Saturday 10 June 2023

The Bandit

MW Puzzles, aka Matt and Chris launched pre-orders for their latest puzzle a couple of months ago – I dutifully tossed my coins in the ring and waited patiently… and then at our last MPP the lads arrived with a couple of copies of The Bandit for those of us they knew would be there – so I wanged some PayPal at Chris and this lovely little blue Bandit went home with me…

First thing you notice is that this guy’s a lot bigger than their previous puzzles… and it’s really pretty. When I was chatting to them at MPP they were talking about how folks had been complimentary about their earlier puzzles, but they’d spotted that puzzlers also like their puzzles to look good – so they made sure that this one was a real looker.

And it is…

There’s a lot of detailing to make it look like a tiny little fruit machine – there’s walnut panelling on the sides, a smoked acrylic back that teases you with a bit of a view on the innards, an obvious coin slot (and a return slot), a big ole handle on the side, a flashy-lighty-thingy (Yup, that’s the actual technical term!) on the top and of course a set of reels that look like they’re going to spin at some point.

It also comes with a handy little instruction card telling you that The Bandit is broken and that your mission is to repair it. In order to do that you’re going to have to find your tools, retrieve your ID card and a coin and then win the jackpot – sounds simple!

At the start of this solve there’s a lot to explore – there are stacks of little holes crying out for a tool of some sort, it’s great fun to whizz the handle on the side around and around – but that doesn’t seem to do anything useful. It’s probably worthwhile spending a little time staring at the innards through the smoked acrylic back – although that seems like more of a tease than actually providing any actionable intelligence.

Eventually we find our first tool and we’re off to the races! 

Only we’re not… a bit more experimenting and we’re rewarded with something interesting, and even some tools and that signals the start of a wonderful romp through the puzzling countryside.

There's a lovely cadence in the solve - make some progress, find something interesting, find a use for it, make some magic happen and then wonder where the heck to go next... wash, rinse, repeat. 

There's also a very clear build up to the eventual solution - you can see yourself progressively getting things to work and making more and more sense of what's going on inside that little cabinet. (I spent ages just fiddling with the main mechanism and playing... it's very satisfying!)

There’s lots to keep sequential discovery fans amused for quite a while - there are some little bits of magic that happen – there are some very sneaky mechanisms and several things hidden in plain sight all along that will have you laughing at (or to, depending on how long it takes you to find them) yourself.

At some point you’ll find your ID card with the puzzle’s limited-edition number on it and a coin to play the slots with, and as long as you’re able to solve the puzzle, you’ll get to win a little jackpot at the end.

There is a LOT of great engineering in there and it’s all ben beautifully made. Chris and Matt have definitely raised the bar on this one – superb job, lads!


  1. allard I'm so glad you enjoyed it and a fantastic review. Thank you .

    1. You're welcome - it's a terrific puzzle!