Funzzle is a collection of interlocking puzzles made of bamboo and designed by Y. Gong. Each puzzle is regarded as extremely challenging, but you should half expect this for most of interlocking puzzles…At least, that’s what I’ve been experiencing for years.
In fairness, Mr Y.Gong didn’t come up with the Kappa design. The original (Noncsi) is made by Tamás Vanyó, as Mr Gong only made a couple of modifications to avoid it being an exact copy of Tamás’ design. It’s not a very honest practice, in my opinion, but I hope the original designer is ok with it.
Bamboo puzzles have a completely different feel from their hardwood counterparts. For one, they are much lighter in weight, since bamboo is less dense, but their appearance is a little different as well, due to the lighter color shades of bamboo. It all comes down to preference, or as I’d like to call it, diversity in one’s collection. I like to have a mixed bag of different materials in my collection.
Any good interlocking puzzle has it’s internal mechanism cleverly hidden and even the first piece is tricky to remove or to find out which piece really is the first one to remove. It should be a nice balance between clever design and difficulty. Well, such is not the case in this Kappa puzzle. The first piece to be removed is clearly visible miles away and it can be removed in one simple move. For reference, the original design by Tamás needs two moves to release the first piece.
What does this mean in terms of difficulty, you might be wondering? A lot, since it makes the puzzle much less challenging than it should be. The eight pieces slide along a square frame, in sequence, and they can only be removed one at a time. As you remove piece by piece, you must constantly slide the pieces back and forth to make room for the next piece in line to be released. The reassembly didn’t much time or was it that challenging, but only because I didn’t shuffle the pieces and had them placed in the correct sequence out of the frame. If you like a real challenge you can mix the pieces once removed from the frame and try to figure out which pieces should go first and which ones should go last.
I ended up with mixed feelings about the Kappa puzzle. On the outside, it looks great with an unusual design for an interlocking puzzle, but the execution of the idea leaves a lot to be desired, since it’s a cheap copy of the original and it doesn’t even work as it was meant to be. I still have a couple of the Funzzle puzzles to review, but judging by the quality of the first one, I don’t expect much from the others.