Metamorphose is an odd looking puzzle and yet quite interesting in the way that it’s solved. Jean Claude Constantin does a fantastic job on what could simply be described as a Tetris version for puzzle enthusiasts.
The looks of the puzzle are self-explanatory. It comes in a solved state in the rectangular-shaped frame and by sliding the pieces down – hence my comparison with Tetris – you should try and rearrange the pieces in the square-shaped frame. The solution itself is not overly difficult, but the execution, which requires a little bit of dexterity, is quite tricky.
Between the two frames are two sliders that can open or close the flow of the pieces, thus limiting which pieces fall to the bottom at any given time. This is the part where the puzzle becomes trickier than your average packing puzzle, because you can’t simply pick the pieces and place them where you want. The acrylic cover has holes above the frames that help you maneuver the pieces in place, but you can only do so much with so little space. Provided with the puzzle is a loose metal bar that, at first, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with it. When you first try to get the pieces in place on the opposite frame, I believe you’ll know why it’s there. It’s a big help in keeping the pieces well orientated between the holes in the acrylic, since your fingers are too large to get in there. Other than this I don’t see any other use for the bar, but I could be wrong.
As I mentioned above, the solution itself is not that hard. You have eight different pieces. Some of which are actually seldom seen in packing puzzles, like the F-shaped piece and the three-square piece. The rest are composed by a mixture of tetrominos and pentominoes. For better or worse, you can’t flip the pieces, so the only way you can change their orientation is by rotating them. This is will certainly yield much less possible solutions and, in mathematical terms, I’m not sure if less solutions could be considered a good thing or a bad thing, but given the 7/10 difficulty rating, which is not that challenging, I’m going out on a limb and say it’s a pretty good thing. It took me about 20 minutes to solve it.
Metamorphose is quite different from the packing puzzles you’re used to. The limitations on the solving process provide a fun and different way of thinking and since you have two different frames and quite possibly many different solutions – despite the inability of flipping the pieces – there’s plenty to do even after you solve it for the first time.
Availability: The Metamorphose puzzle is available at PuzzleMaster for $25 CAD. You can also browse other interesting designs by Constantin.