Wasgij Puzzle Review
Part of what has made jigsaw puzzles a family favourite for generations is the simplicity of the basic concept. A three-year-old finishing a 16-piece puzzle has essentially mastered all the skills they'll need to do a full-size puzzle such as the 1,000-piece Wasgij Spring Has Sprung* puzzle as an adult – patience and bloody mindedness notwithstanding, that is.
Maybe that's why puzzles offering a variation on the basic jigsaw formula have never managed to eclipse the popularity of the original.
If you're not familiar with Wasgij (that's “jigsaw” backwards, in case you haven't worked it out), its puzzles fall somewhere between the two. The Spring Has Sprung puzzle is part of the Mystery puzzle range, and while it's essentially a traditional 1,000-piecer – no fancy circular or 3D construction gimmicks here – there is a catch: the picture on the box is of the scene you have to recreate, but a couple of seconds before the image made up by the pieces in the box.
The idea is that you examine the picture and figure out what's likely to happen next to the characters involved, then build that picture from the pieces given.
It sounds simpler than it is – the scene in question involves a total of 17 people all doing their own thing, whether it's carrying a tray of drinks, dusting and hoovering with an excitable dog underfoot, playing with toy cars on the floor or carrying an overloaded laundry basket across the room.
Needless to say, it's a disaster waiting to happen, and the idea is you imagine what form the disaster will take so you can get a sense of how the finished puzzle will look.
There are a few hints dotted around the box, though these are more teasers than anything else, and don't really give you anything concrete to work on.
In the end you find yourself going about building the Spring Has Sprung puzzle pretty much the same way you'd tackle any other jigsaw, which for most people means starting by piecing together the outline of the image and then going from there.
For me, I have to admit that all the talk of using your imagination to work out what happens next, and embracing the mystery of predicting the future (“only the puzzle holds the answer”, the box proclaims) largely fell by the wayside when it came to actually building the thing.
In truth, you try to pick out pieces based on the colours and patterns involved in the part of the picture you're busy with, but it's only when they're all in place that you're able to see the full detail of what they have to show, and how that relates to the “before” picture on the box.
That's not a criticism, either, since I can't see how you could go about things any other way. There's still plenty of humour and enjoyment to be had by looking at the finished scene and comparing the order of the image on the box with the chaos of the finished picture.
But it's not like you actively think about how each part of the picture might have changed, then go fishing for specific pieces showing exactly what you're imagining in your mind. In other words, calling it a “Mystery puzzle” is a bit of a stretch.
That would normally be grounds for a fairly negative verdict, but in this case I'm actually prepared to give the Wasgij Spring Has Sprung 1,000-piece jigsaw the benefit of the doubt.
The overall quality of the product is very good, the image is clear, colourful and well printed, the pieces are solid and fit together well, and yet the £11.99 RRP is pretty much middle of the road for a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
In other words, even if the whole thing is a bit of a gimmick, you're not paying any extra for it and you still get an interesting and satisfying build, and a decent looking result at the end of it, not to mention that it is different and a really unique and fun idea.
- This is a really good puzzle if you have some hours to kill.
- I think it's pretty exciting and different and is one of those gifts that when you open it, you'd have to have a discussion about. It's pretty cool.
- The puzzle is really good quality.
Its unusual nature could be frustrating for someone who likes to match the pieces to the picture, but I think that's part of the challenge.
It's only £12, it's not going to break the bank, and it's fun and different and quirky. Go for it.