Walter's Radio by DEDwood Crafts
Firstly, a (very) belated Happy New Year to all readers of The Puzzle Podium.
The festive season and the beginning of 2023 has been a bit of a blur personally, which usually would be referring to something detrimental - however, in this instance it has been largely positive, with one of the highlights being the launch of my first puzzle design - Dual Dial. More to come on that in a separate blog post a little later down the line.
For today we have something super exciting and special. Those who know me and have kept up with previous blog post entries, will know that one of my favourite puzzle designers is Mr Dee Dixon A.K.A DEDwood Crafts.
Presenting Walter's Radio
A new year means a new puzzle from Dee, and that’s what I’m bringing you today, a full spoiler free run-down of the fantastically themed Walter’s Radio.
Before we get into it, there’s a great backstory that has been created by the super talented Brent Hessel of 'FiveSinatras Reviews' fame, which ties it into the world of Angry Walter, one of Dee’s previous designs. If you want to read the full backstory before continuing on with the review, I have pasted it below in bold. It's a great read so I'd strongly advise to do so.
When a wave of Angry Walters waged war on the world, we fought back valiantly, seeking to remove the cold fusion generators that fueled his robotic rage. Some of us succeeded, disabling the power sources in support of the sapien resistance; others struggled to make sense of the robotic systems, their patchwork patterns too puzzling, too complex to understand. The robots exploited this gap, continuing to grow in numbers as we humans faltered in the face of their fury. But the Walters soon faced a new dilemma: as they grew, so too did the need for an infrastructure that could sustain the new robotic world order. As humanity sought refuge online, sharing stories of the underground at war with our new overlords, offering advice to those who could not overcome the Walters’ power, as we banded together, the Walters’ world frayed at the edges, humanity chipping away at the cracks within.
The Walters scrambled to fill in these gaps, developing new communications technology that allowed for the instantaneous transfer of information between synthetic minds. Such profound development rested on the invention of the Dimensional Electronic Divergence Chip (DED chip), a small component that disseminated data through tiny wormholes connecting the radio devices.
Humanity’s hope faded as the radios allowed the robots to respond quickly to each battle, each spark of resistance snuffed out as soon as it surfaced. Humanity learned that the removal of the DED chip could turn the tides of the robopocalypse, diminishing the Walters’ ability to communicate. But they knew that any such success would come at a great cost, and so they ensured that the removal of these chips would not be such a simple task. After humans stole what copies they could, they discovered that the removal and manipulation of the DED chip allowed them to transmit their own data, indistinguishable from that sent by the Walters, creating the opportunity to subvert their communications to humanity’s own ends.
Human fighters recently secured a shipment of radios that are being shared across the global resistance movement. We must find our way through the robotic defenses built into the devices to remove the DED chip and undermine the Walters’ newest weapon in the war for our world’s future. Go forth and answer Walter’s Radio!
Now onto the wonders of this latest innovative iteration of a puzzle.
Spending some time with almost all of DEDwood's puzzles has prepared me well enough to know that this thing is absolutely solid. It’s one of my favourite features of Dee’s craft - the puzzling aside, the weight, build and feel of the product is so distinctive - at this point that it genuinely feels like he has created Horcruxes* to split his soul across. All of these incredible qualities can be found in each DEDwood Crafts puzzle.
*For all the Potter-heads out there, that one was for you.
4.5" x 6.5" x 1.75" of wonderful Iroko and Jatoba on the final version
After a small time with the puzzle, it’s clear to see a few things happening and a few things that should happen down the line.
The most notable feature on the puzzle, is the speaker-like grill on the front with a piece of wood floating inside that is seemingly not fixed in any way. It’s worth noting at this point that the goal of the puzzle is to retrieve the communication chip from the radio to deactivate the device.
The journey starts out with understanding a very nice mechanism which I haven’t seen before, and forms a large portion of the journey of the entire puzzle, making this the most unique DEDwood Crafts puzzle to date. Not only that, but with 20 steps to complete and more tools to discover than any other previous Dee puzzle, this thing is no joke!
I had such fun working out what was and wasn’t possible - learning something new almost every time I picked it up, and trying to visualise things I couldn’t see, and make sense of the stuff I could.
I’ve seen early prototype testers mention that this is a better overall puzzle than it’s earlier entry in the series, Angry Walter. I’m not here to argue that or to confirm it, but I can certainly say that it is an excellent entry and the fact that it is part of that conversation is a good enough reason to pick one of these up and get solving - Hopefully this opinion is ‘on the fence’ enough as to not make Walter even angrier, if that’s even possible.
After meticulously manoeuvring things and using tools in some super creative ways, completing the puzzle felt so, so satisfying, and as with all great puzzles (in my opinion of course) has you retrieve a very specific prize to signify the end of the journey, and in this instance, the story of the Angry Walter saga.
I really hope we see more puzzles from DEDwood Crafts that tell more of the Walter story, or perhaps even introduce a new mind-melting character at some point down the line.
Walter’s Radio will be available for $365 on 21st February at 10am MST over at www.dedwoodcrafts.com - Don’t miss it as it is sure to sell out almost instantly.
Thanks and good luck!