43 Quintillion Possibilities

The Rubik's Cube was incredibly popular in the 1980s and continues to sell most everywhere toys and games are sold. Invented by Hungarian Erno Rubik, the cube has just 26 multi-colored pieces, but these nine pieces on each side of the cube can be twisted and re-aligned into a staggering 43 quintillion configurations [source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]. If 1 quintillion contains 18 zeroes, 43 quintillion is just too large a number to conceive from a game so small. Want to solve the Cube? Check out the official Rubik's Cube Web site for tips and hints.

Puzzling

Before looking at what The Isis Adventure is, let's take a look at what it's not. It's impossible to complete the entire adventure without the puzzles that go along with it. Unlike a classic math problem or word and logic mind game, each level of The Isis Adventure Series has an object to crack into. While there are options for subscribing to a membership and playing the game online without buying the puzzles, the ultimate winners and prizes come through both the puzzle "pieces" and the continuing online game after players crack the puzzles to reach the keys inside.

Another distinction is that the puzzles in the series are pricey by puzzle standards; the game isn't in the price range of the typical board game or puzzle ball, for example. Ranging from $145 to $5,600 for special edition pieces, the puzzles are handcrafted objects made from metals and alloys and boxed and sealed. If the seal is broken and the box is opened, the puzzle is non-returnable. Some players see this as a criticism but others appreciate that the objects are a true joy to hold and unravel and that once the puzzle itself is handled, the steps in solving it might be compromised.

There are a total of five puzzles in the adventure:

  • Isis -- A sphere: Open it "using your mind, not your strength" by following ancient symbols circling the ball and clues that point to the exact sequence of turns needed to release the first key.
  • Ramisis -- A pyramid: "Release the chamber within" by determining the exact alignment of the five layers of the pyramid to get to the key inside.
  • Copernisus -- Five rotating rings that "need to be aligned perfectly in order to release the key chamber through one of eight different key holes."
  • Isis IV -- Scheduled for release in 2012.
  • Isis V -- Scheduled for release in 2015.

Once they remove the puzzles from their packaging, each puzzle owner needs to register at the Sonic Games Limited/Isis Adventure Web site. Those who solve the Isis are "keepers" who move on to part two, the Ramisis. One word of caution from the Web site, though: "If you damage the Isis, the secret will be lost forever" [source: Sonic Games].

Playing the game starts with cracking the combination of the Isis puzzle, and with a band of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and cryptic clues, gamers have spent anywhere from a day to months before getting to the center of the alloy orb. Once inside, have they solved the puzzle?

See what mysteries await after the first ball is opened, next.