System: Nintendo Switch
Developer | Publisher: Ultimate Games | Ultimate Games
Age Rating: US E10+
Price: US $6.99 (only available in the US)
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Review code used, with thanks to Ultimate Games
A Light Offering
In Maze, players take on a first-person perspective as they try to make their way through, predictably enough, a maze. Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to the game, and even that isn’t particularly well put together.
Maze is divided into 12 3D-rendered levels where the goal is to reach a statue at the end, serving as the exit, each of which are very small and not particularly challenging. Oddly enough, one of the three adjustable options is walking speed, which allows for a player to cut down the completion time for the levels to under 2-3 minutes should they be so inclined. High walking speed also makes the movement feel very floaty in a bad way. The other two options are for music volume and look sensitivity, the latter of which I felt the need to adjust immediately because the default was extremely slow and unresponsive. Even at its maximum setting it still felt inadequate.
The levels themselves are put together well enough, even if the sound and visual design leave something to be desired. I never encountered any glitches, but that still doesn’t change the fact that navigating the levels isn’t particularly entertaining. Though there are traps meant to hinder the player’s progress, they are avoided all too easily and thus fail to provide any actual challenge. As such, Maze becomes more a matter of memory than anything else, as each level has a map in top-down view at the beginning laying out the level for the player. All it takes to reach the exit is memorizing a sequence of turns. This is assuming, of course, that the map is correct, which is not the case in a couple of the levels. This could conceivably be an intentional choice on the part of the developers to challenge players, but nothing in the games design convinces me of this. Indeed, the fact that the instances where it happens are the exception rather than the rule leads me to believe they were errors.
If the player does get lost there’s no penalty, as nothing exists in the game to provide any sort of urgency or stakes for escaping. There is a timer in each level that stays invisible until the exit is reached, at which time the game informs you of your final time. I suppose this could make things slightly more interesting for score-chasers but there is (as far as I can tell) no way of tracking previous best times, and thus even that value is dubious.
Maze tries to be an atmospheric and relaxing experience, but what little atmosphere it may have been able to achieve is marred by its plethora of design flaws and bare-bones gameplay. Many of the details found within served to actively detract from my enjoyment of this title.
I can’t in good conscience recommend it to even the most casual of switch owners, especially not at its seven dollar price-point.
Final Verdict: I Don’t Like it.