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Meffert's Master Cube
There are ups and downs to every purchase. In the case of the 4x4x4 Tiled Masters cube from Mefferts, these ups and downs are more like hills and valleys, yet with a fun drive through the scenery.

Up from the Valley

My Masters Cube seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to arrive. I ordered my cube at the end of December, and only just received it on February 11! However, Meffert himself (or herself, as I am never sure which Meffert I am corresponding with) assured me that the manufacturing problem is solved. They simply had WAY more orders than they were expecting, and now they have a new manufacturing process that apparently can keep up with demand.

Dpwn from the Mountains

Once I had my cube, I quickly realized that is all I had. It came in a plain brown shipping box wrapped inside a plastic bag with no instructions whatsoever. Previously I had bought a 5x5x5 Professor cube, but it had at least come with a handy instruction booklet! However, there are many solutions on the web. I use a variation of the 5x5x5 solution to solve the 4x4x4. While I was surprised to encounter a parity problem the first time through (equivalent to solving a 3x3x3 except for a single flipped edge, an impossible occurrence on a 3x3x3 or a 5x5x5), the parity problem actually excited me! Here was a challenge I had never seen before, even on the bigger cube!

Up from the Valley

Further comparisons to the 5x5x5, however, proved that this new 4x4x4 was a much higher quality cube than Meffert's previous effort. The new and impressive high-contrast-colors, raised plastic tiles (which are diagonally ridged for a solid grip and extra puzzling difficulty if you choose to try to orient them) were a joy to see, especially when comparing them to the 5x5x5's stickers. (As a side note, one of the things that always bugged me about the 5x5x5's stickers was that there are TWO orange sides, one light and one dayglow. Unless you are in direct sunlight, it's hard to tell them apart when mixed.)

Climbing Higher

Additionally, the new 4x4x4 cube is solidly built. At first, it was difficult to turn to the point of being stiff. This went away fairly quickly, however, and it has not loosened up any more. While I have never played with a Rubik's Revenge, I have heard from others that it has a tendency to fall apart. I have never felt that from the Meffert's cube. It is rock solid all the way through every type of twist, and it falls into place easily for the next twist.

Journey's End

The bottom-line? I'm very happy with my purchase. It turns easily but solidly, it offers different challenges and patterns than the odd-numbered cubes, it is less expensive than the newly re-released Rubik's Revenge (especially since Mefferts has free shipping) and though I have not played with the Revenge, I can say with a fair amount of certainty (having played with a Rubik's 3x3x3) that the plastic tiles are better than any paper stickers a Rubik's cube made by Oddz-On might have.

--Matt Stryker

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