Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FlipStir Puzzles (TOS Review)

Today's review item is the Solar System FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC.   This is a fun puzzle that challenges the player's critical thinking, problem solving skills and patience.
In essence, the puzzle is encapsulated in a hard plastic tube.  Inside the tube is a metal rod with a paddle on the end of it.  You use the rod to push the puzzle pieces around to work the puzzle.   Sound confusing?   Maybe the photos will help.   Here's the tube, with the non assembled pieces, and you can see the little metal rod/paddle, right?

Here you see where the critical thinking, problem solving and patience come into play.

This is the final, solved puzzle.  Pretty cool huh?   (Except for the poor placement of that annoying sticker.)

The bottom of the tube has a picture of what the completed puzzle looks like, so if you don't know what order the planets go in, you can take a sneaky peek to make sure you're on the right track.   I still find if sad when I see the "new" solar system without Pluto, sniffle.

The two end pieces are flat on one side and curved on the other.   All the middle pieces are curved on both sides, and all the pieces have the exact same yeah, it is possible to put the puzzle together incorrectly.   Looking at that little photo I mentioned is very helpful the first few times you play it.

To play again, you simply shake the tube around, using the stick if necessary to separate the pieces.  You may think that once you've done the puzzle it'll be boring the next time.  Not so, as each time the pieces are in a different place and require the same amount of work as the first time.   The good news is that as you spend more time working with the FlipStir puzzles, you get quicker and your frustration level drops.   Then it's a simple matter of beating your best time, or the best time of a competitor.

This is a fun way to challenge yourself and your friends, and it's a great alternative to hand held electronic devices.  My only complaint is that using the little rod for long periods of time really causes my carpal tunnel to flare up.  This is no fault of the game or the designer, it's just something quirky with me. 

To read other TOS Crew member reviews, click here.

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