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4.4 out of 5 stars
Underwater, 1000-Pieces Augmented Reality Puzzle
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
I got this puzzle as a birthday gift a few days ago and finished it tonight. It is very well made and imagery is very nice. The variety of fish, colors and textures in the image made it pretty easy to do for a 1000 piece puzzle, but the marketing/packaging is a little frustrating.

First Note to puzzle makers: Always include at least one COMPLETE image of the puzzle on the box. Make it as large as possible. In the case of this puzzle, the image on the top of the box is obscured by an image of an iPhone in an effort to demonstrate the augmented reality feature that the puzzle invokes when you use the app. The only unobscured image is a postage stamp sized thing on the side. Not cool, especially if you expect children to enjoy the puzzle with the adults. 1/5th of this puzzle is obscured. I know there are plenty of puzzlers out there who don't use the box, but the choice should be ours, not the puzzle makers.

Second note to puzzle makers: Put an image of the puzzle some place where people can find it on the Internet. As my wife and kids struggle over puzzle box tops when we gather to assemble puzzles, one of the nicest things in the preservation of sanity department is the ability to print extra copies of the cover so we each have one and can work on our areas without interruption. Take some of the money you've invested in augmented reality and improve your web site instead so that images of the puzzle can be found and printed out as needed. Without extra copies of the puzzle image, the scene at the puzzle table looks like the one-eye between three witches scene in a mythology themed movie. Let me see, let me see! Many other puzzle makers have figured this out and post the puzzle images on their web sites. It would be especially useful for these Ravensburger folks since they choose to obscure the image on the box.

Third note..this time to the Ravensburger people: YOU CANNOT TAKE A PICTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY. So, the idea of including a picture of an iPhone, or any electronic device running augmented reality is like trying to evaluate the picture quality of a TV by looking at pictures of the TV in a magazine. Doesn't work. Quit it!

So overall, great puzzle. The augmented reality thing is interesting once or twice (probably more interesting to those who haven't seen the billboards and other AR apps popping up all over these days). But if you assemble the puzzle based on the image on the cover. You will be a little frustrated with this one as they've hidden a lot of the puzzle image.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 16, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Be mindful of the stated compatibility for the AR app. It clearly states iPhone and iPad, and clearly does not state iPod Touch. This is not an oversight. The app does not work with the iPod Touch. It might be a simple matter of how it was submitted to the iTunes store, but it will not install on an iPod Touch 5th generation.

As to the puzzle itself, this one has worse interlocking than Animals in Africa, 1000-Pieces Augmented Reality Puzzle. The pieces don't click together at all. There is no grip, and when you need to move blocks, you pretty much move them a piece at a time. An abnormal number of pieces had bits of paper sort of hanging off them, both on the top and the bottom, and clearly a result of poor cutting. It's not common for Ravensburger to have any such issues--they are normally top quality puzzles. I think they were so enchanted with the new technology--which is clever and innovative and I wish I could play with it--that they lost sight of what makes them great.

I got Animals and Africa and this puzzle on the same day from Amazon Vine, and I'm hoping they both just came out of a bad batch. I've done many of their puzzles in the past, and they are normally precisely cut and expertly crafted.

The image, once assembled, is gorgeous, and one advantage of the weak interlocking is that the puzzle glue can easily get into the cracks between the pieces for a stronger finish. I use Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish because it's easier to apply than the glue in the tube with the sponge tip.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 25, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I finally finished this puzzle after almost 3 months of intermittent work. Meals can be served at the dining room table again! This was not an easy or fun build. If it hadn't been for the lure of the augmented reality experience, I wouldn't have bothered.

But was the work worth it? Not for me. I didn't think the augmented reality experience had that Wow! factor that justified my effort. Ravensburger has made 3 other AR designs including Animals in Africa, Lofoten, Norway and Paris. Perhaps these offer a more enriching visual experience. But I'll leave it to others to accept that challenge.

For both my time and money, I would go with the old-fashioned augmented reality, otherwise known as optical illusions, as found in the Magic Eye puzzles. No need to download a fancy app. The only "i" accessory you need are the two located on your face. That's what I call plug-and-play technology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Three things about this puzzle that puzzle-fanatics like us should know. First, Ravensburger chose to place its augmented reality marketing shots over the cover photo of the finished puzzle. So, you can't see what the finished puzzle is supposed to look like. The bottom-left side is completely covered by a picture of a camera. The bottom-right side is covered by the Ravensburger ad. And some random puzzle-piece outline blocks part of the upper right side. OK, so there IS one unobstructed picture - but it's about 1 1/2 by 2 inches small! So tiny it's no help at all! Second, as one reviewer noted, some pieces fit in more than one place - which causes problems especially when you don't have a complete picture of what the puzzle is supposed to look like when you're done. Third, these puzzle pieces are not very imaginative because each piece lines up perfectly, unlike other puzzles that have varying shapes to the pieces making the fun of hunting for the right piece for the right spot much more fun. Haven't finished it yet, so don't know about the augmented reality - which is the reason we bought it. Based on just the 2-dimentional puzzle alone, would we buy another Ravensburger? Humm ... maybe not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 4, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I used to love puzzles when I was a kid, but when you're an adult it seems kind of hard to find time for such things. But I got this one thinking it might be a fun thing to do with the family - and give the kids something to do that unplugged them from the computer, tv, etc.! And while I ended up being the one who spent the most time on it over a week and a half, I noticed the kids stopping by it and spending a little time here and there working on it. It's probably not something my family would do on a regular basis but they found it to be fun and asked for another.

And the Ravensburger puzzle is well-made. I got a 1,000 piece puzzle because I wanted something more challenging that wouldn't just occupy a single evening and supposedly every single piece is unique - something I probably wouldn't dispute after looking at each piece multiple times! The picture is challenging yet not so plain you couldn't make a reasonable guess as to the general area. (Note that parts of the picture on the front of the box are obscured, but we thought it only added to the challenge.) I don't know about the "soft click technology," which makes it sound more hi-tech than it actually is, but each piece fits well. They're small, too, so it's not the kind of thing to try to put together with small kids around. And the matte finish has a bit of a shine to it, but not so much that it caused problems.

Of course, the thing we looked forward to most was the "augmented reality" feature - which drove us to finish it faster - and based on the picture on the box we imagined the scene might involve some kind of animation of the fishes on the puzzle. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. All it does is show about half a dozen fish from the puzzle and ask you to point out where they are. That's it. It's a "game" aimed at young kids (maybe under 5 or 6) on a puzzle that's aimed at a much older crowd (at 1,000 small pieces I'd say 10 or 11 and up). A better idea might have been to make it educational and tell about the different kinds of fish or coral presented in the puzzle.

At any rate, it's a quality puzzle with a disappointing gimick for the iPad and iPhone, so pick it for the puzzle and not the game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My kids helped me pick out a few puzzles online and this was definitely one of the favorites. So although we don't have the capability to do the augmented reality (thus I won't be reviewing that aspect), as a puzzle it is your typical high quality Ravensburger and the puzzle itself was really fun!

If you have never had Ravensburger puzzles before, you will be impressed by the quality of puzzle pieces and how well they stand up to wear (even from my 6 and 7 year olds!).

I am a big fan of fish puzzles because there are so many different areas that you can work on and it's less tedious than a landscape. So this was a huge hit (in spite of the large 1000 pieces) with my 6-10 year old crowd of kiddos. I did help them out a bit, but they did make quite a bit of progress before I came over. So it holds the attention of even children with it's beautiful picture. Highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is my second Ravensburger "augmented reality" puzzle.
I worked this with a 7-year old and she much preferred the AR features of this puzzle to the Ravensburger "Animals in Africa" puzzle. She also liked the brightly colored graphics. I preferred the Animals in Africa for the clean earthier colored graphics, and the relative simplicity of the puzzle. This was much more difficult to assemble.
This puzzle delivers Ravensburger's high quality graphics, puzzle stock, and overall excellent quality puzzle.
As far as the iphone/ipad component, I think it is a BRILLIANT idea and an excellent way to coax young people into the relaxing (and UNPLUGGED) past time of puzzling. It provides an incentive for the time and patience required to complete the puzzle.
The seven year old who did the ipad portion thought it was wonderful and got very excited about it. She would have liked more of this component of the puzzle. I hope they create some with space and mythology themes (think eyewitness book type material) that will appeal to children--think the AR component would be terrific in those types of subjects. As it stands the other two designs (Norway and Paris) have no appeal to a small child, and I've never been a fan of those types of puzzles either.
As far as the educational value, I place a high premium on any activity that allows people of all ages and abilities to come together and do something together where they are actually really together---not all in same space but looking at own readers, tv, phones, laptops, gaming systems, etc. This puzzle has the added element of being made of real objects living in a real place so there is plenty of opportunity to talk to kids about the sealife, their environment, whether they would all be in the same small space (and all still alive:>) etc
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another gorgeous puzzle from Ravensburger! Our family worked together on this puzzle for many happy hours. The little-folk would come around and try to help, and to see the progress. It was a tad too difficult for the children under 8, but the rest of us really enjoyed it. Most of the pieces are smaller than an inch, fit together neatly and each is perfectly cut. The colors are vibrant and the coral reef/underwater scene is colorful and very detailed. Once the puzzle was completed, we downloaded the ap to our iPad and the puzzle scene became animated!!! Both the children and the adults found this feature magical. What a wonderful idea. I highly recommend this puzzle for young and old. It would make a wonderful Holiday, Birthday or housewarming present. We will take this puzzle to our condo at the beach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 9, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Our family enjoys putting puzzles together, but I think this was a bit too much for us. Everyone was gung-ho, until the frame was assembled, which was the easy part. My 7 year old didn't even attempt to help after the frame. My husband and I would have to take several days worth of breaks, because the pieces were just too dizzying for us. The large depicted areas were fairly simple but still challenging, yet the smaller fish backgrounds were very tedious (same color fish, same color background multiple times throughout the puzzle). We had to spread the extra pieces over our air hockey table just to sort them all out. You will definitely need a large, well-lit area to place the pieces for viewing. At one point, I was using a flashlight to see the slight variances of some pieces. Also, I feel like we were so excited to view the finished product and see the animation, that we were in a hurry and somewhat impatient to finish it, which slightly decreased the enjoyment of putting a puzzle together.

Overall, the puzzle quality is very good, with beautiful vibrant colors, and the pieces snap together perfectly. I like the fact that it is interactive and my son seemed to really enjoy the search and find feature; it takes puzzles to a whole new level. I would recommend this puzzle to all the puzzle enthusiasts out there, but it is space and time consuming.

I have to add that I wish the manufacturer wouldn't have covered the large picture on the front with the smart phone. We had a difficult time determining what was in both of the bottom corners because the advertising covers part of the picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A whole new level has been added to the traditional jigsaw puzzle, combining modern day apps and animation with the puzzle!
How does it work, you wonder?
1) First you download an app called "AR Puzzle" for free onto an Apple device (iPhone, iPad 2, etc)
2)Point the camera on that device at the front of the puzzle.
3)Start the app, and press "start." The camera helps the app recognize the puzzle.
4) Watch for pictures from the puzzle to go floating across the screen. (a counter begins counting down 10 minutes.)
5) Tap on the puzzle (via your screen) to locate the things you see floating on the screen.

FUN! Clever! Adds a new dimension to the puzzle! Sort of an "I Spy" addition for the puzzle.

It will not give you very much time though to locate the item. If you touch the wrong thing, or are not very precise, it counts it as incorrect.

Works in 6 different languages (at least!).
See video above.
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