When a wave of Angry Walters waged war on the world, we fought back valiantly, seeking to remove the cold fusion generators that fueled his robotic rage. Some of us succeeded, disabling the power sources in support of the sapien resistance; others struggled to make sense of the robotic systems, their patchwork patterns too puzzling, too complex to understand. The robots exploited this gap, continuing to grow in numbers as we humans faltered in the face of their fury. But the Walters soon faced a new dilemma: as they grew so too did the need for an infrastructure that could sustain the new robotic world order. As humanity sought refuge online, sharing stories of the underground at war with our new overlords, offering advice to those who could not overcome the Walters’ power, as we banded together, the Walters’ world frayed at the edges, humanity chipping away at the cracks within. The Walters scrambled to fill in these gaps, developing new communications technology that allowed for the instantaneous transfer of information between synthetic minds. Such profound development rested on the invention of the Dimensional Electronic Divergence (DED) Chip, a small transistor that disseminated data through tiny wormholes connecting the Robocall devices. 

Humanity’s hope faded as the radios allowed the robots to respond quickly to each battle, each spark of resistance snuffed out as soon as it surfaced. Humanity learned that the removal of the DED could turn the tides of the robopocalypse, diminishing the Walters’ ability to communicate. But they knew that any such success would come at a great cost and so they ensured that the removal of these devices would not be such a simple task. After humans stole what copies they could, they discovered that the removal and manipulation of the DED allowed them to transmit their own data, indistinguishable from that sent by the Walters, creating the opportunity to subvert their communications to humanity’s own ends. 

Human fighters recently secured a shipment of Robocalls that are being shared across the global resistance movement. We must find our way through the robotic defenses built into the radios to remove the DED Chip and undermine the Walters’ newest weapon in the war for our world’s future. Go forth and answer the Robocall!

Rev. 23.5 (as told to fivesinatras)

Ok, yes, I have written effusively about a lot of puzzles by Dee Dixon (cough cough all of them cough)… but it’s not my fault he keeps making great puzzles! And now, the Walter Wars rage on with his newest release: Walter’s Radio, a walkie talkie-ish sequential discovery take-apart puzzle that is as challenging and unique as it is fun: this is probably his longest puzzle in terms of discrete steps (20 – 25 by my count), and manages to taunt the puzzler despite not containing any truly blind mechanisms. Each aha! (and there are quite a few) can be clearly felt or seen, even if its purpose is not always so clear.

The puzzle consists of a rectangular block with a “speaker” at the top center that is able to spin freely, a loose block rattling around inside able to be seen through the speaker grates but not touched. At the bottom right is a symbol of some sort carved through the body, nothing special to be seen beneath. All five of the other sides show a single piece, flush with the puzzle’s body with no clear indication of what they are for or what they might do. None seem to do anything at first, with nothing more than an mm or two of wiggle room.

Some close examination and experimentation and I’m off. The central mechanism is itself quite unique and presents some entertaining trickiness to manipulate. It is possible to deduce much of the basics but it will lead you down some rabbit holes as you explore the various mechanisms that lay hidden throughout the puzzle.

I got stuck several times – this is not an easy puzzle, after all; those who may have thought Bad Moon was more pretty than hard will be pleased to find the reverse here: while by no means unattractive, with its quite lovely wooden sheen and beautiful grains, it may not be the prettiest puzzle Dee has produced (WMH and Bad Moon share that designation) but it is one of the best, in my more-or-less-humble opinion. And, yes, I know I get super excited each time Dee releases a new puzzle, but careful reads will find that this is not something I say lightly.

It is most definitely sequential discovery, with a touch of dexterity for good measure (not to worry – if I could do it with my shaky hands, anyone can). The solve is a puzzling journey that leaves you with quite a few bits and pieces by the time you obtain the Dimensional Electronic Divergence (DED) Chip that is your ultimate goal, and yet the reset is pretty straightforward and logical; as it took me a while to solve, I worried that my terrible memory would cause me great consternation when I was finally ready to reset it. But in the end, the pieces do for you what logic does not.

After resetting it, I immediately turned around to solve it again, already needing to work out a few sections that had become a bit fuzzy (I told you: my memory is terrible… didn’t I? Well, it is). There really is quite a bit going on – some sections may flow naturally but there were multiple walls that had me stuck for quite some time; on at least one occasion I managed to work out how to get past a particularly tricky few steps without the puzzle in my hands, which is always a neat thing (the same thing happened on WMH, my subconscious solving a section when I woke one fine morning).

Walter’s Radio is the newest example of Dee’s evolving design skills – he managed to come up with a unique central mechanism that allows the puzzler to navigate a number of interlocking locks and tricks in their search to remove the DED Chip that lay hidden somewhere within. It provides a darn good challenge with a great balance of difficulty and fun that I suspect puzzlers will thoroughly enjoy – I suspect I will not be the only one to say this is one of his top puzzles!

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