Gothic Puzzles: A Retrospective

GOTHIC WEEK: For Halloween, here on Jigsaw Junkies we're covering gothic puzzles. I'm excited about this category because it's one of my favorites and one sorely underrepresented, in my opinion! First, what is the definition of "gothic puzzles" and how do they differ from "fantasy puzzles?" I will give you my idea of the category, and... Continue Reading →

Review: “Swan Song” by Nene Thomas – Ceaco – 7.5/10

“Swan Song” is a lovely gothic fantasy image by Nene Thomas. The puzzle is moderately challenging thanks to the random patterns in the black wings, white dress, and foggy forest. The Ceaco quality was good value for the price. The pieces are thin, but there was no damaged or bent pieces. The puzzle has an enjoyable random piece cut and a fairly tight fit that lets you move around grouped pieces without them falling apart. There’s no confusion about whether a piece fits somewhere or not. The muted colors and sobter tone make this a nice puzzle for a rainy fall day and a good gift for fantasy-loving teens.

Review: “Swans” by Cris Ortega — Heye, 9.5/10

"Swans" is gorgeous gothic fantasy puzzle from Heye and artist Cris Ortega. The puzzle is moderately difficult but fun to assemble with its bright reds, greens, and blues. The puzzle comes in a collectible box and has that solid Heye German-board-game quality from start to finish. The puzzle is grid cut, but there's a wide variety of shapes, and I never had trouble thinking a piece fit where it didn't really go. The pieces are thick and sturdy and have a nice matte finish. This is one you might consider framing when you're done. It's been in print since 2012, thanks to its popularity, but pick it up before it is retired. Many other Cris Ortega puzzles are now quite pricey on ebay. Highly recommended!

Review: “Castle of Horror” by Jean-Jacques Loup, Heye, 9.75/10

"Castle of Horror" is an absolute masterpiece of a puzzle. The art by Jean-Jacques Loup is outstanding. Dozens of scary movie tropes are included in this image in a humorous way, from Frankenstein to ghosts, witches, and vampires. This is a moderately difficult puzzle, mostly due to its size, so prepare to buckle in and enjoy a long puzzling experience. There are dozens of funny scenarios going on around the puzzle, which you'll discover as you assemble it. The Heye quality is good with a gorgeous triangular box, large poster, thick and sturdy pieces, and excellent image reproduction. This is a grid-cut puzzle with a good variety of piece shapes. This puzzle was originally produced in 2003 and was out of print for a number of years. Don't miss a chance to get this classic while it's back in print. Highly recommended!

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