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Tonight is a bit of an odd one - it's not much of a 'review' per se, since I'm not sure how to review something like this. But I will give you my impressions after
playing with the Sphere XYZ.
What's a Sphere XYZ? Think Rubik's Cube for the new century. It's a ball that turns on three axis, hence the "XYZ" designation. It comes solved in the package, then you scramble it up - and never see the solved version again.
Packaging - ***
The sphere comes in a plastic container that can be used to store it later, if you desire. The instructions are simple - get the two white cubes at the north and south poles, and have all the other cubes in each hemisphere match in color. That sounds mighty easy, doesn't it?
Play Factor - ***
In the first photo to the left, you see the solved puzzle. The white cubes are at the top and bottom, with the green cubes on one half and the pink on the other.
The circular rows of cubes turn around the outside of the sphere, allowing you to mix them in these two directions. That's not all though - the sphere also turns at its center. That means even more potential to mess up the pattern!
Once you've fully confused the situation, you then can try to put it all back. Don't fool yourself though, it's not that simple.
While it's clearly addictive, just like the old Cube, I see the potential for competition as well. Can you mix the sphere so well that your friend can't put it back? The challenge is on!
Like I said earlier, this isn't a normal review, since there isn't something to truly compare this against. But I will say that I spent plenty of time this weekend, while I was waiting (unsuccessfully) for my Cop Joker to show up, twiddling with this little bugger. It IS quite addictive, but then I was a sucker for the Cube back in my college days.
As puzzles go, it has the most important elements - it's easy to carry, it's basic premise is easy to understand, but the actual solving of the puzzle can be quite complex. Every time it seems like just one more turn and you have it, you find that you need to go through quite a few more steps first.
There's also a nice tactile feel and heft to the sphere, and the pieces turn smoothly.
If you're a fan of this type of puzzle, I'd suggest checking it out. With Christmas right around the corner, this would make a great gift for the puzzler on your list.
It's also a pretty good deal, priced at $15 right now. That's $5 off the SRP, and seems about right for a puzzle like this.
There's a version that comes as a kit as well, where you can build the sphere first, and then play with it. I suspect that means you can take apart the regular version, and believe me - I'm just about ready to.
The company has a website with some videos, as well as a handy tips and tricks page. Trust me, you'll need it.
Where to Buy
You can pick it up direct from the company here, and I bet some of the better gaming stores may be carrying it.
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