I love a challenge, mainly if I’m honest, a challenge that involves setting up some new piece of technology or a new toy to review, a Lego build maybe, those kind of challenges. Its the satisfaction of completing it without the need for any help, whether that be via paper instructions or nowadays, watching a youtube video or reading a fellow bloggers. So when I was offered a Rubik’s Cube to see if I could solve it I accepted the challenge.
Rubiks Cube is iconic, currently being created and distributed by John Adams, its been around in various re-incarnations now for over 40 years, invented by its name sake, Erno Rubik and was initially named the “Magic Cube” later to be renamed in 1980 as we know it now, the Rubik’s Cube. Around 350 million Rubiks Cubes have been sold since its launch as well as being rumoured that around 1 in 7 people have played with a Rubiks Cube. I remember my first experiences with the cube having enjoyed it as a child, although at that point, the cube had coloured stickers which if now one was looking, you could easily peel off and rearrange to make it look like you’d completed it. Truth is I had completed it on several occasions when younger, albeit taking whole weekends or summer holidays to do so.
Having more recently seen that there are “speed cubers” who compete in the Rubik’s UK Championship, now in its 10th year apparently. On closer inspection of this event, held at the beginning of November, it turns out that there are multiple competitions going on using various sizes of Rubik’s cube such as 2×2, 4×4, 5×5 as well as the classic 3×3 I had been given. They even have a blindfolded category as well as one which involves only being able to solve the cube using your feet with a new record of 42.89 for completion…. by the way that is 42.89 SECONDS and not minutes. If you thought that was impressive, the more convention way of solving a Rubik’s 3×3 cube with your hands was won with a time of just 9 SECONDS!
So having played around with the cube aimlessly for a couple of nights, I hadn’t really got far with it, maybe 5 out of the 9 squares being the same colour on one side but as for the rest of the 6 sides, they were completely random. At this point I made the decision to ditch my no instructions needed philosophy and decided to check out the online guide on the Rubiks UK site. It turns out that there are formulas and rationale behind each move, which includes each side being named (R, L, U, D, F, B) as well as even rotations being named too.
With multiple guides and video’s available from the Rubik’s site, I was sure I could solve it much quicker than the past week wasted to date. The video’s do take some time to get your head round and its more so remembering the rotations and the names rather than anything else but if you keep at it, you can start to understand the theory behind the cube.
In terms of the cube, given I am doing a review, its a much more smoother cube than I remember and by that I mean that twisting and turning the cube used to be a little clunky, maybe got stuck at times and felt a little tough to navigate. Nowadays the cube feels incredibly easy to twist and glides easily meaning a much more quicker process of trying to solve the puzzle can be achieved. Unfortunately as I alluded to earlier, the cube no longer has coloured stickers meaning that those tempted to cheat will be left disappointed as each cube is now coloured by plastic fronts and much more durable too.
Its definitely something which would be an ideal stocking filler for any family member, being it a younger teenager through to a grand parent and is something which you will always feel tempted to pick up and attempt to solve, time and time again. Its also an extremely reasonable £12.99 RRP but if you look around you might be able to get it below that £10 price tag so won’t break the bank and also good for a Secret Santa present if like me, you have to undertake this painstaking task each year.
I don’t think I’ll be entering the Rubik’s UK Championships any time soon but I’m certainly getting better at it and plan to work on it more over the winter months, who knows, I may break my 1 week record yet… If only they still had stickers on though.
For more information and to find online stockists, see the John Adams Toys website.
Until next time
NB: I was provided with a Rubik’s cube in exchange for a review but all opinions remain my own