Creative ingenuity is the world of iOS gaming is a rare thing. How many new ways can one really jump, collect coins to buy upgrades, or just outwit their opponents? These days I'm happy if a game has my attention for twenty minutes, but thankfully Man in a Maze surpasses my low expectations. Paying homage to the game shows of the '70s, Man in a Maze is an unpredictable and highly fun experience. The developers have stitched together seemingly mismatched elements which, on the whole, completely pay off.
You begin the game as an over eager contestant who is ready to win prizes and gold coins to stuff your pockets. This is not The Price Is Right, however, and you are placed in various mazes to collect all the blue diamonds within each maze. Once you grab the diamonds, a door opens up and the level is completed once you stepped through to the other side. Blocking your progress are drones and robots ready to either run you over or gun you down.
If evading your enemies isn't your style, you are also armed with a bouncing ball that turns into a dangerous projectile after you place it over a "charging" station. Once the ball is lit up, use your right right thumb to aim at the target and simply release your finger to hurl the weapon. Balancing when to attack and hide in the shadows are the keys to making it to the next stage. Throwing the ball and vanquishing my foes is actually my favorite part of the game, especially since I've often been on the losing end of these battles. Unfortunately, the photo below is a picture of a ball that missed its target.
Once a level is completed, you win a random prize for your efforts. After the reward is announced, you spin a wheel which could give you more gold coins or take all of your money. Spinning into a burglar icon will drain you of coinage, and unfortunately that misfortune occurs quite often on the wheel. The brief respite from maze strategy and getting a few seconds to win prizes adds to the game's overall charm.
As with most of Chillingo's titles, there are a bunch of upgrades which keep the game interesting. My favorite upgrade is the cloak power, which enables invisibility for several seconds. This is highly beneficial when there are at least two or more enemies in your path, and a couple of seconds is pretty much all you need to complete these mazes once you get more familiar with the terrain.
Along with throwing fiery balls at the bad guys, I simply love the wide variety of prizes featured in the game, and hearing the host throw a few one liners into the mix pretty much makes my day. The lines may be cheesy, but any jokes pertaining to scooters is right up my alley.
I'll never be on a game show and may never play exploding dodgeball with a robot, so in that sense, Man in a Maze pretty much checks those two wishes off my bucket list. More importantly, it's a title that is completely addicting. I have no idea how Chillingo does it, but they've hit another homer with Man in a Maze.