Board games will probably never die out, but iOS devices are giving them a run for their money, because digital versions of board games can have more user-friendly interfaces and new modes thanks to AI and the Internet. The aMAZEing Labyrinth (their capitalization) is no exception.
The best part about The aMAZEing Labyrinth is that it has six modes, and four of them are multiplayer. The two key types of gameplay are Labyrinth and Duel. Labyrinth shows a board of tiles, with paths going various directions. You start on one tile, and you have to get your character to a treasure by shifting certain rows and columns of tiles. To win, you must create a path that your character can travel to the treasure. Keeping the move number low earns you points, and the moves become more complex as you progress through the 10 level packs, from the tame Fairy hideout to the fearsome Dragon’s Lair. Sadly, the clever names are nothing more than that; the Bat Chamber is not particularly batty, nor is the Skull Crypt filled with bones.
In multiplayer Labyrinth, you play against up to three other players on the same board, vying for a slew of treasures, with each player’s goal kept secret. Saboteurs will likely enjoy it, as long as they don’t try to play via Game Center where, in our experience, the waiting times seemed endless.
The mouse did it in 30 seconds.
Duel mode presents you with a small board of tiles, with one missing, as we’ve seen before in little coffee-table puzzles. In the single-player mode, you operate under a timer and move tiles frantically to create paths to different treasures scattered around the board. This mode offers a completely different pace from the contemplative mode, which we always appreciate. In the multiplayer mode, you simply race against another player, either on the same device with a split screen, or online through Game Center.
The multiplayer focus is welcome for any board-game-turned-iOS-game, but the long wait times on Game Center (unsurprising given that it’s a puzzle game, not an action game) remind us of one of the game’s shortcomings: you can’t battle against AI. Playing against an opponent on Labyrinth or Duel would be enjoyable even without another person to play against, and the developers have promised an update bringing computer opponents soon. We would also like to see a playable tutorial, instead of what they have now, which is a scrolling rule book in a tiny box.
All in all, The aMAZEing Labyrinth is a great game, with a number of modes and a great deal of variety between them. It also has plenty of replay value, so it will keep a puzzle lover entertained for quite some time. If the promised AI update comes, the game might be a Must Have, but even without it, it is an excellent choice for puzzle fans.