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puzzle review: Rubik’s Magic


This puzzle wasn’t available in the Philippines until around November last year. So speedcubers in the Philippines got very excited when they found out that Toys R’ Us is currently offering this amazing puzzle on their stores nationwide. It was a little pricey at Php 550, and they only offered the Red-Colored Version. It had a humongous Pink (yes, pink) box, so it was kinda awkward to carry it home afterwards, looking like I bought a doll or something. LOL.

Being around for about two decades now, I can still distinctly remember my older having one and us (my younger brother and I), utterly destroy it. He had a black one, and he didn’t know how to solve it though. He just made all these weird shapes like a “cube, a “house”, and a dozen more silly stuff. Oh well, YouTube didn’t exist back then so I don’t blame him.

So here’s some info from Wikipedia about this puzzle:

Rubik’s Magic, like Rubik’s Cube, is a mechanical puzzle invented by the Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik and first manufactured by Matchbox in the mid-1980s.

The puzzle consists of 8 black square tiles (Changed to red squares with goldish rings in 1997) arranged in a 2 × 4 rectangle; diagonal grooves on the tiles hold wires that connect them, allowing them to be folded onto each other and unfolded again in two perpendicular directions (assuming that no other connections restrict the movement) in a manner similar to a Jacob’s Ladder toy. The front side of the puzzle shows, in the initial state, three separate, rainbow-coloured rings; the back side consists of a scrambled picture of three interconnected rings. The goal of the game is to fold the puzzle into a heart-like shape and unscramble the picture on the back side, thus interconnecting the rings.
Rubik’s Magic (solved)

Numerous ways to accomplish this exist, and experienced players can transform the puzzle from its initial into the solved state in less than 2 seconds. Other challenges for Rubik’s Magic include reproducing given shapes (which are often three-dimensional), sometimes with certain tiles required to be in certain positions and/or orientations.

In 1987, Rubik’s Magic Master Edition was published by Matchbox; it consisted of 12 silver tiles arranged in a 2 × 6 rectangle, showing 5 interlinked rings that had to be unlinked by transforming the puzzle into a shape reminiscent of a W. Around the same time, Matchbox also produced Rubik’s Magic Create the Cube, a “Level Two” version of Rubik’s Magic, in which the puzzle is solved when folded into a cube with a base of two tiles, and the tile colors match at the corners of the cube.It did not have as wide a release, and is rare to find.

In the late 1990s, the original version of Rubik’s Magic was re-released by Oddzon, this time with yellow rings on a red background; other versions (for example, a variant of the original with silver tiles instead of black ones) were also produced, and there also was a strategy game based on Rubik’s Magic. An unlicensed 2 × 8 version was also produced, with spheres printed on its tiles instead of rings. Custom versions as large as 2 × 12 have been built using kits available from Oddzon.

PROS:

* very addicting
* much sturdier than imitations. (which is the opposite with the Rubik’s cube)
* no need to do any prior tooling
* good to play out-of-the-box

CONS:

* strings loosen over time (could be good or bad)
* can be easily “broken” if not handled properly a.k.a. “forced”
* getting replacement strings or parts is hard

Over-all Score:

Though the packaging says it’s for ages 4 or 8 and up, I DO NOT recommend this to kids below 10 years old. Some may argue that it depends on the user, but I believe that younger kids need sturdier toys than the Rubik’s Magic. No, it will not disintegrate when you drop it unlike model kits, but the strings tend to break or loosen too much when not handled carefully. Even adults get frustrated when this happens and getting replacement parts is difficult, opting an individual to buy a new one instead.

VERDICT:

Go and try it out though. The first time you get one, the strings tend to feel too stiff and might need some breaking in before attempting to do a two-second solve.

It is also a nice diversion to the usual cube puzzles, however, the very quick, optimal solution you get to learn gets very old quite quickly. But hey! Just have fun a make sure you have a mat when you play with it. (You’ll know what I mean when you start timing yourself.)

Please leave a comment or feel free to ask any questions. ‘Till next time.


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