There is something undeniably fascinating about lasers. Perhaps it’s the intensity of the light that triggers some part of our brains—that same part that encourages us to stare at sparkly gems and shiny metals like magpies chasing a scrap of tin foil. Maybe it’s our fascination with something so obviously artificial. Something created by intelligence and purpose. A technological marvel.
Whatever the case, give someone a laser and you will always need to wait a while as he or she traces circles and figure eights over every visible surface. If there are mirrors, glass, and smoke nearby you might as well go out for a cup of coffee before any real work gets done.
Laser Maze by our friends at Thinkfun gives you 60 different puzzles to solve that start with a laser and end in refractory targets. Along the way you will be challenged to use angled mirrors, double-sided mirrors, and beam splitters to accomplish your goals.
The puzzles are presented on cards which are ranked by difficulty (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert). Each card depicts a five by five grid on which you place a laser device and several different kinds of mirrors. Each puzzle has a single solution and the laser must come in contact with each of the objects listed on the card and illuminate the correct number of targets.
The Beginner puzzles are very simple, but they serve primarily to show you how the laser beam can be manipulated by the various mirrors. As the difficulty increases, you tend to have fewer resources to make the laser seem to bend in interesting ways around the board. I’m impressed that the developers created so many ways for a straight line of coherent light to remain interesting in such a confined area.
You could make Laser Maze into a competition but as a solo endeavor it is plenty gripping. Completing one challenge whets your appetite for the next, and soon enough you’re telling your kids they can have a box of saltines for dinner because you just have… one… more…
Yup. Laser Maze is Major Fun.
Now I’ve gotta get something to eat.
For 1 player, ages 8+
All in all, it’s no surprise that fun of Laser Maze is so amazingly major, given that it’s designer is Luke Hooper, inventor of the strategic laser game Khet 2.0; the puzzles were created by puzzle master Wei-Hwa Huang, and the game itself is made available by Thinkfun, makers of one of the first and most popular moving piece puzzles Rush Hour.