I'm not one of those people who ever figured out the secrets of the original Rubik's Cube, so it was with some trepidation that I tried out the Rubik's Slide, the newest take on the classic toy. It was hard.
Instead of a cube, the Techno Source Rubik's Slide is a thick slab with only one face. You'd think that reducing the number of blocks to keep track of from 54 to 9 would make things easier, but the slide provides its own unique challenges: the top of the slab can be slid up, down, left or right to nudge the coloured blocks in that direction or it can be twisted to rotate the blocks into a new orientation. When blocks get nudged over the edge, they pop back on the other side, like the tunnels in Pac Man.
To play, you press a "check" button that displays a solution and then try to rearrange the blocks into that configuration. Not all of the blocks are lit at once - the less you're managing the easier - and you can play against the clock or just see how many solutions you can rack up. As they're solved, the puzzles give you more blocks to slide into the correct place.
My spatial reasoning isn't the strongest, and even though my brain didn't understand exactly what I was doing, I still managed to figure out a couple of the easiest puzzles after only a few seconds of playing with the toy.
Whereas last year's Rubik's TouchCube seemed like all of the frustration of the original with none of the tactile satisfaction, the Slide's sliding feels pretty pleasing in your hands and keeps you wanting to fiddle even when your mentally spent.
The Rubik's Slide packs over 10,000 puzzles and will be available soon for $US17.99 [TechnoSource]
Toy Fair is the annual event where we get to completely regress back to childhood and check out all of the awesome toys coming out for the rest of the year. And well, we love toys.