Ever since the Rubik’s cube took the world by storm in the 80’s there has been a steady stream of puzzles looking to capture the public’s imagination – even Prof Erno Rubik has tried to recapture lightning more than once. The latest brainteaser to take a stab at puzzling glory is the Revomaze, a cylindrical device that has been individually milled from a solid block of metal, and that features an internal labyrinth which must be navigated to remove the metal core and solve the puzzle.
The internal labyrinth inside each Revomaze is full of dead ends, traps and one way paths, with one wrong move sending users back to the beginning to start again. It can be hard to grasp just by looking at the device, but what it boils down to is solving a maze that you can’t see, relying on your memory of incorrect moves to get you through to the end. If you do manage to solve the puzzle and remove the center shaft you’ll be rewarded with a map of the labyrinth, a certificate of ownership and a code that allows you be placed on a leaderboard at the website and makes you eligible to enter live competitions in the U.S. or the U.K.
The Revomaze is available in five color-coded levels of difficulty starting with the Revomaze Blue with a difficulty rating of 50 and ranging in difficulty to green, bronze, silver and gold, which attracts the hardest 100 difficulty rating. Being made from a solid block of metal not only gives it a nice finish - ensuring that even if you don’t solve it the Revomaze will make a nice paperweight - but also makes it dangerous if frustration takes hold and you find yourself flinging it across the room.
Brain-bending frustration doesn’t come cheap either. Only the blue, green and bronze Revomaze puzzles are currently available in the U.S., each for USD$119.99. In the U.K. the blue and green models are priced at UKP£69.95, while bronze, silver and gold Revomaze puzzles are priced at UKP£74.95, £79.95 and £89.95 respectively.
After publication of this article we were contacted by Chris Pitt, the inventor of the Revomaze, who informed us that, to address the high price of the metal version, he has been prototyping a plastic version. While the metal version will remain targeted at the serious puzzler/collector, the plastic version will be aimed at the mass market with a much more consumer-friendly price tag of UKP£19.99 (approx. USD$32).
The cheaper plastic versions will not be molded, but machined on the same machines as the metal units and will be just as challenging. However, unlike the metal version, the central shaft of the plastic models are not removed when completed, rather it will allow the solver to retrieve a label with a unique 10-character code that will allow the him/her to log onto a rewards website where they can find prizes such as PS3s, Xboxes, iPod shuffles, iPod touches, cameras, etc.
The plastic range will be available in four difficulties - again color-coded – ranging from blue (easiest) to red (hardest). They will be lighter than their metal cousins, weighing 200g (7oz) as opposed to 600g (21oz), making them much less dangerous as a projectile in the hands of frustrated children (and some adults). The new plastic Revomaze range is due to be released on November 30 and Chris also has plans for a limited edition model with a blue and red sleeve to be released at a later date.
Chris points out that the challenge of the puzzle lies in forming the hidden maze inside one's head. Feedback on the Revomaze from children aged 12-15 who have tested the puzzle makes him think he is onto a winner as he had trouble getting the children to relinquish the puzzle at the end of testing. Sounds promising, and coupled with the lower price bodes well for Chris and his quest to join the ranks of Prof Erno Rubik.
Pictures of the plastic Revomaze have also been added to the gallery.