Mirrorkal (Escher)

There’s more than one Mirrorkal. There’s Mirrorkal Escher. There’s also Mirrorkal You and Einstein, and Mirrorkal Mona Lisa. But they are all, at their essence, fascinating reflections of the puzzling genius of Ivan Moscovich.

There’s a frame and nine cubes. The nine cubes fit into the frame, as you might suspect. The bottom of the frame has holes that make it easy to lift any of the cubes out of the frame. Two sides of each cube are transparent. Looking through these transparent sides, you will see a mirror, set at a 45-degree angle. The other four walls of each cube each are covered with part (one-ninth) of one of five different Escher etchings. And, to make interesting things utterly fascinating, the walls of the frame are also covered with more ninths of the five Escher etchings. And, in an act of stunning compassion, the producers of the puzzle have included a little 3-fold booklet showing each of the five aforementioned etchings, helpfully divided into ninths.

So, you see, to solve the puzzle, you must: 1) decide which of the five images you are going to attempt to create, 2) which cube to start with, 3) which wall against which to put it, 4) which cube to put adjacent to that cube, 5) in which orientation, and 6) on and on, and also on. Eventually, some part of the image you hope you are building will appear – one cube reflecting another which is reflecting part of a wall. And, with luck and persistence and further eventuality, more will appear, and then, at last, the last cube, placed in that one correct orientation, and, well, there you are. And after that, there are four more Escher drawings to assemble, and, oddly enough, some are more difficult than others.

Yes, the box that the puzzle comes in is like three times, no, four times the size of the puzzle. And there’s no carrying case. Or solution guide. And also yes, the plastic cubes are relatively easily scratched. Not necessarily major scratches. Not actually obscuring anything. But annoyingly permanent. And, normally, these would prove to be fatal flaws in Major Fun Awardland, and the puzzle/game/toy would be rejected out of hand. But the puzzle itself proves to be so exceptional, so well-conceived, so intriguing, so innovative, that we were left with no alternative.

Mirrorkal Escher, recommended for those who are at least 8 years old, proves itself to be a puzzle of Major Fun award-worthy proportions.

All three Mirrorkals are distributed by RecentToys and available from BrilliantPuzzles.com. Enjoy.

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