The ZigZag Puzzler is a multi-level 3-D cube style puzzle. It is portable, with a sturdy plastic box, even the challenge booklets fit neatly inside. My kids have had fun playing with the puzzle and solving many of the challenges over the past month.
Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for writing an honest review. I am not an affiliate and receive no benefit should you purchase. I write product reviews to help parents decide if a product is a good fit for their kids.
How we played with the ZigZag Puzzler by Smart Games
My kids all had a try with this puzzle. They are ages 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 17. The youngest is in 5th grade and the oldest in 12th. This puzzle toy is great for a range of ages. I announced that we had a new puzzle game, and the kids pulled it out and started fighting over who would get to play with it first. Over the next month, it had a home on various coffee tables and the kids realized they did not have to fight over it but could just pick it up when no one else was using it!
9-year-old - liked it, mostly built the pyramid, not interested in the challenge booklet yet. 11-year-old - built the pyramid again and again, had fun. 12-year-old - completed all the starter levels in the puzzle booklet, felt they were easy, had fun solving the puzzles. 14-year-old - solved all the starter, junior, expert, master, and wizard puzzles. Basically, this kid loved these types of puzzles and had a lot of fun. She continues to play with it even though she has solved all the challenges! 15-year-old - played with it randomly here and there enjoyed it but wishes the challenges were more difficult. 17-year-old - played the last puzzle of each level. He solved them quickly. He wishes there were more tough challenges included in the book.
My kids are what I would call puzzley kids. They play with a lot of puzzle games. The oldest can solve a Rubik’s cube in less than 30 seconds, just to give you an idea of what I mean.
So, if you are wondering if this will be too easy for your older teens, keep in mind that if they have not done a lot of these types of puzzles than it may be a great fit.
Timberdoodle includes the ZigZag Puzzler by Smart Games in their grade 9 curriculum kit. I think is a good fit because my 9th grader played with it the most out of all of my kids.
I think this is a great puzzle to purchase for a fun family gift. Perhaps a beginning of the school year gift, or something fun to pull out on the first dreary, rainy day of autumn when everyone is struggling to find their curiosity and motivation.
Personally, I would recommend buying it when your kids are in upper elementary, around 5th grade. I think this would then be a puzzle that they would continue to play with and enjoy over several years, as they grow they will move up to the more difficult challenges in the book.
With 40 challenges in each booklet, and two booklets, this is essentially 80 puzzles. There are two basic styles of puzzle to solve, pyramids and flats. Not every puzzle game we try meets my expectations, but the ZigZag Puzzler is one that I am excited to add to our puzzle shelf and the rotation of coffee table puzzle games.