Maze is a first person collectathon style game built around a simple fantasy plot. It originally had a science fiction theme which I prefer, but thankfully it’s not a story driven game by any means. The groundwork laid is still appealing, and the creative level designs inject the variety needed for what are otherwise the same tasks.
Whether small or large, threat filled or free of dangers, cramped and narrow or wide open, etc., the mazes are diverse. Some probably shouldn’t even be classified as such in a traditional sense, with more focus on platforming than finding successful routes. The imaginative designs help keep the experience fresh, and the challenge well-balanced! The various threats aren’t too numerous, but there’s still a fair amount that can cause you to fail. A few enemies make appearances, mainly moving in scripted patterns – the biggest danger is hitting one by moving too fast or not scanning your surroundings. There are level specific obstacles too, and plenty of gaps, pits, and other ways to tumble out of a maze.
Visually this is pretty good for a budget indie title. Though dated, it should evoke some nostalgia of 3D gaming’s younger days. There’s much to appreciate with the colorful locales, little animations, various details, touches, and so forth. The graphics generally portray fun environments. Certain levels can seem slightly sparse however, and the loading screens (long!) have the lost all their background art shown prior in the development vids. Off-TV play is included from the outset however, and everything looks good on the GamePad. Maze also has a robust score of delightful compositions. They’re a real asset to the whimsical atmosphere. Though definitely on the shorter side, some of these tunes I could just sit and listen to repeatedly. Environmental sounds and a jumping effect (which can be muted in the options) round out the audio.
The controls are clear and responsive, though slightly sensitive. First person platforming is challenging enough, but certain levels in Maze are especially demanding. A less floaty, tighter setup would help with the necessary precision. With practice however everything works well enough. There is some minor stutter on occasion, but generally the game’s smooth running. There are no timed levels thankfully, although it would’ve been a cool addition as an option. One option some will surely welcome (especially those who found The Letter difficult) is the choice to turn the inverted controls off.
I need to point out that a couple of mazes (in world 2) made me ill. It’s not the visuals per se, but more particular designs like steady flashing lights or copious amounts of garish hues. Judging from comments of some other players it seems I’m not alone. While these were the exception, it’s a sizable concern nonetheless. I’d suggest that those prone to motion sickness give careful consideration. One of the ill inducing levels also locked up on me.
Maze is a smaller game, but has a good amount of content for what it is. It’ll take a few hours to beat, and it has replay value too with a couple of other small modes (Arcade and multiplayer) to flesh things out. While skepticism is understandable here – The Letter made a poor first impression with Wii U owners- Maze is a good sophomore effort from TreeFall Studios. It’s an entertaining game that’s definitely worth a download!
PN Review: Maze
While there’s still room for improvement, Maze is definitely a fun game with lots to appreciate and enjoy.