Saturday 8 June 2024

Hugo the Hippo

TLDR: Juno has yet another award-winning puzzle right there!

When Juno announced the imminent arrival of Hugo the Hippo, he was at pains to point out that this wasn’t a sequential discovery puzzle – it was a secret opening box – and one that he thought wouldn’t be particularly challenging for puzzlers. It was almost as though he was trying to manage expectations down and dampen down any enthusiasm…

As it turned out, his entire first batch sold out in under a couple of minutes so I was lucky to be around for the sale and managed to snag a copy that duly arrived about a week later.

Hugo is a handsome hunk of Fijian Mahogany (with a few little bits of Jarrah for colour and some other bits and bobs for the mechanics). He has eyes that follow you around the room and a cheeky personality with a big grin inviting you to have a go at discovering his secrets.

I’m not going to describe much of the solve because I think that’s such a fun little journey that everyone needs to enjoy themselves… I will confirm that he has a massive toothy maw and that the cheeky little fella will give the unwary a little nip from time to time. (I loved that bit…)

The puzzley bits are most definitely sequential, with several fun discoveries along the way. The mechanisms are wonderfully robust, as you’d expect from Juno, so you won’t have any qualms about letting anyone have a go at Hugo.

For me, this is a classic Juno puzzle that really hits the sweet spot for maximising puzzling fun. You don’t need to be a black belt puzzlist to stand a chance of solving Hugo, and I reckon that literally everyone will get a decent dopamine hit from playing with Hugo.

It’s the sort of puzzle that would probably do very well in a sort of head-to-head competition where puzzlists choose their favourite new puzzle… if there were such a thing, of course.

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