[image description: a plastic and a wooden cube puzzle. The wooden puzzle is made of undyed and blue-painted square wood cubes arranged 3 X 3 like a Rubix Cube. The plastic puzzle is made of seven different-shaped plastic pieces, also slotted together 3 X 3, and is fastened to a white backcard with text reading “IQ Puzuru Burokku” in katakana above the words “IQ Puzzle Blocks” in English. The first image shows the two puzzles sitting side by side. The second image shows both puzzles taken apart. The wood puzzle is one long chain of wooden blocks; the plastic puzzle is seven cube pieces in different shapes, like Tetris pieces, in yellow, red, blue, green, orange, purple and aqua. The third image shows the plastic puzzle put together beside the reverse side of the backcard, showing the building instructions.]
Two cube puzzles for review today! Starting with the puzzle on the left:
Daiso: IQ Puzzle Blocks - $2.80 AUD
This is … well, if you ever wanted to play real-life Tetris, this is how you do it. The pieces are a blown, hollow plastic, and while I wouldn’t say they’re not sturdy for general use, I wouldn’t press very hard on them, either. This one is the easiest of the two puzzles and it comes with instructions. The benefit of this puzzle is that you don’t have to follow the instructions; you can try and make anything you like. The downside of this puzzle is that … well, you really need more than one puzzle to make much more than the standard cube or a few flat rectangles, and once you’ve figured out how to reform the cube, it’s not that challenging.
It’s colourful, though, not difficult to use and fairly inexpensive. You’ll need to either store it in a bag or wrap a few rubber bands around the outside of the cube (I did two vertical bands and one horizontal) to hold it together.
Kmart: Wooden Block Puzzle - $3 AUD
I was anxious about buying this because I didn’t want a wooden Rubix Cube (I’ve already got a plastic one I’m working on solving) and the wrapper had nothing but a barcode. It isn’t a Rubix Cube - it’s more akin to the Twist and Lock Blocks / wood puzzles we’ve seen before, but one a step up in difficulty. Wooden cubes, alternating colours, strung on a tight red elastic cord … and, as you can see in the second photo, not strung in a straight line like a snake puzzle but strung with bends and double-backs so you’re limited in which positions any given cube on the string can make.
This one is tougher. I haven’t yet figured out how to return it to the cube shape (although I haven’t spent much time on it). The wood feels nice to touch, and I think this is a good one if you want more of a distraction or something to do as opposed to just having something in your hands. This is a purposeful I-don’t-wan’t-to-think-about-anything-else stim. For those of us who’ll never figure out how to re-cube the puzzle, there’s also the fun of seeing what other shapes you can make.
I’d say this is middling difficulty and ease of use between a snake puzzle (not difficult, many options for shape-making and use) and a Rubix Cube (more difficult to solve, limited options for use) and I’d recommend it for someone wanting a puzzle for more than idle turning and shape-making but one less intimidating than the Rubix Cube.