THE aMAZEing LabyrinthPlatform: iPhone/iPod
THE aMAZEing Labyrinth, besides being a difficult name to correctly spell, is a new iOS game. It was provided to me by Ravensburger Digital and is the video game version of their board game. In THE aMAZEing Labyrinth, you're tasked with navigating a maze to get to the treasure. The trick? The maze is constantly shifting. There are multiple game modes available as well as single and multiplayer!
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the board game, THE aMAZEing Labyrinth has been released on the iOS App Store! I have to admit that I never played the board game. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it. I looked into when I got this game to review, and it definitely looks fun! The graphics in the iOS version are relatively simple. The graphics aren't fantastic, but they don't need to be. The music is simple but sets the tone of mystery and adventure well.
There are two single-player game modes - puzzle and time duel. In puzzle mode, you're presented with a long series of levels. To beat the level you have to get to the treasure. There are two phases to each turn. In the first phase, you shift the maze. The maze is set up as a grid of maze squares. Alternating columns and rows have yellow arrow markers, indicating that they can be shifted. Slide it in either direction to shift one square of the maze. The square exiting the maze goes away while a new square comes into the maze on the other side. You can preview this piece of the maze off to the side and can rotate it ahead of time. In the second phase, you can touch anywhere to which you have a clear path to move there. Each level of the puzzle mode has a goal of a particular number of turns. Maybe you can eventually finish the level, but can you finish it in the fewest number of turns? It can be quite challenging, even relatively early in the game!
Do you remember those sliding puzzles in which one square was missing, and you slide the pieces around to make a picture? Time duel looks like that, but there's a bit more to it. Along the edges of the maze are treasures. You're tasked with sliding the maze around until you've created a path from you to the treasure. Once the path has been created, you'll automatically go collect the treasure. Then you're given another to go after. While you play, the timer counts down, but when you collect a treasure you get bonus time. When time runs out, it's game over. This provides a nice "high score mode" for the game. You can always play it again to try to collect more treasures than last time.
Multiplayer features two modes - labyrinth and duel. In labyrinth mode, players take turns on the same board. The goal is to collect a certain number of treasures before your opponent. Players take turns using the two phase system from puzzle mode. The first player slides the maze, then moves. Next the second player slides the maze, then moves. Players take turns by passing the phone back and forth - something I really love! A popup tells you which treasure to target. You're warned before it pops up to ensure you don't let your opponent see. This way, they can't try to slide your treasure away. However, there's definitely some strategy here. You might not know for sure which treasure your opponent is targeting, but you can guess! This mode seems to be closest to the actual board game and is the most fun in my opinion. Why there isn't a single-player version of this mode with AI, I don't know. I had one problem with it, and it seems to be a design decision rather than a bug (which means maybe it'll get fixed). The popup that displays your target treasure shows a nice, large picture of the treasure. Then it goes away, and you're looking at the maze again. You'll need to look at all the tiny treasures in an attempt to locate the one that was pictured. It's important for the popup to go away so your opponent doesn't see your treasure. However, what if it temporarily highlighted the treasure in the maze rather than showing you a large picture of it? That way I wouldn't have to strain my eyes to figure it out or, worse yet, go after one only to find that it wasn't actually the target!
Yes, that happened.
Duel mode mimics the time duel from single-player. How do you play that with two people? Instead of competing against the timer, you compete against another player. You play at the same time on two separate mazes. The iPhone should be placed on a surface (at least, that makes the most sense to me) with players sitting across from each other. And then, well, they get sliding!
Both labyrinth and duel are available for local multiplayer and online multiplayer. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to play it online. However, this is the type of game I'd prefer to play in person anyways.
THE aMAZEing Labyrinth is a lot of fun. I just feel bad that I missed the original board game! With complete single-player and multiplayer modes, it offers a wide-variety of gameplay. Pass-and-play style multiplayer is rare and much appreciated as well! Not all of my friends have iPhones, and when they do, they rarely have the same games as me. With THE aMAZEing Labyrinth, this isn't a problem. The game is $3.99 for the iPhone version and $5.99 for the HD, iPad version. I think it would be more appropriately priced lower, but board game fans shouldn't let the price deter them. If you like board games, you should give it a try! Personally, not only am I enjoying it and planning on keeping it on my phone for a long time, but I'd also like to pick up the actual board game!