Allow me to introduce you to a remarkable puzzle called “Bend-It” with the following confessional.
First, to pique your interest.
Bend-It is unique – a puzzle whose pieces, as you might guess, bend. They are hinged. Because they are hinged, you can bend them. Because you can bend them, each of the six pieces becomes a minor multitude of shapes. The pieces and playing board are self-contained. A transparent lid encloses them, along with the instruction booklet (with 60 different puzzles at five different levels), for easy storage and transportation. The entire puzzle is very durable – enough to withstand weeks of deep pondering and smug sharing. Yes, it’s possible to break the puzzle pieces. And, at times, this is something to which you might be sorely tempted. But, unless you really try to break them, they will last at least until you’ve solved all 60 puzzles – if you live that long.
The 12 “starter”-level puzzles are comfortably easy to solve. That’s because there are ample clues. Well, relatively ample. The first three puzzles show you where to put four pieces. The next five only show you three pieces. And in the remaining four puzzles, there’s only one piece to work from. And then come the rest of the puzzles. Cluelessly.
Now for the confessional:
By the time I reached the first of the clueless ones – the so-called “Junior” puzzles – I, myself, was clueless. I mean, I had no idea, at all, how to solve the puzzles. I mean, none. I was lost, overwhelmed, shaken, riddled with self-doubt, utterly defeated. Despondently, I concluded that should a person of my intrepid ilk find the puzzle too difficult to solve, then this puzzle is simply not, sadly, a candidate for a Major Fun award. It goes, concluded I, far too far beyond the pale of fun, let alone majorness. Alas, sighed I, for the world of fun that such a promising puzzle should prove prohibitively problematic.
And then I stumbled across the inventor’s page wherein, with logic and surpassing clarity the properties of each of the six pieces are discoursed upon, and we learn that, for example, there is only one piece that has one white ball, the consequence of which is that should you find a puzzle in which one white ball is surrounded by black balls, you can be sure that it is the one-white-balled piece what did it. And on and clearly on, with illustrations and explications, the amazing and prolific toy and puzzle designer Raf Peeters, without giving the puzzles away or showing you specific solutions, shares the inner properties of each piece. And I read. And I understood. And I got through the entire Junior Level.
Thus, with joy and rejoicement, I hereby conclude that Bend-It is just as Major Fun as you would want a puzzle to be. O, I exclaim, O the joy!