The Larva (and Ladybird which featured at IPP34 in London this August) are the latest designs from Belgian designer Robrecht Louage.
Robrecht is very well known in the puzzling community for his "remove-the-coin" and hidden maze/route finding puzzles.
Amongst his designs are the La Cerradura Doble, 1 Euro Labyrinth, Remove The Yolk and Escape From Alcatraz. Robrecht's most famous design; the 4 Steps Visible Lock was also the winner of the Grand Jury prize at the IPP31 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in Berlin in 2011.
Object is to remove a Euro 50 cent coin through a cut-out in the upper cover. While the previous remove-the-coin puzzles involved a hidden maze, the Larva's consist of navigating two metal sliders through two visible and movable maze plates. The Larva appears to be a new design take.....a "cross" between the La Cerradura Doble and 1 Euro Labyrinth.
The puzzle is made of Trespa and acrylic and is very well made. Everything is precisely machined cut to very tight tolerances and fit and finish is excellent. The Larva name and worm etchings add to the fine detailing.
From a puzzling standpoint, it is not an overly difficult puzzle for more experienced puzzlers, especially those who have played with Robrecht's previous works. But it is no walk in the park either. One of the challenges is to figure out how the two maze plates interact with each other and which direction either is suppose to go in order for the coin to be freed.
Personally I found it a bit more difficult than La Cerradura Doble. However because you can see what you are doing and can chart your progress as you go along, you feel the urge to continue to the end and not put it down; just the sort of puzzle to occupy you for a good half to one hour on a lazy Saturday afternoon, with an end in sight and not too much stress. The Larva is fun and very manageable.
For those of you who may not be aware, the Larva and Ladybird puzzles is a collaboration between Robrecht and puzzle collector Michel van Ipenburg. If anyone is interested in acquiring any one of these puzzles, please PM me via my blog email and I will link you up with the aforementioned gentlemen.