Back in 2009, Oskar van Deventer was responsible for inventing a new type of puzzle that would forever change the landscape of Twisty Puzzles. This new and revolutionary type of puzzle featured gears instead of rotating faces and was simply called Gear Cube. Since then, we’ve seen a plethora of different Twisty Puzzles with gears being launched, some by Oskar himself, while others were designed by fans of the concept. Some of these even took the concept to the next level by making it much harder than the original.
The Twisty Puzzle I have here today for review is another great one by Oskar, the Gear Shift, which is actually based on an idea by Bram Cohen, who has teamed up with Oskar on other several occasions. The Gear Shift could be described as the beginners version of the original Gear Cube, because it’s a little easier to solve, but it’s actually much more than that, since it introduces us to an ingenious new way of manipulating the core of the puzzle itself and change the way the corner pieces interact with each other.
In terms of size, the Gear Shift is exactly the same size as the Gear Cube (6.1cm or 2.4″), but the pieces are much bigger in the new version. The number of pieces, however, is much smaller in the Gear Shift, totaling just 8 corner pieces, four big gears and four small ones. Also manufactured by Meffert’s, the Gear Shift is presented with the classic high quality fluorescent stickers, which are almost peeling-resistant.
Unlike the original Gear Cube, a single move of the Gear Shift is able to rotate all eight pieces at the same time, this way easily scrambling it with just a few moves. Solving it is just as simple, but here you can add an extra “twist” and make it more interesting. As hinted above, you can change the way the pieces interact with each other by pulling the core apart along one of its three axis at a time. By doing this, you’ll be able to move two opposite faces independently. In other words, four pieces at a time.
I believe it’s because of this pulling apart method that the puzzle is much easier to solve, since you can focus on one face at a time. Once you have solved a face do the same for the opposite one and the puzzle should be solved in no time. For an added difficulty, you can try to have in each face four different colors and solve it from there.
The appearance of the Gear Shift can be a little intimidating at first, but once you get to know how the puzzle works it actually becomes quite fun to play with. Manipulating the core is a touch of genius and, knowing how easily Oskar can set new standards in the Twisty Puzzle community, I wouldn’t be surprised to see new puzzle variations of movable cores in the near future.
Availability: You can get your Gear Shift at PuzzleMaster for just $20 CAD. Click here to browse other Oskar’s designs and here for other puzzles from Meffert’s.