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Hanayama Donuts Puzzle Review

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This metal puzzle from Hanayama created by Finland's Vesa Timonen involves separating and reassembling two interconnected donut-shaped metal pieces that are connected together like chain links that form one figure of eight looking piece with one donut shape a darker colour than the other. The 2 individual donut pieces can then be separated themselves with the silver donut part consisting of two cut in half fully circular rings like you would cut a piece of bread to reduce its thickness and the dark donut part likewise consists of two cut in half 'U' shapes and you can tell that these pieces separate as there are distinct lines where they come apart and these lines act as clues as to how to solve the puzzle because it is the small and unique details that are what you have to look out for when solving Hanayama puzzles and also the ways in which the pieces can be moved.



The objective of the puzzle is in two parts with the first part of the challenge being to separate it into its four pieces and with certain Hanayama puzzles the starting point or what move to begin with can be difficult as there can be a lot of moves to choose from or as is the case with this one no obvious move to choose from but once you have figured out the first move by looking for small clues or details the next ones should become clearer. The second part of the challenge is to then put all the pieces back together again which can be just as tricky as the first part of the challenge if you are not careful as it is worth taking your time when taking it apart to really study how it works so you will be able to recall the successful moves when you have to put it a together again and be able to do it quickly.


This puzzle, is small yet quite heavy for its size, as the weight of the puzzles in this Hanayama collection can vary a lot, that will easily fit in the palm of your hand and because of the smaller pieces it contains makes it not suitable for younger children. The puzzle as mentioned is quite heavy in weight for its size but still light enough that you can lift it up with your hands without weighing them down too much and being too strenuous to hold them up while you complete the challenge which may take some time. The size of the puzzle means it won't clutter your living space up as it can be either stored away in most drawers except the very smallest as can all in the Hanayama collection or put on display due to its fancy ornament like appearance. The small size also means it can be easily be transported as it will fit in the pocket of most pants and as it only has a few pieces to keep an eye on it can be taken about with you and done on the move or while you are out and about and therefore you can do this puzzle practically anywhere and do not need to be bound to a fixed location.


This brain-teaser will likely last a long time as long as you take reasonable care with it as it is made from a Zinc Alloy and it is robust enough that it should take a lot of punishment before possibly breaking so if you happen to drop it on the floor by accident onto a hard surface like a tiled or stoned one then there is a chance the puzzle might not even break and still function just fine with maybe only scratches or scaping marks as damage but I wouldn't do this on purpose to test this. The same goes for repeated use as this puzzle should take repeated use over and over again for many years without it breaking down as there is nothing that could easily snap or break off that would stop it from functioning so could even be passed down the generations.


Operating the puzzle can be a challenge in itself as it poses potentially a few problems the first being its smooth round exterior means the puzzle can be sometimes difficult to get a proper grip of and could slide out of your hands if you are not careful especially with the moves you have to perform but there are ways of holding the pieces while performing the moves that should help with this problem. Another problem is getting it apart can be very frustrating as the pieces must be organised in a very specific way in order to solve it so will require you to be very precise with it and you have to do this with quite small pieces that can make it a fiddly task and irritating experience. Moving the pieces however by which I mean feeding the donuts through each other and turning them can be done without them sticking as the exterior of the pieces is smooth which as mentioned before can make the puzzle difficult to grip and there is a little gap or wiggle room to avoid them getting stuck. The pieces should come apart easily and quickly when done correctly so if you are really forcing it then you are likely doing something wrong and should stop before you potentially break it or do damage to yourself.


As the puzzle only has 4 separate pieces it will be easy to keep track of them when you have taken them apart especially compared to other disassemble puzzles that can have loads of small pieces that are therefore easier to lose but with this one you have 4 easily spottable pieces that are quite heavy in weight for their size so will stay in place when you lie them on a table for example and not roll away.


In terms of replayability even when you have solved the puzzle it can take many attempts before you figure out how it works properly or be clear in your head how you did it and you can always challenge yourself to do it in a faster time and beat your personal best time as it is possible to take it apart and put it together again in under a minute but there is only one way to solve it and it only takes a few fluid moves to solve so the replayability isn't that high even compared to some others within the Hanayama collection as there is more than one way of solving some of the others in the collection or at least more unofficial ways other than the main official solution.


The puzzle has an intermediate to hard level of difficulty and is given a 4 out of 6 difficulty rating making it one of the more challenging puzzles in the collection. It justifies this rating because there are 4 pieces that you must separate with the moves that do this not immediately obvious to work out as there are very few clues to work with from its starting form but the lack of clues actually does help in a way in guiding you to the correct solution as there are only so many moves you could possibly make and then it is a case of trial and error until you get to the right solution which does require very specific moves. If you have done a lot of disentangle/disassembly challenges before then this might be a big help and make a difficult problem potentially easier because you will then likely know the clues to look out for with this type of challenge and may have already carried out similar moves to the ones required for this in those other disentangle puzzles you have done. However, if you are a beginner it would be better to start with an easier Hanayama puzzle as this puzzle would likely be a nightmare to solve.


So, in conclusion, I would say that this brain teaser is ideal for puzzle junkies as the challenge set is quite difficult and should take a fair amount of time and contemplation to solve but once it is known how it works it does all come apart quickly in a nice and pleasing manner but is certainly not ideal for beginners as there are other puzzles in this collection more suited to amateurs that are much simpler. Once this one is solved it has use beyond the challenge itself as it can be displayed as a decorative item due to its interesting and unique look or maybe used as a desk paperweight.

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