. And that box it came in. What a joke. I had to have 3 of them delivered before one came to me unbroken. Now if you could write a spoiler for the Rami5is. I would be very happy.

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  4. "a dearth of negative comments"? I think you mean "a plethora of negative comments"!!?

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  5. Yes Jerry,

    You are 1 of an elite group of puzzlers - you write about it - this makes you a semi-pro!

    Unfortunately, I can't afford to take her to another expensive hotel so soon! She has visited her parents in Edinburgh the last few days and, of course, this involved shopping!!! I am still trying to recover from the shock of paying for a very expensive kitchen! I'd also rather not buy any more designer bags - she has lots already!

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  6. Yes, I found the size a bit smallish too...comparing to the earlier bigger puzzle, the Isis. But then again, its also about two-thirds cheaper.

    Three box exchanges, wow! Well, at least Sonic Games customer service was good! I admire your determination to get an unbroken box...if it were me, I would have been already very thankful if the puzzle was ok without defects. I had no trouble with the box tho, came all nice and intact. To be fair, as far as I can remember, mine was pretty well packed.

    Unfortunately I didn't get the Ramisis...will see if I can snag a bargain from Ebay, but definitely won't buy at RRP.

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  7. Kevin,

    Thanks. I am very flattered...I am just having fun with a hobby that's all...and having fun writing about it...honestly tho, I don't take puzzling/collecting as seriously as you or the rest of the puzzle blogging gang...

    Well I guess I have to be thankful that my wife does not shop that much; not at least compared to a lot of other women!!

    Recently, I overheard that Hermes Birkin handbags (this is high-end designer stuff) were selling for something like US$15,000 each!!! And there is a queue for some models. Think of how many puzzles you can buy with that amount of cash?? And how much longer a puzzle will last and be around for the next generation(s). So if you look at it this way, puzzles I suppose are not an extravagance but an investment for your kids and grandkids!

    As for your kitchen...its a daily enjoyment...expensive yes, no doubt but amortised over the next lets say 10 years...probably good value for money!

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  8. George,

    Yes, you are absolutely right...it should be plethora, not dearth....I have amended my posting.

    Thanks, Jerry

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  9. Like 5 minutes later I was fondling it in one hand and it just slid back together, so annoying.

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