‘Brain teasers’ is a general term that can be used to describe just about any type of puzzle. Most often, it refers to logic puzzles and riddles. The Wikipedia definition of a brain teaser is a form of puzzle that requires thought to solve. It often requires thinking in unconventional ways with given constraints in mind. With that logic, twisty puzzles (and any other type of puzzle) could just as well be considered brain teaser puzzles.
But what causes twisty puzzles to become so difficult and really twist your brain? There can be a number of different factors.
For starters, many twisty puzzles are shape modifications of other puzzles. Most often, puzzle modders will reshape a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube type puzzle to resemble a different shape. This causes the puzzle pieces to look like something they are not. For example, the corners of a puzzle might actually be the center pieces or the edges of the puzzle. This can be seen in many shape modifications like the mastermorphix puzzles.
Shape shifting can be a huge factor that can really mess with your head when attempting to solve certain puzzles. What seems to be a cubic puzzle can quickly turn into a huge mess that looks nothing like the original solved state of the puzzle. The standard Rubik’s Cube type puzzle keeps its shape no matter how much you mix it up. Many other puzzles, such as the ghost cube, mastermorphix, mirror cubes, etc. change their shape as soon as you start to mix them up.
Another factor that can stump many twisty puzzle solvers is something called ‘parity’. Parity is the term given to a special case on a puzzle that is seemingly impossible. Most parity cases happen on even layered puzzles where there are hidden internal pieces that need to be solved. Puzzles that have a lot of similar pieces can also encounter parity issues if you have placed a piece in an incorrect spot but it looks like it fits.
An example of parity: one edge group is flipped incorrectly on the last layer of a 4×4 (can happen on any even layered cube). Figuring out how to correct these parity issues on your own is no easy task. It requires a certain algorithm(s) in order to correct it or you’ll have to re-scramble the puzzle and start the solve all over again.
Surprisingly, the number of layers to a puzzles doesn’t add to its difficulty rating (usually). For example, a 17 x 17 is no more difficult than a 5 x 5 puzzle. All the algorithms needed to solve both puzzles are the same. Of course, the 17 x 17 will take way longer to solve due to the large number of pieces, but this does not make the puzzle more difficult.
What puzzle would you say twists your brain the most? Let us know in the comments below!