Gravity Maze

gravity maze A puzzle that is almost a toy, a puzzle you can toy with, a puzzle that has 60 different levels, each one building on what you learned in the previous level – that’s what Gravity Maze has to offer you.

There are nine “building towers.” A building tower is made of a series of connected blocks – each block having it’s own unique ball-deflecting and transporting properties. There’s one five block tower, two four-block towers, two three-block, two two-block, two one-block, and a single block, with only one entrance and no exit, that serves as the goal for each of the puzzles. There’s a 4×4 playing grid and three small steel balls (qualifying the puzzle as not-for-children-under-three), which is not a problem since the puzzles themselves are designed for people who are at least eight-years-old.

Everything, as in all the ThinkFun puzzles I can think of, is sturdily-built, even if it is made of plastic (with the exception of the aforementioned steel balls).

There’s a deck of 60 puzzle cards. Each card is two-sided, with the puzzle on one side and the solution on the back, numbered in increasing difficulty. Each puzzle card shows where, in the grid, to put which piece to start the puzzle, and where to put the target piece. The pieces you must use to connect one to the other are indicated on the bottom of the card.

There’s also an instruction booklet which, it turns out, is essential to working the puzzles – even to setting them up correctly. If you look at the puzzle pieces more carefully, you’ll observe that each has dots on the top and bottom. On some edges there are two dots, others one, and the remaining, none. These dots are what you need in order to figure out how each tower is to be oriented, and how to read the set-up. Then there are puzzles in which you put one tower on top of the other, and you need to learn how those are represented (I quote “the outermost square will always represent the tower placed closest to the grid and the innermost square will represent the tower placed farthest”).

01 AwardThis is most definitely one of those puzzles that you learn by failing, so don’t lose faith. So you look at the answer a couple, maybe three, OK, maybe a dozen-or-so times. But your persistence pays off, and you will eventually get it. And once you do, the fun becomes even more apparent. There’s something immensely satisfying, and unique to this puzzle, to the sound the ball makes when you drop the it down the first tower and pings its way through all the right blocks, ending up bouncing against the walls of the target block. Toweringly satisfying. Major Fun, you bet!

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