Cast Cage is a similar puzzle to Cast Star, which I reviewed recently. It was introduced to Nob Yoshigahara by a Professor Bakalar of Prague, and Nob adapted it for the Hanayama Cast Puzzles series. Puzzle Master was kind enough to send me a copy of this puzzle to review. Thanks!
As with Cast Star, the goal of this one is to extricate the star shaped object. Rather than being trapped in a loop, this star is trapped in a cage, so there are four options for how to get it out rather than just two!
Each opening is irregularly shaped in a different manner, so you can take a look at figure out which one you think has the best odds of being correct, and fiddle around to see if you were right.
The quality of the construction is not bad, but compared to other Hanayama Cast Puzzles, this one feels a bit flimsier due to the thinness of the cage walls. It is still sturdy enough to withstand some abuse, but not bulletproof like Cast Star. Also, the thin metal makes the edges a bit sharp, which isn't so good for sticking your fingers into the cage to move the star around.
When I first tried this puzzle, I solved it pretty quickly with some random fiddling, but I think I just got lucky and chose the right hole first. Despite having twice as many exits, this one is actually a bit easier than Cast Star, I think because the solution isn't quite as precise (i.e. you don't need to line it up quite as well). Also, I found that the correct exit hole looks more tempting to try than the others, which is the opposite of what you'd want to make the puzzle more challenging. I tried this one out with a few friends, and they all figured it out quite quickly.
Like Cast Star, Cast Cage is not one of my favorites since there's not much of an "A-ha!" factor or an interesting movement. It works pretty much like you would expect and is more just a matter of fiddling with it until you figure it out.
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