I never knew the Slida existed until I chanced upon it on Goetz Schwandtner's site. Goetz is a dedicated collector and from time to time I would visit his site to see what are his latest acquisitions. Every month shows up something new!
Just what is the Slida? Well, to put it simply, its an interlocking puzzle shaped in a ball. A very nice multi-coloured one I might add. When I first started playing with it, the Slida reminded me very much of the Convolution Ball by Stewart Coffin. While the wooden Convolution Ball has seven pieces which all interlock together, the Slida has ten. From a construction standpoint, its very well made with tight tolerances. The fit amongst the pieces is very good with no unsightly gaps. It uses high quality plastic, pretty hefty and feels solid.
My only wish is that the corners of some of the pieces weren't so sharp; not that they would cause bleeding or anything like that, but if you are not careful while playing, they may cause scratches to your palms and fingers, because the fit of the pieces are pretty snug and you have to use some measure of force to push and tug the pieces. If the corners were a bit more rounded, that would have been great.
Like playing with a burr, you need to find the first moving piece to get things started. After a bit of prodding here and there, I slid the first panel out. Unlike most burrs, it takes only one move. Once the first panel is out, the task is to locate the rest of the panels and soon I had four sides off. You slowly peel off the layers, so to speak. What remains can be further divided into three large pieces and each of the three can be detached into two...a total of ten parts. There are seven sliding moves and three non-sliding ones. It would have been even better if ALL the pieces were joined together via sliding. I am sure the designer must have thought of this but probably constrained by manufacturing restrictions.
Re-assembly is the reverse. Once you have studied the nature of the pieces, you would find that certain pieces can only fit together in a particular way and these same pieces cannot fit with any others. If it doesn't dovetail nicely, slides to a stop mid-way or you need to use excessive force, you are probably trying to put the wrong pieces together. Because of this, the chances of hitting a blind end is virtually eliminated in the Slida and the solving becomes much easier (not easy). Everything has to follow a sequence. A nice touch is that the final piece slides in with a click, thus locking the whole assembly.
For an experienced puzzler, the Slida provides a moderate challenge; it is not difficult to disassemble and re-assemble (the latter which is usually the more troublesome) and quite easily re-solvable once you get the hang of it. I got the multi-coloured version, which I suspect may have made things less difficult; I think the single coloured (cheaper) version may prove to be tougher without the various colours as reference points. For the novice, it could be quite daunting as shown on the site's Youtube video.
Worth getting? Yep! its a nice looking puzzle to add to your collection and something not too difficult which you can pass to your non-puzzling friends and kids to play with without worrying they will break anything. And you can solve it for them should they get stuck; not something that can be done easily for those far more difficult puzzles, like mid to high level burrs. And for the promotional price of A$15.41 for a single multi-coloured ball and A$18.14 for a twin pack of two, it represents excellent value for money too.