Thursday 19 November 2015

Christmas stocking filler #3: Smart Egg review and giveaway

Smart Eggs
Distributor: Esdevium Games
Players: 1
Age: 8+
Cost: RRP £5.99, available from Waterstones on the high street

Five weeks to go until Christmas - have you sorted out any of your gift shopping yet? I might be starting to panic slightly...

Anyway, returning to the post I'm writing (when I should be shopping), Esdevium Games have sent me some Smart Eggs to review as part of my Christmas stocking filler series - hurrah!

Smart Eggs - Esdevium Games

Invented in by the late András Zagyvai, Smart Eggs are three-dimensional puzzles where you have to work a plastic wand through a maze within the egg.

The instructions are really straightforward:
  1. Insert the wand into the egg from the top
  2. Move the wand through the labyrinth using the paths and holes available
  3. Complete the labyrinth by pulling the wand out the bottom
Esdevium distribute six one-layer eggs with individual designs and varying difficulty: Groovy (level 3), Jester (level 4), Hive (level 4), Techno (level 7), Lava (level 8) and Skull (level 9). I can't actually see this level marked on the packaging anywhere, which seems like an odd omission, but at least you can refer to that list!

The Smart Eggs we received to review were Groovy and Skull. I was a little bit surprised at how quickly my husband and I were able to complete them, but as these are mainly aimed at children I suppose this was to be expected (the box suggests age 8+). Groovy was far too easy for a grownup to review properly, but Skull was notably more difficult and fun to figure out.

I took the Eggs to work for some further testing, where the consensus was that the idea was really clever and that they would make a great stocking filler for kids. Skull stumped a couple of people for a lot longer than I thought it would - someone even got to the point of asking whether snapping the stick to get it out counted as completing the puzzle...

Solving times for test subjects so far (now I feel like GLaDOS from Portal...) ranged from 30 seconds to about 3 minutes for Groovy and from 3 to 15 minutes for Skull.

In the US people compete to get the fastest time for completing a particular set of eggs in a row and I can see that being good fun, especially with the Eggs being relatively inexpensive at £5.99.

Two-layer Smart Eggs (containing parallel labyrinths) also exist and look to provide a much greater challenge, but aren't available in the UK until next year. I'd definitely love to give one a try when they arrive, because I love the mechanics of the basic puzzle but would like it to be more difficult. Apparently the two-layer puzzles can take up to 3 hours to complete! That is, of course, unless you're some kind of puzzle-genius - here's an amazing video of someone speed-solving one of two-layer puzzles.

Everyone loves puzzles at Christmas, even if it's just the odd wire puzzles that come in your Christmas cracker, so if you need something to keep people quiet between Christmas dinner courses, Smart Eggs could be ideal. I can see these being passed around the table with people trying to beat the rest of the family's times. I'd steer towards the more difficult ones though (Techno, Lava, Skull) if you want that peace to last more than a couple of minutes!

Esdevium have kindly offered me a Smart Egg to give away to you, lovely readers, in the first ever Random Nerdery blog giveaway [UK only] - yay! - so why not enter for a chance to try out one for yourself?

Esdevium Smart Egg giveaway! (1 x random design)

Terms and conditions
  • The giveaway is open to UK residents only - sorry, everyone else!
  • One prize available, to be chosen using Gleam and announced on this page.
  • The giveaway will close at midnight on 3rd December 2015
  • The winner will be contacted by e-mail within 3 days of the end of the giveaway. If they do not respond within 14 days another winner may be chosen.
  • The winner's details will need to be passed to Esdevium Games for shipping purposes. Esdevium will send the prize directly to the winner, so delivery is not in my control and may take time to arrive. Any damage is not my responsibility.
  • Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.

Good luck with your entry! In the meantime, why not have a look at all of the stocking fillers series here?

NB: I received samples of this product for free in exchange for an honest review - all opinions remain my own!