Based on a popular book series, Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective is a delight. While a maze title might be more niche, the visual presentation here makes this game a joy to watch, even if you aren’t playing.

I first learned about this release in a press email. It looked promising, and I had been keeping my eye on it for several months. Of course, the danger is that the final product wouldn’t live up to my growing expectations. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case; my expectations were matched and then some.

As someone unfamiliar with the books, I admit the storyline and characters meant less to me. Controlling the titular detective (via Joy-Con or touch screen) chasing the bad guy, Mr. X, sufficed. But I appreciate the way the plot connects through fully voiced cutscenes. It demonstrates care and polish.

Attention to detail gets particularly shown in the hand-drawn visuals. The screens positively burst with various touches that remind me of a busy Richard Scarry illustration taken to the max. So many animated characters and background objects can inundate, especially knowing you can interact with many. You might only get brief chitchat or a new animation in return, but it drove me not to miss any of the colorful and varied surprises. It can overwhelm but in a great way.

How often do you see a police officer attempting to stop a moose from eating a display painting? Meanwhile, his colleagues try to catch a monkey set loose on the stairs or calm a statue that’s missing its head. Did I mention all this is just in the first corner of the first level? From the museum, you’ll head to a downtown street party on your way to a castle, and you’re not even halfway through the game. All the levels are humongous (especially impressed upon you in those instances when the camera pans out) and profusely animated, with plenty of fun distractions.

Of course, you can try to rush through each level and merely search for the exit, only pausing when reaching key characters. But if the eye candy doesn’t slow you down, multiple goals might. There are items to find, mini-games to play, and puzzles to solve. As a completionist, I’m so grateful for these replay incentives. 

Admittedly, the game can start to feel a bit repetitive if you binge it. But, play a couple of mazes at a time, and you’ll get hooked. I want to explore every path, even those that I know are leading to dead ends. I don’t want to miss anything.

It’s hard to find much fault with this ambitious, albeit niche, game beyond the fact that you’ll wish there were more of it. Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective dazzles with so much creativity, you’ll never think of mazes the same way again. It’s a bit cheaper than one of the books and much livelier, thanks to the brilliant audio/visual touches. Replay perks also broaden the audience who might not gravitate towards the books. If it looks interesting to you, don’t let plot concerns or repetitiveness scare you off. I’m confident you won’t be disappointed with your purchase. I hope to see another entry soon!