Category Scores
Pieces 5/10
Fit 7/10
Confusion 10/10
Picture 8/10
Antarctic Magic box front
Antarctic Magic box front
Shape Square
Brand Ceaco

Antarctic Magic

by Ceaco

Antarctic Magic - work in progress
Antarctic Magic - work in progress

This puzzle is a bit of a departure for me, because I usually stick to 1000+ pieces; smaller puzzles often feel to be over with too quickly. I'm fairly sure this (sealed) box dates from before we moved to Wales, so it's been "pending" for longer than average and it definitely deserves to get done!

The "glow in the dark" aspect doesn't really work for me, but maybe being sat in a dark box for all those years has run it's batteries down.

It's a curious puzzle to score, because although there were a number of black marks against it (not least, missing a piece from a sealed box!), it was also a really satisfying and enjoyable to do.

Pieces - 5/10

This is a tricky one; the pieces feel cheap and thin and yet, when you actually look closely they have a reasonable thickness to them, and they are - individually - stiff and well made.

However, a lot of the individual pieces don't feel flat, so they have corners or lugs lifting slightly in the completed puzzle. At the same time, several of the pieces haven't been fully cut - to the extent that there are a couple of "super pieces", where two pieces have only been half-way cut apart. This all leads to minor damage getting the pieces apart, and a general feeling that quality control has not been great.

And then there's the biggest problem - a missing piece! The box was sealed, the pieces were inside a sealed plastic bag, and yet an edge piece has already gone missing. I'm 99% certain it's not me (I've checked all around the table and floor, repeatedly) and it really is a pretty basic QC failure.

Fit - 7/10

The fit is excellent during assembly; each piece firmly and unambiguously attaches to it's neighbour, and the extremely "curvy" nature of the edges make it an even better fit.

However, that fit is too snug when it comes to disassembly; you can pretty much pick the entire puzzle up by the edge and shake it, and nothing will dislodge. It quickly becomes a case of having to manually detach each and every piece, which makes you very grateful it's only a 500 piece puzzle!

A Proud Puzzler
A Proud Puzzler

Confusion - 10/10

This is definitely an area in which this puzzle shines; the varied piece shapes help to make you very confident about what goes where and the snug fit confirms it.

Obviously the frustrating disassembly caused by this snugness doesn't impact the confusion during assembly, so full marks!

Differentiation - 10/10

At first glance, the image looks almost monochromatic in parts but actually there's a lot of variation and texture in the image, with lots of subtle but distinct tones of colour in place.

On top of this, the "glow in the dark" parts are drawn in some sort of raised, transparent ink which definitely helps add even more distinctiveness even when there are blocks of colour.

Picture - 8/10

Despite being full of snow and penguins, I wouldn't describe the art as really my kind of picture - it all has too much of a "three wolves howling at the moon" vibe to it - but it's nice enough, and it does have penuins.

The glow in the dark element, as noted earlier, doesn't.

Antarctic Magic - the completed puzzle
Antarctic Magic - the completed puzzle