Turn Turn TurnPerplex Puzzles, 6 lbs, 7″ x 5″ x 2.5″
It has been a couple years since Perplex Puzzles released Wishing Well and the anticipation for his follow-up puzzle has not waned. Turn Turn Turn (found here) is bigger, heavier, sequentialier discoverier, and has the potential to drive you a bit mad. Bill B. from Perplex sent me a copy a while ago to try out and if you liked Wishing Well, I am pretty darn sure you are going to love Turn.
Bill has packed a lot of puzzling into this fat, orange parallelogram, which features a black handle on the front, a number of holes along the front and sides, and a protruding something emerging from its back. As with Wishing Well, Turn arrives in a large wooden box, with some instructions, a Bird guide 😉 and the aforementioned solution (in a separate manila envelope). This is 6 pounds of heavy metal puzzling and is not for the faint of heart – this is for puzzlers who want to be challenged with something that is going to take time to discover, understand and, ultimately, conquer. The enclosed laminated solution walks you through the solution and reset with fifteen pages (!) of steps (with pics!), which is to say this is neither a short, nor simple puzzling experience.
Bill is a retired machinist and his expertise is very much on display here, as well as his love of puzzles by designers such as Will Strijbos and Rainier Popp. Turn does not rely on magnets or force – it is truly and purely mechanical: discover tools, explore the various mechanisms that lay semi-hidden within the puzzle’s frame, experiment with the various moves and machinations possible while paying close (very close!) attention to the effects. This puzzle is absolutely solvable – it is not impossible as it is not blind: Bill gives you various ways to check on where you are, although it can be easy to get lost unless you are careful, developing a picture of what is going on through trial and error and close observation until you can begin to develop an understanding of how the mechanisms work, what needs to happen and how to get there.
I was able to make fast progress at first, discovering some initial tools that quickly begin to lead me into the puzzle. I would still be discovering tools and their uses over the next few hours as I progressed deeper into what can only be called a puzzle machine, slowly learning how it worked and how to manipulate it before I could zero in on how to reach the solution. Eventually I had a working understanding of the mechanisms and could orient myself towards the goal, which would take quite a bit longer to reach (along the way, I would need to decipher the included clues… and I may have asked my wife to check a thing or two against the solution for me, but I got there!).
Bill ends it with a flourish, a bit of a call-back in a moment of triumph that had me smiling – it was great to have something to clearly say: “you did it!” to acknowledge my efforts. I am confident that this is going to be a popular puzzle amongst fans of complicated metal hunks of puzzling that are difficult but solvable if you put in the time and brain power (this puzzle has an excellent ROI in terms of puzzling time, at least in my experience). The only downside: unlike some others, Turn’s shape will not lend itself towards being weaponized in a sock – Plant Cycle still earns the award for best puzzle in an apocalypse, in my opinion; otherwise, this is a novel, challenging and complicated puzzle machine to solve. They will be released in batches over the coming months, with Bill reaching out to those on his list. Pay attention as I bet they will go quickly!