ToysBulletin.com reviews a new type of puzzle from Thinkfun Inc.
“Houdini” is another one-player game of skill from Thinkfun. This time around a player is able to actually become Harry Houdini, or at least sort of. The game includes 40 different escape challenges, using a trap cage, 2 ropes, a lock, 2 rings and a “Houdini” flexible figure with body and legs. In addition, there is even a handy travel bag for Harry and all the accessories.
There are 10 beginner, 10 intermediate, 10 advanced and 10 expert challenges, but it is best to start with the beginner challenges, no matter how much you consider yourself a master of escape. After selecting a challenge, the instructions illustrate exactly how to set things up. For example, in beginner challenge #1, the “Houdini” figure is placed adjacent to the trap cage, a rope is looped between his legs, while its metal clasps are attached to brackets on the trap cage. Houdini’s hands and feet are always chained together to make things even more difficult. A player must somehow free Harry without undoing the clasps, and all of the solutions can be done without exercising any force whatsoever. To make it a bit easier, there is unlimited time to free Harry, and once you have escaped, all that is left is to listen for the applause.
I have to admit, I had trouble solving the first challenge. It took considerably thought and patience, before I finally saw the light. The key is the flexibility of the flat felt-like Houdini figure. After my slow start, I actually was able to get through most of the beginner challenges, before tackling several of the more difficult ones, which took a bit more time. However, there was great satisfaction when I finally got them. If there is a challenge that just cannot be solved, Thinkfun provides complete take-apart solution videos at Thinkfun.com/Houdini.
Although “Houdini” is suggested for ages 8 years old and up, this game will have broad appeal to adults as well. The Toys Bulletin staff has seen lots of puzzles over the years, but nothing quite like “Houdini.” It retails for $19.99 and can be purchased at Amazon.com.